Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pine Meadow Lake - Stony Brook Loop

Harriman State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

7 Hills Trail: Blue blaze
Diamond Mountain Tower Trail: Yellow blaze
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze

Poached Egg Trail: Yellow blaze
Raccoon Brook Hills Trail: Black blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Orange blaze
Tuxedo-Mt Ivy Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 6.2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Pine Meadow Lake, Stony Brook Trail
Pros: Several ups and downs, very scenic area, Pine Meadow Lake, Beautiful brooks
Cons: Hard to follow all the different trails and intersections

Hiking Partner:
Daniel Coren

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This was a hot and very muggy day. We parked at the Lake Sebago boat launch which is also the 7 Hills Trailhead, and took the 7 Hills Trail up Conklin Mountain and then to Diamond Mountain, and then down the first leg of the Diamond Mountain Tower Trail. From there we took the Pine Meadow Trail to Pine Meadow Lake, and took a short break hear. We continued south along the path at the western shore of Pine Meadow Lake, to the Poached Egg Trail. The Poached Egg Trail is one of the shortest trails in Harriman, if not the shortest, and connects Pine Meadow Lake with the Raccoon Brook Hills Trails. It has a distinctive yellow and white marker.

At the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail we took it south to the Kakiat Trail. This part of the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail can use a bit better marking. We crossed the brook on the wooden footbridge, and continued west on the Kakiat Trail past the Cascade of the Slide to the Stony Brook Trail. We took the Stony Brook Trail Northeast along the side of the Brook to its intersection with the HTS/TMI Trail, and then to Seven Lakes Drive at the Lake Sebago Dam. We took the road a little bit and then cut across to the path along the eastern side of Lake Sebago which goes past the old beach, back to our car.

Map of the Route

Lake Sebago in the Haze from Diamond Mnt
Facing Northwest

A better view of Lake Sebago from the view

Daniel on the Diamond Mountain Tower Trail
Before Descending to Pine Meadow Lake,
with Pine Meadow Lake in the distance

Pine Meadow Lake

Pine Meadow Lake

Me on the rock going into the lake

One last view of Pine Meadow Lake, near the Dam

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bull Hill / Mt. Taurus

Hudson Highlands State Park,
Putnam County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Washburn Trail: White blaze
Notch Trail: Blue blaze
Brook Trail: Red blaze
Cornish Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.4 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Interesting quarry, views, and old ruins
Pros: Good climb, climb from Sea Level to Mountain Top, Good scenery
Cons: Terrain not as dramatic as nearby Breakneck Ridge, Washburn Trail is poorly marked.

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

Bull Hill, also known as Mt. Taurus, has a summit of over 1400 feet, starting at near sea level. It is a very good climb, but is not nearly as dramatic and steep as its northern neighbor Breakneck Ridge. It was a hot and steamy day in June, and climbing over 1400 in this weather was definitely a bit of a challenge. The 17-Year Cicadas were doing their high-pitched chirp throughout the hike.

I parked on the parking area on Route 9D right after Cold Spring, and took the Washburn Trail up the mountain to the summit. I then took the Notch Trail down the mountain, and then the Brook Trail for a short while at the end of the Cornish Estate, and then the Cornish Trail all the way back to the parking area. Along the Cornish Trail at the end there are many old abandoned homes and structures.

Map of the Route.
Hudson Highlands State Park

Washburn and Cornish Trails Intersection at the Beginning of the Hike

Old Quarry Near the Beginning of the Hike.
I heard that this quarry used to supply rock for the Brooklyn Bridge,
but have not verified if that information is true.

The First View, Overlooking Cold Spring and the Hudson.
Facing South.

View Across the Hudson River to the Crow's Nest,
the Mountain Directly South of Storm King.

Me at the First View, Overlooking Cold Spring

View Ascending the Mountain, Looking Across the River.
The Notch in the right-center is Route 9W,
with Butter Hill on Storm King Mnt to the Right

Storm King Mountain in the Distance.
Facing West.

View South Near the Summit - Looking at West Point,
with Anthony's Nose and Dunderberg in the Distance

View at the Summit Facing North Toward Beacon Mountain

View from the Summit Facing Northwest,
Towards the Rocky Face of Breakneck
Someone With Way Too Much Time,
Balancing Rocks on this Fallen Tree on the Notch Trail
Descending the Mountain

One of the Many Abandoned Structures Along the Cornish Trail

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Labyrinth Trail and the Crevice

Mohonk Mountain House Preserve.
Shawagunk Mountains,

Ulster County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Huegenot Trail
Whitney Road
North Lookout Road
Glen Anna Path
Fox Path: Red blaze
Shore Road
Labyrinth Trail: Red blaze
Sky Top Path
Tallman Path
Whitney Path
Lookout Road

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.7 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Labyrinth scramble and giant crevice, beautiful gardens, and Sky Top view
Pros: The best scramble in the area, narrow and challenging crevice, fantasy-like grounds, and amazing views
Cons: Very expensive to park

Hiking Partners:
Debbie, Rafael, and Eli Koegel

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This is a great hike, and perhaps the best scramble in southern New York State. The Shawangunk Mountains terminate at the Mohonk area, and they provide extremely dramatic scenery of sharp white cliffs and giant fallen boulders. The Mohonk Preserve has many scrambles and challenging trails through these cliffs and fallen boulders. The best one is the Labyrinth Trail with the Crevice, which is what we took for this hike.

Although Mohonk gives you access to the entire property, they charge an awful lot to enter ($20 for a day pass per person!) and make you park all the way down. This is very disappointing and I hope they lower their prices. On weekdays you can pay $5 more and park up at the hotel, and on weekends there is a slow shuttle bus that goes from the parking area to the hotel, but my experience with this bus was that it is inneficient.

We parked at the parking area on Mountain Rest road, took the Huegenot Trail to Whitney Road, North Lookout Road, and then the Glen Anna Path the Fox Trail. This is the most direct route to the hotel area. The Fox Path is a small climb up and slightly challenging. From here we walked on the hotel grounds through the botanical gardens and to the lake to observe the large trout that are stocked at the dock.

The Labyrinth Trail starts here, going in and out of giant fallen rocks, caves, and small crevices, until it reaches an area on top of the boulders for a boulder hop. After this part is the Crevice, a giant crack in the rock where the trail goes through on ladders narrowly squeezing through to the top.

At the end of the Labyrinth Trail we stopped for lunch at the tower, and then header back via the Sky Top Path to the Hotel Grounds, and walked along the road tho the Tallman Path, which we took south to Whitney Road, Lookout Road, and back to the Huegenot Trail to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Mohonk Mountain House from the start of the Labyrinth Trail

Rafael Climbing Through a Rock Pile on a Ladder
on the Labyrinth Trail

Eli Inside a Crack in the Rock in the Labyrinth Trail

Large Fallen Rock on the Labyrinth Trail.
Me and Eli Koegel

Walking on the Rocky Area.
These Rocks all Fell Off the Cliff at Some Point in Time

Me Climbing Through the Crevice

View While Ascending Crevice

View Looking Out From the Crevice

The  Narrow Passage Inside the Crevice

View From Atop the Crevice

Me at the Top Above the Crevice

Rafael Emerging from the Crevice

At a Gazebo at Sky Top

Some Crazy Person Climbing Up the Tower at Sky Top

View from Inside the Tower,
Looking out a Window

View of the Mohonk Mountain House from the Sky Top Tower
Facing North Towards the Catskill Mountains in the Background

View from the Tower Facing  East Towards the Hudson Valley.
Schunnemunk Mountain is in the Distance.

Me on the Top of the Tower

View of the Trapps and Millbrook Mountain from Sky Top.
Facing Southwest.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Claudius Smith Den to Black Ash Mountain

Harriman State Park
Orange County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Tuxedo-Mount Ivy Trail: Red blaze
Blue Disc Trail: Blue blaze
White Bar Trail: White blaze
Triangle Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 6.75 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Claudius Smith Den, Black Ash Swamp
Pros: Good climb, great views, rock formation, beutiful mountain laurel forest
Cons: Black Ash Mountain is high but lacks views, return part of hike is a bit boring.

Hiking Partner:
Eli Koegel

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

We parked at the parking area in Tuxedo on East Village Road, right by the Thruway highway underpass. We crossed under the highway, took the trail along the road, and then up the mountain. The first stop is Smith Rock, which affords a nice view of Tuxedo. We then continued along the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail to the Tuxedo-Mt Ivy Trail, which goes to the Claudius Smith Den. At the Claudius Smith Den we met up with Steve Fishman, a professional hiker well-known in the local mountains. Besides for the cool cave formation in the rocks, the Claudius Smith Den has an excellent view on its top, and is the confluence of several trails.

From the Claudius Smith Den, we took the Blue Disc Trail north, further climbing up to some other good views, and then headed down to the Black Ash Swamp outlet. The outlet has a really cool natural dam that acts as a waterfall. From here we met up with the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail again, and took it up the Black Ash Mountain. Upon the descent of the Black Ash Mountain there is a very pretty Mountain Laurel Forest, which was in full bloom with pink and white flowers. Upon meeting up the White Bar Trail, we took it for a short period of time until the Triangle Trail, and we took this long portion of the Triangle Trail back to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail near the beginning of the hike, and then back to our car.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park Southern Map

View of Tuxedo from Smith Rock

Eli Inside the Claudius Smith Den Crevice

Eli Hanging  Out the Claudius Smith Den Crevice

Black Rat Snake at the Claudius Smith Den Trail Intersection Cairn

View Atop Claudius Smith Den. Facing South.

View from Claudius Smith Den, Facing Northwest.

Me Atop Claudius Smith Den


With Steve Fishman, Whom I Bumped Into Atop Claudius Smith Den

View on the Blue Disc Trail before Descending to the Black Ash Swamp

Black Ash Swamp Natural Drainage Dam

Large Blueberry Patch Atop Black Ash Mountain on the R-D Trail

Beautiful Pink Mountain Laurels in Bloom on Black Ash Mnt