Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kakiat After Snowstorm

Kakiat County Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Mountain Trail (Orange blaze)

Total time: 0:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult due to conditions
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Kakiat Lower Summit
Pros: Good view
Cons: Busy at the bottom

The entire NY Metro area hunkered down for the big blizzard of 2015, and all schools and businesses had closed in advance on Tuesday. While the blizzard did hit Boston, everyone in the New York area was shocked when they woke up and saw the blizzard never came. True, there was a fresh layer of several inches of snow, but this was definitely not the "snowstorm to remember". In any event, I had already closed down the office in the morning, and by late morning the roads were totally cleared. I took the opportunity to go on a short hike up Kakiat.

The temperature was very cold and the snow was deep from an additional snowstorm over the weekend, and the trail is pretty steep. This made the conditions somewhat difficult, and although its a short hike, I found it to be a challenge climbing up. Due to the conditions I only climbed to the lower viewpoint. I turned around and came back down the same route on the Mountain Trail.

Map of the Route. Harriman/Bear Mountain Maps Southern Map

Mountain Trail near the Beginning Prior to Main Ascent

Mountain Trail in the Notch Before the View

Looking Towards the Main Peak at Kakiat from the Lower Peak Area

Large Snowdrift Near the Lower Peak View

Lower Peak View Covered in Snow

Lower Peak View, Facing Southeast.

Lower Peak View Facing Southwest, Focused on Suffern High School
and Manhattan in the Distance.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fingerboard Mountain and Frozen Lake Tiorati

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Lake Tiorati Trail (Blue blaze)
Appalachian Trail (White blaze)
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (Red blaze)
Hurst Trail (Blue blaze)

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Total time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Fingerboard Shelter, Lake Tiorati Islands
Pros: Beautiful terrain and amazing lake hike
Cons: None

This was my first frozen lake hike of the season in Harriman. I had figured by now the lakes had been frozen, and the previous day we had gotten a good snowstorm with 8 inches of snow. I wanted to do both a mountain hike in the snow as well as a hike on a frozen lake, so this seemed to be a very good choice. The weather was beautiful, with bright sunny skies in the mid-30's and low winds.

I did notice on my drive up that Lake Welch and Skanatati/Askoti were also frozen, with signs posted by the rangers that it was safe to walk on. Lake Kanawauke had still posted as unsafe, as it has always been in recent years. In fact, I don't recall a time in recent memory that Lake Kanawauke was ever posted as safe for walking on the ice. My long-time hiking partner Shimmy had broken his toe in the fall and was unable to hike for a while, and this was his first hike back after his recovery.

We parked at the parking area at Tiorati Circle, and took the Lake Tiorati trail up and then took Arden Valley Road for a short distance up to the crest. Arden Valley Road is closed in the winter so you can walk right in the middle of the road. From there we went south on the combined Appalachian Trail/Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail along the crest of Fingerboard Mountain, until the intersection of the Hurst Trail. There is a shelter at this spot, where we took a short break and met a large Asian hiking group having lunch. We took the Hurst Trail down the mountain, and were the first to blaze through the snow. At one point going down we lost the trail and had to bushwack until we found the trail again. We continued along the trail through a nice evergreen Mountain Laurel thicket, and then to 7 Lakes Drive. We crossed the road and slid down on our rear-ends down the steep embankment towards Lake Tiorati.

We ended up on the southern part of Lake Tiorati. We walked north towards the center, heading towards the largest island in the middle of the lake. We passed many fisherman along the way and chatted with them. We hit the long island from the southern part, and hiked in middle of the island from south to north. We then continued along the frozen lake north veering slightly towards the west back to our car in the parking area.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks Northern Map

Snowy Trail Ascending Fingerboard Moutain

Shimmy on the Hiking Trail

View of Lake Tiorati and Island from Fingerboard Mountain

Me at the Above View

Descending a Gap along the Trail

Me at a Rockface on Fingerboard Mountain

Snow Goons Atop Fingerboard Mountain Summit

Fingerboard Mountain Summit. Note the Colors!

Fingerboard Mountain Summit View. Facing East.

Large Asian Crowd Making Lunch in the Fingerboard Shelter

Shimmy in an Evergreen Mountain Laurel Grove on the Hurst Trail

Shimmy in Midst of Throwing a Snowball at me
while Sliding Down to Lake Tiorati

First View of Lake Tiorati from the Southwest End.
Looking North, Towards Islands

Shimmy Making Fresh Footsteps in the Snow above the Lake

Snowman on the Lake

Lake Tiorati. Facing Northwest.

Me Posting at Lake Tiorati

Large Group of Ice Fishermen

Lake Tiorati, Facing North.
Fingerboard Mnt on Left and Island on Right

Pine Trees on the Island

View Facing West from the Island

Shadow of Shimmy and Myself

Panorama in Middle of Lake Tiorati

Monday, January 19, 2015

Congers Lake Loop

Congers Lake Memorial Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Total time: 0:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Scenic lake and boardwalk
Pros: Interesting boardwalk trail, scenic lake
Cons: Built-up suburban area, noise from road, and noise from train

The previous day was Sunday, and I had originally scheduled to go on a good hike. However, the weather was about as awful as you could ask for. It started raining in the morning, but was only 26 degrees, so the rain froze on impact creating a hazardous slick of ice. There were hundreds of accidents that morning. The temperature gradually warmed above freezing, but the rain remained unabated and strong all day as a cold hard rain.

I therefore pushed off my hike to Monday which was Martin Luther King Day. Although I was not off from work, it was lighter than usual at the office so I was able to get out a little bit for this hike.

Congers Lake is a scenic lake that is right nearby Rockland Lake. A loop path has recently been constructed around the entire lake, making this a great place to walk or bike. Much of the western side is acually a boardwalk, meandering above the lake in a boardwalk fashion. This is definitely more of a walk than a hike, but because of the scenery and unique boardwalk, I am including it here.

I parked at the main parking area for Congers Lake Memorial Park.  I only noticed after that this parking area is for Clarkstown residents only, but there are plenty of other parking and access points around the lake to park at. Although the weather was cold, there were lots of people walking here. I presume in when the weather is warm it gets quite busy over here, especially on weekends. I headed north along the eastern side of the lake, and went fully around the lake, including the end of the walk where it loops along the peninsula. Towards the end of the walk a very large freight train passed along the tracks very close to the western shore of the lake.

I didn't bring my camera, thinking there wouldn't be any good photo ops, but I was wrong. The pictures below are therefore taken with my cell phone camera.

Map of the Route.

Fawn I Encountered Right Off the Path Right After I Started Walking
This Deer Must Have Been Injured as it Didn't Move Despite my Coming Close.

View of a Frozen Congers Lake Looking from East to West

Congers Lake Looking from North to South.
This Part Isn't Frozen Since its Right by the Inlet

Boardwalk Snaking Across the Lake on the Northwest Park

View of the Boardwalk Along the Side of the Lake

Looking Towards the Northeast.

Facing South, with Hook Mountain on the Left Side in the Distance

Beautiful Colors. From the Southern Part of the Lake Facing North.

Freight Train Approaching.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hook Mountain and Rockland Lake Loop

Hook Mountain and Rockland Lake Loop
Hook Mountain State Park /
Nyack Beach State Park /
Rockland Lake State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Yellow Trail: Yellow blaze
Long Path: Green blaze

Total time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.7 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate though conditions were difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: View of Nyack and Hudson River, and Historical Sites
Pros: Excellent Views and Scenery
Cons: End of hike built up and busy, and walk on road not enjoyable

This was my first hike of 2015. This is a unique hike in that it straddles three separate but connected state parks. The beginning of the hike and main summit is in Hook Mountain State Park, a small straddle of the Long Path crosses along the edge of Nyack Beach State Park, and the part near Rockland Lake is in Rockland Lake State Park.

I had been quite busy the last few weeks and the weather didn't necessarily cooperate, so glad to finally have been able to get out for a good hike. The weather was absolutely frigid. When I had left in the morning, my recollection was that the temperature was 14 degrees. It gradually warmed out throughout the day, but I had to make sure to be very well dressed for this hike. The sky was covered with clouds, though the south and east had a cloud line which allowed the sun partially to shine in, resulting in very interesting lighting effects for my photos.

I parked on Route 9W as it crests over the Palisades north of Nyack. There is roadside parking here, and its also the terminus for the yellow trail which takes you to the crest of Hook Mountain. I continued along the Long Path all the way down to the Rockland Lake Landing, where I took the road and then bushwacked to the side of Rockland Lake. I walked along the east and south shore of the lake along the busy path, and then took Route 9W up the mountain on the side of the road back to my car.

Map of the Route

Snow at the Very Beginning of the Hike on the Yellow Trail,
Ascending to the Hook Mountain Summit

Me at the Hook Mountain Summit,
Decked in Winter Garb

View from Hook Mountain Looking South Into a Snow-Covered Nyack

Tappan Zee Bridge Construction from Hook Mountain Summit

The Above Picture Zoomed Out, with a Partial View of Nyack

Zoomed Into Nyack, with the Manhattan Skyscrapers in the Distance
Above the Palisades Ridge

Another View Into Nyack

Looking North Towards Rocckland Lake

A Fuller View of the Tappan Zee Bridge

View of the West From Hook Mountain

A Zoomed Out View of Nyack and the Tappan Zee Bridge

A View of the Hudson River and Westchester

Looking Down from Above the Cliffs Towards Nyack Beach State Park

A Nice Perspective of the Tappan Zee Bridge

A View of the Hudson Looking Northeast

Another View of the Hudson, Looking East

Wild Yucca at the Summit.
I presume this is not here Naturally but was Transplanted.

Cliff Walls Along a Quarry

Looking Down Into the Sheer Quarry Walls

Intresting Graffiti Using a Long Path Trail Marker

A Frozen Rockland Lake, Looking South.
Hook Mountain Rises to the Left.

Frozen Rockland Lake Looking North,
Towards the Haverstraw Quarry and Hi Tor.