Sunday, February 22, 2015

Frozen Hessian Lake at Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain State Park,
Rockland and Orange Cos.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Major Welch Trail: Red blaze

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Total time: 1:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Frozen lake, scenic area
Pros: Pretty scenery and frozen lake
Cons: Area is overly developed, charge to park

After returning from my trip from California, where the temperature was in the upper 80's, I came back to the frigid snowy climate on the east coast. Actually this was one of the few days that the high temperature was above freezing, and it was sunny and quite pleasant. The lakes were still well frozen, with an ice layer of about 18 inches thick (they need to be 6 inches thick to be safe.) It had just snowed about 6 inches the night before, so there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. Since we were short on time, we decided to do one of the smaller lakes, Hessian Lake. Hessian Lake is a well-known lake at the foot of Bear Mountain, with a nice, easy walking path going around it.

We tried parking at the bottom of the park at the Hudson River Landing, where parking is free, but the area wasn't plowed at all and there was no way to get in here (there was still about two feet of snow on the ground.) So were forced to park in the main parking area at the inn where there is an $8 charge. We walked past the inn to Hessian Lake, walked across the length of the lake from south to north, and then took the path on the western side of the lake back. This path is actually part of the Major Welch Trail which ends at the southern end of the lake. We then walked up the hill to the grassy area and passed by the ice skating rink, then returning back to our car.

I had actually come again later in the day to take my kids sledding on the hill, and the walk on the lake. We were fortunate to meet several fisherman on the lake who were catching large fish while ice fishing, including brown trout and a largemouth bass.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mnt Trails Northern Map

Signs by the Lake, and Indicator Ice Depth is Safe

At the Southern End of Hessian Lake

Me on Hessian Lake, with Bear Mountain to my Rear

Me on Hessian Lake, with the Hudson Highlands to my Rear

View of Bear Mountain from Hessian Lake

View Northeast from Hessian Lake. Note the Sky Color.

Looking West Towards Bear Mountain.
One of my Finest Photo Shots in Recent Months.

Our Footsteps Near the Northern End of the Lake

Shimmy Relaxing at the Northern End of the Lake

Anthony's Nose from Across Hessian Lake

Shimmy Sitting on a Snow-Covered Bench

Me Ascending a Small Hill With Anthony's Nose in View 

Hessian Lake, Bear Mountain Bridge, and Anthony's Nose

Shimmy Sliding Down an Embankment

Parked Paddleboats at the Hessian Lake Boat Launch

Shimmy Walking Along the Trail

Panorama on Hessian Lake

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

San Diego,
San Diego Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Razor Point Trail
Beach Trail
Broken Hill Trail
North Fork Trail

Hiking Partner:
Abigail Friedman

Total time: 1:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.8 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Rock formations, Torrey pine trees, Pacific ocean
Pros: Hike down to ocean, beautiful scenery and formations
Cons: Lots of people here, $10 entrance fee

I went on vacation with my wife to San Diego, and we took this relatively easy hike from the mountain down to the ocean. The scenery is very pretty with the flora, rock formations, beach, and ocean. The area also contains the Torrey Pine trees, an endangered trees endemic to this small area as well as a small island in the Pacific Ocean. The park preserve is actually within the limits of the city of San Diego, but this area is indeed undisturbed and feels remote from the city.

We parked at the top parking area, and went on the Razor Point Trail. The trail passes a nice overlook rock formation, and it ends down by a large bluff overlooking the ocean. We then took the connector trail to the Beech Trail, which took us down the steep embankment to the ocean. We walked along the beach area and then went back up the Beech Trail to the Broken Hill Trail. We then took the North Fork Trail at the split to the road and then back to our car.

Map of the Route

Looking West to the Overlook from the Beginning of the Trail

Looking Down to the Valley in the Beginning of the Trail

Me on a Rock Overlook

Another Picture of Me on a Rock Overlook

Looking Down into the Deep Canyon that Goes Into the Ocean

Cactus Grove and Yucca Tree

Excellent Ocean and Cliff Views

Rare Torrey Pine

Yucca Overlooking the Ocean

Yucca Standing on the Side of a Colorful Cliff

Beautiful Ocean Picture. Facing North. 

Pretty Yellow Flowers

More Pretty Yellow Flowers

Descending Towards the Ocean

At the Beach

Wall Jutting Into the Ocean and Flat Rock

Me at the Beach

Me Crossing the Wall by Flat Rock

Looking North at the Sheer Cliff on the Oceanside

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Silvermine Ski Hill and Frozen Lake

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Ski Trails: Unblazed
Menomine Trail: Yellow blaze

Total time: 0:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended in the winter
Points of Interest: Ski trails, frozen lakes
Pros: Interesting spot, scenic lake
Cons: Lots of people here on weekends

The weather had been freezing cold and all the lakes in Harriman remained frozen. This was again one of those few days where the temperature reached about 30 degrees. There was a lot of snow on the ground from all the storms, and towards the end of this hike it started snowing pretty heavily in the area.

I parked at the Silvermine Lake Parking area off of 7 Lakes Drive, and noticed this lake was much better off than Lake Welch, with lots of fisherman on the lake. So I felt more confident and crossed the road and walked across the length of Lake Askoti. There were also alot of people sledding down the old ski slopes. I climbed up the right slope, passing through all the sledders, and then at the top cut across to the left slope and climbed down. From there I took the Menomine Trail along the side of the lake, and then after the bend at a wide area of the lake, I cut across on the frozen lake and hiked back to the inlet of the lake before returning to my car.

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

The large group of people sledding on the old ski trails

Ascending the old Ski Trails with the Sledders

Climbing up the Old Ski Trail

Sledders Climbing the Trail Behind Me

Hiker Near the Top of One of the Ski Trails

At the Beginning of the Menomine Trail

Beech Forest with Trees that Haven't Fully Lost Their Leaves
on the Menomine Trail

People Walking on Silvermine Lake,
Picture Taken from Menomine Trail

Silvermine Lake Looking Towards Black Mountain

Silvermine Lake Looking Towards the Mountain of the Ski Trails

Panorama in Middle of Silvermine Lake