Sunday, August 30, 2015

Breakneck Ridge Loop

Hudson Highlands State Park,
Dutchess and Putnam Cos,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Breakneck Ridge Trail: White blaze
Notch Trail: Blue blaze
Brook Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hours
Estimated Distance: 4.4 Miles

Level of Difficulty: Very difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Very Challenged Climb full of scrambles and continuos amazing views, historic ruins
Cons: Very busy with lots of people

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Breakneck Ridge is a great scramble which climbs up a very steep mountain over 1250 in less than a quarter of a mile. I try doing this hike at least once a year, but two years ago I didn't make it for some reason, and last year I was unable to due to my knee surgery. While this trail is always very busy on weekends, this day was insanely busy with literally hundreds of people on the hike. The weather was also very hot, and when we came back it was in the low 90's. I had thought the hot weather would scare off some people, but that was not the case.

There were some new developments since the last time I was here, with many new trail plaques explaining the difficulty of the hike as well as suggested routes. There was also a dedicated Trail Conference Volunteer stationed at the trailhead making sure everyone was well-equipped for the hike prior to their embarking.

We parked on the side of Route 9D on the Putnam-Dutchess county line, and climbed the craggy Breakneck Ridge Trail up to the summit, with many great views along the way. We then took the Notch Trail down to the Cornish Estate, and then took the Brook Trail back out to route 9D. We then walked north along Route 9D through the tunnel that goes under the mountain and back to our car.

Map of the Route. Hudson Highlands Trails.

New Information Plaque at the Beginning of the Hike

Shimmy Navigating the Steep Rock Scramble at the Beginning

At the First View, Facing the Hudson and Pollopel Island 

Zoom in to Pollopel (Bannerman) Island and the Castle Ruin

Storm King Mountain Across the Hudson River

Me at the First View Behind Storm King

Me at the First View at the Flag

Large Crowd at the First View

A Camouflaged Eastern Fence Lizard 

View Facing South

Rock Face of Breakneck. Note the Person on the Top Left

Looking Down to the First View

At the Second View

View Towards Newburgh and New Windsor

Shimmy Showing Off a Geocache that he Found

Cornish Estate Ruins

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Diamond Mountain To Stony Brook

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
Hillburn Torne Sebago (HTS) Trail: Orange blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
7 Hills Trail: Blue blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hours (approximately)
Estimated Distance: 5.0 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Pretty brooks, good climb, good scramble, and good views
Cons: Very busy with people for much of the hike

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This is a very good loop that covers a nice walk along a brook, has some good scrambles, and good views. We parked along the side of the road the Reeves Meadow Center on 7 Lakes Drive, and walked along the busy Pine Meadow Trail. We took the Pine Meadow Trail to the HTS Trail, where we crossed the bridge on the new brook, and then along the Kakiat Trail on the other side of the brook. We then took the 7 Hills Trail up Diamond Mountain. This ascent is a lot of fun with a good scramble, rock face, and an excellent view on top.

We then continued along the 7 Hills Trail to the Diamond Mountain Summit, which also offers excellent views, and continued along with this trail as it joins the HTS Trail. We then took the HTS Trail down the steep part of the mountain to its terminus at Stony Brook, and then took the Stony Brook Trail back to the Pine Meadow Trail back to the trailhead.

My cell phone had accidentally gone for a swim with me this past Friday. So I had no phone for this hike and was unable to do my usual GPS tracking, so I manually created the map below.

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

Me at the First Scramble up Diamond Mountain

First View on Diamond Mountain Climbimg the 7 Hills Trail

Ascending the 7 Hills Trail Scramble

7 Hills Trail Scramble Right Before the next View

View on the 7 Hills Trail, Looking West Towards the Valley

Shimmy at the View

View at the Summit of Diamond Mountain

View of Lake Sebago at the Start of the Descent of Diamond Mountain

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wellesley Island State Park

Thousand Islands Region
Jefferson Co.,
New York

Eel Bay Trail
Narrows Trail
South Bay Trail
Pond Loop Trail
Granite Trail
Middle Trail

Total Time: 1:15 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.33 mile

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a good hike in the area
Points Of Interest: Views along the water and islands

I had gone with my family on a camping trip to Wellesley Island in the Thousand Islands Region of New York. This area is very scenic, with over 1800 islands dotting the St. Lawrence River in the U.S. and Canada.The campground we had stayed at is a state park, and includes many short hiking trails along a scenic portion of the island.

I parked my car at the Minna Anthony Nature Center, and took the Eel Bay Trail about a mile alongside the water. The Eel Trail ends at the Narrows, which is a tight passageway between Wellesley Island and the island next door. The deep potholes are positioned at the intersection of the Eel Bay and Narrows Trail.

The Narrows Trail goes up and down a few times, and then turns into the South Bay Trail. I took the South Bay Trail to the Pond Loop Trail, going along the pond on the island, which I then took to the Granite Trail. The Granite Trail is a rocky area with large granite boulders and bedrock and sparse tree cover. At the end of the Granite Trail, I took the Middle Trail back to the nature center.

Map of the Route

Eel Bay

Eel Bay

Eel Bay

Eel Bay

Eel Bay

Granite Outcrop Plunging Into Eel Bay

Eel Bay

Cute Chipmunk

Boardwalk Along the Eel Bay Trail

Mosquito Island in Eel Bay

Potholes at the Eel Bay and Narrows Trail

Corner of Eel Bay and the Narrows.
I Saw a River Otter Here but was Unable to Get a Picture of it.

The Narrows

The Narrows

End of the Narrows

South Bay

Pond on the Island

Outlet of the Pond

Granite Outcrops on the Granite Trail

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lake Henry Loop

Continental Soldiers Park
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Lake Henry Trail: Unblazed

Total Time: 0:20 hours
Estimated Distance: 1.0 mile

Level of Difficulty: Very Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a short, quiet, and easy walk
Points Of Interest: Tranquil Lake and pretty scenery
Pros: Quiet area and very pretty lake with lots of interesting waterfowl

I had been very busy over the summer and had not had the oppurtunity to do much hiking from late July. I was also busy at work and couldn't take any time off from work. I had a meeting in Mahwah one fine day during the week and took the oppurtunity to do this very tranquil walk around this little-known lake directly across from Ramapo College.

I parked at the parking area at Continental Soldiers Park, and entered the path to the lake at its eastern side. I did the loop around the lake, crossing both bridges and the inlet and outlet spur of the Ramapo River. This is a great place to see interesting watefowl. Aside from the typical ducks and geese, I saw a large white heron and swans.

Map of the Route.
North Jersey Trails

Lake Henry from the eastern shore,
Facing West towards Hawk Rock

Zoomed in to Hawk Rock
Note the People atop of the Rock

Lake Henry from the Northeastern Side

White Heron on the Northern Side of Lake Henry

Bridge Crossing the River Inlet of the Mahwah River to Lake Henry

The Mahwah River north of Lake Henry