Sunday, August 28, 2016

New AMC Area in Harriman

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Breakneck Pond Loop Trail: Unblazed
Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail: Red blaze
Breakneck Mountain Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.4 Miles

Pros: New hiking area and scenic pond
Cons: No good views

Hiking Partner: Shimmy Rosenberg

AMC Outdoor Center is a new project opened this summer in the old Camp Lanowa in Harriman along Breakneck Pond. The old camp was entirely restored with rustic cabins, and a swimming and boating area in the lake. We wanted to get some information about this place and check it out. So we headed off to the area, took the Old Turnpike, which was partially restored, and parked in the field designated as a parking area.

We walked along the road to the cabin area from the parking lot, and went in to the office to ask some questions about the center and get some brochures and details. After walking around the area, we took the new Pond Loop Trail around the lake. This trail was very recently created, and is not yet officially marked. It only has ribbons tied around trees at this point. Our plan was to cut across to Pine Meadow Road and then take the Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail to the Breakneck Trail. However, I was disappointed to learn that the new Breakneck Pond Loop trail doesn't connect to the main Harriman Trail system! Perhaps they want to keep this separate, though its a very easy and short bushwack to the main trail system, which we soon discovered.

After crossing the inlet of the lake, we bushwacked to Pine Meadow Road, took the Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail, and then took the Breakneck Trail in its entirety at the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail. At that point there is an unmarked trail going down the mountain back to the AMC area. We took this trail down, and went through the AMC Center area and headed back to our car.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bear Mountain Search Operation

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

Hiking Trails:
1777 W Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Appalachian Trail Spur: Blue blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.7 Miles

Hiking Partners: Shimmy Rosenberg, Isaac Korman

I had been called by Commsar, a local search and rescue organization, to assist with a search of two teenage boys that got lost on Bear Mountain on a camp trip. They had been lost the previous afternoon, and we headed out at the crack of dawn to search the area. We scaled much of the southern portion of Bear Mountain, the area where they were lost, and thankfully they were found in good condition later that morning by hikers several miles away.

We covered ground fast and this was an intense hike. At the top of the mountain, I needed a few minutes to break and snapped several early morning photos. Our route started at the trailhead on Seven Lakes Drive at the Southern approach to Bear Mountain. We took the 1777 W Trail briefly from the trailhead parking to the Appalachian Trail, and took the Appalachian Trail up. Where it veers up on the new portion off the old overgrown road, we continued along the road to the Perkins Scenic view dead end, and then took the Power Lines Trail route to the summit and tower area. From the summit we went along the Appalachian Trail, veered off on the Picnic Route loop, went back to the Appalachian Trail where its paved for handicapped accessory, went back down an up all the spurs, and then took the spur along the view which was the old Major Welch Trail. We then cut back along the old defunct Appalachian Trail route that used to go here, and then took the Appalachian Trail down the area where we had skipped before. We then bushwacked off the old road path south towards Seven Lakes Drive where it meets up with Perkins Drive. At this point we heard the subjects were located, so we headed back along Seven Lakes Drive back to the car.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Escarpment Trail at John Boyd Thacher State Park

Albany Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Escarpment Trail: Pink blaze
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 0:45 Minutes
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Beautiful Views and scenery
Cons: Too many non-natural areas with open fields and parking lots

I had gone the previous day to the Indian Ladder Trail in Thacher State Park, and decided to check out out more trails in the area, and especially wanted to hike some more along the escarpment. I parked at the Pear Orchard again, took the path behind the covered picnic area to the start of the Indian Ladder Trail, but instead took the Escarpment Trail along the edge of the cliff north, going around the horseshoe bend, then around the next bend to the end of the Escarpment Trail at the Hailes Cave area. I was hoping to find or see the Hailes Cave at the end of the trail, but it was no where to be found. (I thought it would be a formation along the end of  the trail.)

At the end of the Escarpment Trail, which is also the end of the Hailes Cave area parking lot, I cut across to the Long Path, which then goes in the woods parallel to the parking lot road and Escarpment Trail. It comes back out of the woods near the park entrance on Route 157. I then cut across the field back to where my car was parked.

View of the Map

View of Eroded Landslide Area Below the Minelot Falls Area

View from the Begininng of the Hike, Facing East

View Towards the City of Albany

View of the Escarpment

View Facing Northeast.

View of the Escarpment

Notch by the Bend of the Horseshoe

Ascending Gap Towards Hailes Cave Area

Large Pines with Sun Dipping Towards the Afternoon Horizon

View of Cliffs at Horseshoe as seen from the Hailes Cave Area

Monday, August 22, 2016

Indian Ladder Trail
John Boyd Thacher State Park

Albany Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Indian Ladder Trail: Unblazed
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 0:55 Minutes
Estimated Distance: 1.2 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Amazing Formations and Beautiful Views

The Indian Landder Trail is a famous trail alongside a sheer cliff wall formation and arching cave structures. It is the most popular trail in John Boyd Thacher State Park and is the highlight attraction. The trail itself is very short and only about half a mile in length, but its very scenic and interesting. The Heldenberg formation is a mountain range jutting out near Albany formed of Limestone outcrops most exposed at Thacher State Park. It forms a sheer cliff wall several miles long, with the Indian Ladder Trail traversing part of this in a wide trail with guardrails along most of the way.

I had gone on a camping trip with my family to the area, and we camped out at Thompsons Lake State Campground which is adjacent to Thacher State Park. We parked in the Pear Orchard parking area, going past the playground and following the signs to the Indian Ladder Trail. The trail starts by going through a crevice, and then descinding down steep stairs to the bottom of the cliff wall.

The trail goes past an arching cave, several streams pouring out of the rock wall, and the highlight is Minelot Falls, an incredible waterfall jutting well above the trail with the trail arching underneath it. The summer had been very dry so the falls was a mere trickle, yet was still very impressive. At the end of the trail, it climbs back up steep steps to the top of the escarpment. At the top, I took the Long Path along the edge of the escarpment back to the car.

Map of the Route

Plaque Explaining the Helderberg Escarpment at the Beginning of the Indian Ladder Trail
View of Albany in the Distance Prior to Descending on the Indian Ladder Trail

Disjointed Cave Formation Along the Indian Ladder Trail

Close-up of the Cave Formation

Small Cave

Arching Cave Formation

Plaque Explaining the Underground Stream

Underground Stream Emerging

Talus Along the Side of the Trail

Water Dripping Behind the Falls

Me on the Indian Ladder Trail

Me Again

Approaching Mine Lot Falls

Boardwalk Descending to Mine Lot Falls

Looking Up at Minelot Falls

Plaque Explaining Minelot Falls

View from Under the Overhand at Minelot Falls 

Another View Along the Trail