Sunday, March 27, 2016

Pound Swamp Mountain Loop

Harriman State Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 2:05 Hours
Estimated Distance: 4.6 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Not recommended

Points of Interest: Remote area of park

I had been out of town in Baltimore for the weekend, and returned Sunday afternoon. With a few hours left to daylight, I decided to do a hike nearby. I wanted to complete the entire stretch of trails in Harriman State Park to be included within the blog. Though I had done this complete hike back in 2007, I didn't do it since my blogging and wanted to get it included on the blog. This is not a very interesting hike without any points of interest or views. However, it is a quiet area, and I didn't see anyone despite it being a Sunday and very nice weather.

I parked at the trailhead at the Suffern-Mountain Trail on Gate Hill Road. I took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail north to the Irish Potato, and continued past Upper Pound Swamp, and then descended down the mountain to Lake Welch Parkway. Thinking the road was closed, I walked up Lake Welch Parkway to the cut for the old Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail and took the trail back. I did see a few cars along the road, so apparently they opened the road early due to lack of snow over the winter. I took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail southbound along the same route from here back to the trailhead.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails - North and South Maps

Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail near Irish Potato

Irish Potato: A Huge Isolated Rock

Rickety Logs to Climb up the Irish Potato

View from the Irish Potato Area

Another Interesting Rock Along the S-BM Trail Descending
Towards Upper Pound Swamp

View of Upper Pound Swamp Through the Woods

Spring Plants in Bloom

Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail Through the Sprouting Brush

Tiorati Brook

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ringwood State Park Mt Defiance to Bear Swamp Lake Loop

Ringwood State Park /
Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Bergen/Passaic Counties,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Crossover Trail: White blaze
Halifax Trail: Green blaze
Shore Trail: Blue blaze
Bear Swamp Trail: Red blaze
Pierson Ridge Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:55 Hours
Estimated Distance: 6.9 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Only first part recommended

Points of Interest: Scenic Ringwood area and Mt. Defiance
Cons: Lack of interesting points after beginning, too many switchbacks on trails

Once I was out exploring the Ramapo Mountains in New Jersey the past several weeks, I decided to further explore by Ringwood and go towards the Ramapo Valley County Reservation, and meet up at Bear Swamp Lake, where I had been in the previous weeks. The weather was colder than usual and quite chilly for this time of year in general.

I parked in the Ringwood Parking area (Pb on the map) and walked up across the meadow by Swan Pond. I took the Crossover Trail briefly to the Halifax Trail terminus, and snaked up Mt. Defiance on the Halifax Trail towards the view. I then continued down the mountain into the valley, passing the Glassmere Ponds, and then climbing up the next ridge towards the Power Lines and Pierson Ridge Trails.

I continued along the Halifax Trail until it went down to the Bear Swamp Valley. I then took the Shore Trail briefly to the Bear Swamp Trail (not marked on the 2014 map edition, but marked at the Ramapo Valley County Reservation trailhead parking kiosk) and climbed back up the ridge, until the Pierson Ridge Trail. I took the Pierson Ridge Trail southward till its end at the Crossover Trail, and then took the Crossover Trail all the way back to the main are of Ringwood and then back to the car.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails Western Map

Bamboo Grove Near the Beginning of the Hike

New Blossoms 

Crossover Trail

Beginning of the Halifax Trail

View At Mt. Defiance

View at Mt. Defiance

Glasmere Ponds

View Along the Gas Line, Looking Northwest

View Along the Gas Line, Looking Northeast

Open Grass Field Near the Botanical Gardens

New Spring Blossoms

Hiking Poles Looking Towards the Mansion

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Millstone Hill and Matapan Rock

Ramapo Mountain State Forest
Bergen/Passaic Counties,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Schuber Trail: Orange blaze
Millstone Hill Trail: White blaze
Yellow Trail: Yellow blaze
Matapan Rock Trail: Red blaze
Hoeferlin Memorial Trail: Yellow blaze
Cannonball Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 5.75 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Matapan Rock, Camp Glen Gray
Cons: Lacks drama - more of walk in the woods

This was another warm day where we ended up short sleeves. We parked up the hill on Skyline Drive, at the Schuber Trailhead, and took the Schuber Trail north to the Millstone Hill Trail. This area is generally non-dramatic and there aren't too many people in this area. We climbed up Millstone Hill and then went down, observed the millstones, and then took the Yellow Trail across the Midvale Mountain Road and Fox Brook, back up the hill to the intersection with the Schuber Trail again. We had been in this exact area the previous week, and only this time noticed the abandoned farm properties and ruins.

We then continued through Camp Glen Gray, around the area of all the camping structures, to the Matapan Rock Trail. We took this trail to end, where it overlooks the Wanaque River Valley and Skyline Drive directly below. We then turned around and took the combined Hoeferlin Memorial Trail and Cannonball Trail back towards the parking trailhead, going parallel to the road along the way.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails Eastern Map

Atop Millstone Hill

Another View Atop Millstone Hill

A Millstone

Sitting by the Millstones

Signs of Spring!

Abandoned Watch-House at Sanders Farm

Me at the Foundry Sign

Swamp Across Sanders Farm

Me at the Sanders Farm Site

View from Matapan Rock

View Across the Valley at Matapan Rock

Looking Across Towards the Wyanokies from Matapan Rock

Me at Matapan Rock

Junction of Alot of Trails at the Trailhead Parking

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Yellow-Silver Trail Schuber Trail Loop Ramapo Reservation

Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Schuber Trail: Orange blaze
Yellow-Silver Trail: Yellow-silver blaze
Yellow Trail: Yellow blaze
Silver Trail: Silver blaze

Total Time: 3:25 Hours
Estimated Distance: 7.4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Long hike with good view
Cons: Beginning part very busy

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Our last hike at Ramapo Reservation at the Bear Swamp area gave me some interest in further exploring the area. The problem is that there is no parking near Bear Swamp Road, so it requires a long hike to properly visit this area. But since I was never in this part before, it was worth it. The weather was colder than the extremely warm temperatures that we had been having. But it was still warmer than usual for early March.

We parked at the large parking log at Ramapo Valley County Reservation. Being a weekend, it was pretty busy, but was still early enough so that there was plenty of parking (you have to come early to get a parking spot here on weekends.) We took the Schuber Trail at the beginning along the Ramapo River, past the waterfalls, and then in the valley towards MacMillan Reservoir. We took some pictures at the reservoir, and then took the Yellow-Silver Trail from its beginning going in a southwest direction. We went up the back end of Matty Price Hill, went down the valley to the old ruin, and crossed Bear Swamp Brook and Bear Swamp Road. We took the trail to its terminus after it looped around to the west, and then took the Yellow Trail going northeast, starting or loop back.

Shortly thereafter, there is an excellent sweeping view facing north and east. The skyline of Manhattan is also clearly visible. We continued along the Schuber Trail, down the valley and again across the Bear Swamp Brook, and then met up with the Red-Silver Trail. We continued along the Schuber Trail as it turns here to start descending the mountain, past the MacMillan Reservoir dam going back down, and then veered off to the Silver Trail which we took down to the end, passing Scarlet Oak Reservoir on the left before crossing the Ramapo River prior to the parking lot.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails, Eastern Map

Me at the Dam Spillover of the MacMillan Reservoir

Dam Spillover from the MacMillan Reservoir

Ruin Along the Yellow-Silver Trail

Looking Into the Ruin

The Ruin as Seen from Bear Swamp Road

Shimmy at Bear Swamp Road Where it Crosses Bear Swamp Brook

Bear Swamp Brook

The first Signs of Spring! A Flowering Tree in Early March!

Yellow Trail Ascending Towards the View

Marker at the Summit where the View Is

Facing East Towards Giant Houses Near Seminary Road

Facing Northeast from the View Towards Matty Price Hill

Matty Price Hill

From the View Facing North

From the View Facing East

From the View Facing Southeast Towards Manhattan

Zoomed in to the Manhattan Skyline

From the View Facing Northeast

Shimmy Hiking Along the Ridgeline

Descending from the View

A Sliver of Remaining Snow

Ruins Along the Schuber Trail