Monday, April 10, 2017

Long Path and First Reservoir

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze
Old Turnpike: Unblazed

Total Time: 0:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.0 Miles

Pros: Scenic area
Cons: Trail back along a paved path, no mountaintop views

It was the hottest day of the year so far, with unseasonably warm temperatures in the upper 80's. I took advantage of this weather for a short hike. I parked on Call Hollow Road where it intersects the Long Path, and took the Long Path up too the Old Turnpike. I took the Old Turnpike back down to the First Reservoir, and then down the paved driveway back to my car.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Cheesecote Mountain Long Path Spring Hike

Burgess Meredith Park/Cheesecote Mountain Town Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 1:20 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.8 Miles

Pros: Quiet area with few people encountered
Cons: No views, beginning part adjacent to Palisades Parkway has lots of noise

Hiking Partner:
Yehudah Koblick

The spring weather was finally kicking in, and it got up to the upper 50's and sunny during the hike. While I have done Cheesecote Mountain many times, I had never done it in its entirety on the Long Path, and decided to take this opportunity. Cheesecote Mountain is an extension of the Ramapo Mountains that is adjacent to Harriman State Park on the other side of the Call Hollow Road Valley. It is independent mountain without merging directly into any other mountains. Much of this mountain is developed, with large homes offering spectacular views of the mountains, the Hudson Valley, and even New York City in the distance. However, the northern part of this mountain is protected as a town park, and contains a small pond, some unmarked trails, and the Long Path traversing it from east to west.

We parked one car at Burgess Meredith Park, a small park in the village of Pomona, and another car on Call Hollow Road where it intersects with the Long Path. We started the hike at Burgess Meredith Park, walking along the trail alongside the river, and then cutting through the brush a short distance to the Long Path. For some reason this park doesn't connect to the Long Path which is only about 100 away, so you have to do a short bushwack to get towards the Long Path. We headed on the Long Path, along the south Branch of the Minisceongo Creek, and crossing the creek on a bridge that is also used by the Palisades Parkway.

After crossing the bridge, the trail ascends up the eastern flank of Cheesecote Mountain, and eventually ends up by the Cheesecote Pond. There is now a paved road around the pond which is driveable. Along the road we observed what was perhaps the last of the snow of the season, in a shady pocket alongside a steep embankment. We continued along the Long Path and then started descending along the western flank of the mountain, and then went through the veteran's cemetery. After that, the trail meets Call Hollow Road, where we had left the other car.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Appalachian, Carriage Connector & Osborn Loop

Hudson Highlands State Park
Putnam County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Carriage Connector Trail: Yellow blaze
Osborn Loop Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:20 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Remote and scenic area
Cons: Views are limited

I wanted to go a bit further north so I could still get some snow in the hike. The snow was still present along most of the hike, but was melting and left things very wet. I parked on Cross Road between Route 403 and Route 9 right near the Appalachian Trail. I walked the short distance south on Route 403 to the Appalachian Trail. The beginning of the hike features a boardwalk going over a swamp area, and the boardwalk is quite dilapidated and in need of repairs.

I continued along the Trail as it climbs the mountain gradually in a scenic valley beside a stream. At the trail intersection of the Carriage Connector Trail, I continued in the same direction along Carriage Connector Trail climbing the the valley until the trail headed east and then intersected the Osborn Loop by a small pond. All along the route, I was very much enjoying the dense greenery of the evergreen mountain laurels and hemlocks, especially in contrast with the snow.

I continued up the Osborn Trail to the highest part of the trail, which unfortunately featured no view. Right after the high point, I reached the Intersection of the Appalachian Trail, which I took down the mountain to where it connects to the Carriage Connector Trail. At this point realizing I still had a bit of time, I bushwacked up the hill up ahead which showed a view on the map, labelled as "White Rock." I climbed the steep ascent to the view, and on the top I noticed that one of the gloves that I had placed in my pocket was missing. I therefore opted to take the same route down the hill so I can trace the route, and actually found my glove right at the bottom at the intersection of the Appalachian and Carriage Connector Trails. I then took the Appalachian Trail back to my car.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kakiat Foothills Hike Last Snow

Kakiat County Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Old Mill Trail: Blue blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Mountain Trail: Orange blaze

Total Time: 0:35 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.3 Miles

I go to Kakiat fairly frequently, and especially walk around the bottom part on a regular basis. I don't include these on my blog posts, but I did include this because it was particularly scenic with the final snow of the season. 

This short hike took place only several hours prior to the official start of spring. There was plenty of snow remaining from the previous week's large snowstorm, and this day was a beautiful, sunny, and warm day in the 50's. I took the opportunity to go on this short hike after work. 

The snow was melting fast. I know this would likely be my last walk in the snow until the winter season comes around again at the end of the year. It was extremely wet and muddy, with some trails completely covered with flowing water from the melting snow.

I parked in the Kakiat parking lot, cross the Mahwah River bridge, and took the Old Mill Trail around the loop to the Kakiat Trail. Where the Kakiat Trail hits the Mountain Trail, I took the Mountain trail the hill to the bend, and right before the steep ascent took a spur trail on the southern edge of Kakiat, to a bird meadow, and then back around parallel to the river towards the bridge and parking lot.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

West Mountain Post-Snowstorm

Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks,
Rockland/Orange Counties,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Fawn Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.8 Miles

Pros: Good climb, scramble, and excellent views
Cons: None

This was my first hike after the blizzard which dumped over 18 inches in the area. This was a beautiful, sunny, and cold day for mid-March. I had figured this hike would be well-traversed and would be easy to do, but I was proven wrong. In fact, despite having snowshoes, this was my most difficult hike in years. Although its a relatively short hike, I was waddling through 1 to 1.5 feet of snow, often the first to make the tracks.

I parked at the Anthony Wayne parking lot, which was plowed in one small section. The rest of the lot was covered with snow and looked like a wintery lake, as indicated in the photo below. I took the Fawn Trail up, passed the Timp-Torne Trail, and continued to the end of the Fawn Trail at the Appalachian Trail (AT). The AT climbs rather steeply at this point, and I climbed up the first viewpoint, facing north and east, and then continued past the intersection with the Timp-Torne Trail to the view facing west at Anthony Wayne. I had intended to go further, but without any trailblazers before me and the difficult conditons, I opted out and started heading down.

I took the Timp-Torne Trail down the north end of the mountain, back to the Fawn Trail, and then near Beechy Bottom Road took another old path parallel to the road and then across a path back to the parking lot.