Monday, March 23, 2020

Kakiat Last Season Snow Walk

Kakiat County Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

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

Total Time: 23 minutes
Estimated Distance: 1.0 miles

Pros: Scenic with melting layer of snow
Cons: None

The winter season of 2019-2020 featured hardly any snow at all. This spring snow event was not much of a snow, but the ground was covered and left just enough for me to appreciate it. I took a quick stroll in Kakiat in the morning before the snow all melted shortly afterwards. I parked in the parking area, crossed the bridge over the Mahwah River, and then took the Old Mill Trail loop around back to the Kakiat Trail. I then walked along the meadow past the gazebo and along the path on the side of the Mahwah River, back to the bridge and back to my car.

Map of the Route

Mahwah River from the Bridge, Looking South

Bridge over the Mahwah River

Mahwah River from the Bridge, Looking North

Sign Indicating Start of the Mountain Trail

Snow Covered Sprouting Leaves

Old Mill Trail with Wet Melting Snow

Mahwah River Along the Old Mill Trail


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Appalachian Trail: South Highland Rd to Canopus Hill Rd

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area,
Putnam Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles

Pros: Remote trail with no other people
Cons: No views

As the Coronavirus Pandemic spreads, the recommendation is to avoid being with other people. So I decided to a more remote trail far out and off the beaten path. In fact, I didn't meet a single person on the entire trail the entire hike. I also wanted to accomplish furthering my completion of all segments of the Appalachian Trail in the drivable area around my location. This segment is not a popular portion and is outside of any state parks, and doesn't have any memorable views.

This was the first hike of spring, and the trees and brush was just beginning to sprout, with the first hints of green. However, the unlike previous weekends, the weather was very cold despite bright sunny skies. I had to wear my heavy winter coat and winter hat.

I parked on South Highland Road in Putnam County, in a small pullout on the side of the road at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail. I took the trail south, past many old stone walls, seasonal ponds, and sprouting brush. I walked until Canopus Hill Road. At Canopus Hill Road there is the remains of an old inoculation station, which was used during a smallpox epidemic by George Washington's army in 1776. I provided a photo of the plaque of this on a rock, as well as the historical marker nearby which describes the nearby ruin as well of a small farm site. It was quite strange to be hiking at a historical inoculation site during the time of a pandemic. At this point I turned around and went back the same route back to my car.

Map of the Route

Steps at the Start of the Hike

Appalachian Trail going Through an Old Stone Wall

Stone Wall with Trail along the Hike

Me at a Stone Wall Along the Route

Small Seasonal Pond along the Trail

Trail Working through Newly Sprouted Brush

More Sprouting Greenery

Sprouting Green Thornbush

Remnants of the Old Inoculation Station

Another View of the Inoculation Station

Plaque on a Rock Describing the History of the Inoculation Station

Remnants of the Old Farmhouse

View of the Inoculation Station and AT Federal Park Boundary from the Road

Appalachian Trail from Canopus Hill Road

Plaque Describing the Hempstead Huts from the Canopus Hill Road

Trail at the End of the Hike Approaching South Highland Road.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Appalachian Trail - Old Albany Post Road to Denning Hill

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area,
Putnam Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Denning Hill Spur Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.5 Miles

Pros: Another very remote trail with few people
Cons: None

Hiking Partner:
Yehudah Koblick

Continuing along the my goal of completing the Appalachian Trail segments in my region, I picked up where I left off the previous week at Denning Hill. We parked on Chapman Road right past Old Albany Post Road, where the Appalachian Trail crosses through this intersection. We took the Appalachian Trail south from here, crossing a small boardwalk and then climbing up the side of the ridge. The trail goes along the side of the ridge for a while, before turning and climbing to the top where there is a nice view facing east.

We continued past the view along the Appalachian Trail to the Denning Hill Spur Trail, which we took to the top of the ridge. As mentioned in my previous post, this view is mostly overgrown and not quite impressive. At this point we turned around, and headed back along the same route back to our car.

Map of the Route

Short Boardwalk at the Beginning of the Hike

At the Main View at Denning Hill

At the View Facing Northeast

View Facing South with a Large Pine Tree

Me at the Denning Hill View

Yehudah at the Denning Hill View

View from Denning Hill Facing Northwest,
Towards the Hudson River and Bull Hill/Storm King

Evergreen Mountain Laurel Forest on the Appalachian Trail

View of the First View Again on Denning Hill

Denning Hill View, Facing East

Old Albany Post Road Sign at the Trail Intersection

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Appalachian Trail to Denning Hill View

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area,
Putnam Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Denning Hill Spur Trail: Blue blaze
Little Fort Hill Spur Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.8 Miles

Pros: Very remote trail with few people
Cons: Lacks good views, too many houses nearby

I had been on this trail back in December, but due to poor weather conditions I didn't get all the way to my destination to the top of Denning Hill. Now with the warmer weather and better conditions, I intended to complete the hike to Denning Hill on the Appalachian Trail. I am currently aiming to complete all sections of the Appalachian Trail within driving distance from my home, and this quiet stretch in Putnam County was on my crosshairs.

Instead of parking on Cross Road, which I did on my previous visit to the area, I parked on Old West Point Road E., in a small pullout on this narrow dirt road about 150 south of the trail intersection with the road. I took the Appalachian Trail north, past Little Fort Hill, and then passed an area with many downed trees that looked like it was hit with a tornado recently. I continued north, climbing up until the Little Fort Hill Spur Trail, which I took up to the top of the ridge, overlooking the Hudson River and West Point. The view was a bit disappointing, with too much tree cover. I then turned around and went back the same route, but I took a detour bushwacking for a short distance up Little Fort Hill from the north to the top, and then taking the Little Fort Hill Spur Trail down back to the Appalachian Trail and then back down to my car.

Map of the Route

View to the Southwest Approaching Little Fort Hill 

Zoomed In from the Approach from Little Fort Hill

Many Downed Trees in an Area Presumably Hit by a Recent Tornado

More Downed Trees Along the Trail

Appalachian Trail and Denning Hill Spur Trail Intersection

View from Denning Hill, Facing North

Bull Hill in the Distance from Denning Hill

Rock Wall Surrounding Little Fort Hill

Little Fort Hill

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Appalachian Trail at Canopus Hill

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area,
Putnam Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.2 Miles

Pros: Very quiet area
Cons: View isn't great

I had intended to hike on the Cedar Ridge Trail in Watergrass Sanctuary. I arrived at the area where parking sign is listed on the map on Route 9, but didn't say any trailhead in the area. I did see the Watergrass Sanctuary sign, pictured below, but there was no trailhead to be found. I then figured I would catch the trail from the other side at the end of Philips Brook Road. I parked on Old Albany Post Road at Philips Brook Road and looked for the other side of the Cedar Ridge Trail, but couldn't find that either! I wonder if they decommissioned this trail!

After not being able to find the trail for the above hike, I decided to head nearby to another trail area, and I ended up at the Appalachian Trail at Canopus Hill. I parked at Chapman Road right off Old Albany Post Road, and took the Appalachian Trail north up the mountain to the top of Canopus Hill. There is a view on the top but it's not great. I continued along the trail down the mountain, past the brook in the valley below, and then up to Canopus Hill Road. I then turned around and went back along the same route.


Map of the Route

Watergrass Sanctuary Sign on Route 9 but no Trail Present

Appalachian Trail Marker and Ruins near Homestead Huts on S. Highland Rd.

Historical Marker at Homestead Huts on S. Highland Rd.

Crossing the Brook on the Appalachian Trail

View Atop Canopus Hill on the AT

Another View Atop Canopus Hill on the AT

Another View atop Canopus Hill

Me atop Canopus Hill

View Looking West from Canopus Hill

Large Glacial Rock on Canopus Hill

Rock Fireplace along the Appalachian Trail