Sunday, June 23, 2019

Daters Mountain to Elbow Brush and Claudius Smith Den

Harriman State Park,
Rockland/Orange Counties.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Blue Disc Trail: Blue blaze
Tuxedo-Mount Ivy Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Good scrambles and great views, interesting rock formation
Cons: None

Hiking Partners:
Josef Friedman
Shimmy Rosenberg
Moses Ginsburg and sons

Claudius Smith Den is one of my favorite spots in Harriman. We visited the area from the southern approach, starting at Daters Mountain to Pound Mountain through the Elbow Brush.

We parked at the trailhead at the dead end on on Johnsontown Road, at the start of the Blue Disc Trail. We took the Blue Disc trail up the mountain, bushwacking on the part of the old trail to the view area. This mountain features a steep and challenging climb with an amazing view at the top. We continued along the Blue Disc Trail after the above, along Pound Mountain, to the Elbow Brush.

The Elbow Brush is a rock formation along the Blue Disc trail with a short cliff wall that goes along about 500 feet with several overhands and cave-like holes from talus boulders. The trail goes along the bottom of the formation and goes through a few interesting crevices and small caves. There used to be an alternate trail along the top of the formation as well, but the blazes have since been removed by the Trail Conference.

We continued from the Elbow Brush a short distance to Claudius Smith Den, which we climbed up for the top view. Claudius Smith Den features a crevice through cracked rock, with a beautiful view on the top along a steep cliff.

After Claudius Smith Den we turned around, and went on the old trail above the Elbow Brush formation. I don't know why they removed this spur trail. It is still there and easy to follow, but the blazes are gone. We continued along the Blue Disc Trail all the way back to the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Approaching the First View

Shimmy Scrambling Up the Daters Mountain

Daters Mountain View

Me at the Daters Mountain View

Me on the Rock at Daters Mountain View

Me in the Distance at Daters Mountain

Another View at the Daters Mountain View

Some more of Daters Mountain

One more at Daters

Our Group Hiking along the Blue Disc Trail

Me at the Elbow Brush

Elbow Brush Cave

Interesting Rock Formations at Elbow Brush

Josef at Claudius Smith Den Summit

Me at Claudius Smith Den

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bellvale Mountain AT to Village Vista

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area
Greenwood Lake Village area,
Orange Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Village Vista Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.4 Miles

Pros: Quiet area, very scenic view
Cons: First park of hike avoids views and is rather boring

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Bellvale Mountain is a long and narrow mountain starting near Warwick and going alongside Greenwood Lake and into New Jersey, where it is called Bearfort Mountain. Bellvale Mountain has interesting rock formations and craggy outcrops which make great views. However, most of this hike lacks any views or outcrops. The only view is at the end of this hike, but it is a spectacular one.

We parked at Route 17A at Mount Peter, and took the Appalachian Trail south along Bellvale Mountain. Once reaching the Village Vista Trail, the trail reaches the craggy outcrop with a very nice view of Greenwood Lake and Greenwood Lake Village. We turned around after the Village Vista, and took the Village Vista Trail down the mountain. We had requested an Uber to take his from the Village Vista Trailhead back to our car, but the driver cancelled on us, so we bushwacked back up the Appalachian Trail and returned to our car.

The weather was cloudy and muggy with rain in the forecast. It started raining steady as soon as we completed the hike and got to our car.

Map of the Route

Me at the Trailhead Information Panel

At the Powerline on the AT

Powerlines on the Trail

Me on the Appalachian Trail in a Mountain Laurel Forest

Village Vista Trail Trailhead

Approaching the Rock Exposure at the Village Vista View

Village Vista View, Overlooking Greenwood Lake

Looking South toward Greenwood Lake

At the Village Vista View, Facing North

Another View Facing South

Shimmy at the Village Vista View

Pretty Pink Flowers at the Village Vista View

Village Vista View Facing Northeast

Zoomed into Greenwood Lake

Northern Part of Greenwood Lake

View into Greenwood Lake Village from the Village Vista Trail

Zoomed into Greenwood Lake Village

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Doris Duke Area Sterling Forest

Sterling Forest State Park
Orange Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Doris Duke Loop Trail: Yellow blaze
Highlands Trail: Blue blaze
Allis Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Very quiet and scenic area
Cons: None

The weather had been hotter than usual. This was finally a break from all the rain, and I appreciated the sun and blue sky. I parked at the Doris Duke trailhead on Benjamin Meadow Road, right near the Tuxedo Ridge ski area. The Doris Duke Trail is a loop trail that is a 3.9 circular loop.

There is a view near the top facing south. After the view, the trail meets with the combined Allis and Highland trail, and goes concurrently with those trails until another view. The trail then descends, makes a sharp turn, and then continues descending down the mountain. The trail then goes alongside a remote swamp that is fully of lily pads and bullfrogs. I continued along the trail until the end of the loop, and then the short distance back to my car. I was surprised how quiet the hike was, and there was only one other car in the trailhead parking area upon my return, despite it being a beautiful Sunday.

Map of the Route

Start of the Doris Duke Trail

Doris Duke Loop Trail Split Near the Start of the Hike

Approaching the First View

From the View, Facing South

Another Angle of the View

Me at the Above View

View Into Harriman State Park

View Facing East

View Facing South

Concurrency of Three Trails: Doris Duke, Allis, and Highlands Trail

View from the Top of the Sterling Mountain Facing Towards Schunnemunk

Another View Facing North Towards Schunnemunk

Train Intersection of Allis/Highlands and Doris Duke Trail at Sterling Mnt.

View Facing Northeast Towards Lake Mombasha and Storm King

Another View Facing Northeast, Zoomed Out

View Facing East from Sterling Mountain

Swamp at the Bottom of the Mountain

Another View of the Swamp