Sunday, February 9, 2020

Dater Park Loop

Dater Mountain Nature County Park,
Rockland Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Orange: Orange blaze
Blue Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.5 Miles

Pros: Quiet area with nice trails
Cons: Noise from highway

I was traveling to Arizona in the afternoon, so had to keep this hike short. Daters Park has a very good loop trail which is scenic and can be done in about an hour. I parked in the Dater's Park hiking trailhead on Johnsontown Road, and took the Orange Trail up to the Blue Trail. I took the Blue Trail east to the view looking over Sloatsburg, and then the next view right above the Thruway. I then continued along the Blue Trail to its terminus at the Orange Trail, which I took to the area summit and then view over the summit. I then descended back down to the car on the Orange Trail.

Map of the Route

First View in Dater Park

View Facing Mountain Neighborhood of Sloatsburg

Very Large Pileated Woodpecker

Large Rock at the View

View at Daters Facing South

View of the Thruway at the Curve at the Trail

Looking Towards Sloatsburg at the Rocky View at Daters

Frozen Pond Along the Blue Trail

View Along the Orange Trail Facing Southeast

Me at the Orange Trail View

View on the Orange Trail View Facing West

Facing Straight from the Orange Trail View

View of Chipmunk Mountain from the Orange Trail View

View Facing North from the Orange Trail View

Me at the Orange Trail View

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Island Beach State Park

Barnegat Peninsula
Ocean Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Spizzle Creek Trail

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.1 Miles

Pros: Quiet stretch of ocean beach and undisturbed area
Cons: Expensive parking fee, even in winter

Island Beach State Park protects the longest stretch of natural, undisturbed Atlantic beach in the state of New Jersey. I was spending the weekend in Central Jersey for the weekend, and found out there are some nice nature trails in the area at Island Beach. Being winter, the area was very empty, and seeing the ocean and beach entirely empty and in their natural state was an amazing experience.

I parked at the last parking lot at Island Beach State Park, and took the path over the sand dune to the beach. I walked north along the side of the beach, being the only one there except for a single person at the beginning. I walked close to the ocean and waves, which were quite large, and then took the path over the dune back near the Spizzle Creek Trail. This trail goes along to the western side of the island towards the bay, where there is a marsh for bird watching. There is a little bird watching hut called the Spizzle Creek Blind where you can go inside to watch the birds outside so they don't notice you. Right outside in the marsh was a large Osprey nest, although I didn't see any osprey present. I then took the Spizzle Creek Trail back to the road, which I walked down until cutting in over the dunes again back along the beach, which i took back to my car.

Map of the Route

Crossing the Dunes at the Beginning of the Hike

Along the Dunes

Heading Towards the Beach

Sign at the Beach

Large Sand Dunes

High Waves Along the Beach

Waves Rolling In

Another View of the Ocean

More Large Waves Coming In

Bright Sun Along the Beach

Looking South from The Beach

Me on the Beach

Sign to Keep off the Dunes as I Leave the Beach Area

Crossing the Dune to the Other Side of the Island

Sign by the Spizzle Creek Area

Hike on the Spizzle Creek Trail

Holly Tree on the Spizzle Creek Trail

Spizzle Creek Blind, the Small Hut to Watch Birds Without Distrurbing Them

Marsh Along the Bay, with an Osprey Nest on the Left

Marsh and Bay

Small Boardwalk along the Spizzle Creek Trail

Sign Explaining about the Terrapin Turtles in the Area

More Marsh Views

View of Barnegat Bay 
Marsh and Barnegat Bay

Sunday, January 26, 2020

North & South Redoubt Highlands

Hudson Highlands State Park /
Garrison School Forest
Putnam Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Cannon Trail: Red blaze
Sloan Carriage Trail: Gray blaze

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.6 Miles

Pros: Very tranquil area
Cons: None

This is a little-known area with several trails and views. It's on the Hudson Highlands map set with a single isolate trail, but it turns it out this area is larger than I expected and there are several more trails here not listed on the map.

I parked in the small parking area on Snake Hill, and took the Cannon Trail alongside a steep hill on the side of a scenic ravine with a stream below. The trail then splits to a spur up North Redoubt, with a view on the top. This view isn't all that great but the spur is short so it wasn't a big deal. I went back down the spur to the main Cannon Trail. The first part of the hike is in Hudson Highlands State Park, and then the trail enters the Garrison School Forest, owned by the Garrison School District with several hiking trails. There is a information kiosk at the entrance to the forest.

I continued along the Cannon Trail to the top of South Redoubt. This area features a very good view of West Point and Storm King across the Hudson River. It was very windy up there so couldn't stay there long. I took the Sloan Carriage Trail from the viewpoint, looping around back to the Cannon Trail, which I then took the same return route. I had not met anyone on this hike, which is unusual for a Sunday morning, until I was near the end, where I met a fellow who asked me if I lost an outdoorsmans knife. I checked my Camelbak backpack and indeed it was missing, so I took the short spur up North Redoubt to retrieve my knife where he said he had left it. I then proceeded back the same route and then returned back to my car.

Map of the Route

Leftover Snow at the Beginning of the Hike

Hudson Highlands Entrance Plaque and Trailhead

Trail Climbing Along the Steep Ravine

Trail Split Marker at the South Redoubt Trail

View of the Hudson from North Redoubt

View Facing East from the South Redoubt

Old Structure on the Trail along the Meadow

Entering Garrison School Forest

Signs at the Entrance of Garrison School Forest

Informational Plaque Along South Redoubt

View Across the Hudson from South Redoubt 
View of West Point and Storm King Mountain from South Redoubt

Another View of West Point

View of the Gorge Between the Hudson

Me at the South Redoubt View