Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dater Mountain County Park,
Harriman State Park,

Rockland County,
New York

Orange Trail: Orange blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Blue Disc Trail: Blue blaze
Pine Meadow Trail: Red Blaze

Total Time:
2:40 min
Estimated Distance: 4.5 Miles

This was a wet and muddy hike. A large amount of snow had melted, but there was still a slushly layer several inches deep and empty patches of mud. The conditions were very difficult. I parked on Johnsontown Road at the parking area for Daters Mountain. I took the Orange Trail (don't know if this trail has a name or not; its a new trail and its not named in the map or in the books) passed the stream and up to the viewpoint. Continued along from there past the intersection with the blue trail, and to the Kakiat Trail right under the "Almost Perpendicular" portion of Daters Mountain. I originally wanted to take the Kakiat Trail all the way to the Pine Meadow Trail, but was too exhausted, wet, and muddy, so instead took the Blue Disc Trail head to the end of the trail, and then crossed the overflowing brook to 7 Lakes Drive by the gas line.

I walked along the side of 7 Lakes Drive towards Reeves Meadow, and at the Reeves Meadow parking area continued along the little-used portion of the Pine Meadown Trail towards Sloatsburg. Upon hitting the area along the stream bank, I discovered I had lost my sunglasses, so turned around and went all the way back almost all the way back to Reeves Brook, and sadly did not find them. So I turned back again towards where I was originally going, and to my surprise I found them not too far from my original discovery of noticing they were missing. I continued along to the end of trail where it hits 7 Lakes Drive in Sloatsburg, veered onto Johnsontown Road, and walked along Johnsontown Road to the parking area.

Map of the route.
7 Lakes Drive is not yet listed on this old USGS map.
Stream on the way up Dater Mountain view
The view atop Dater Mountain. Facing northeast towards Halfway Mnt.
Another view of Dater Mountain.
Facing east towards 7 Lakes Drive.
Near the end of the Orange Trail,
facing the "Almost Perpendicular" cliff wall.

The gas line crossing the stream at the end of the Blue Disc Trail
Above the Stony Brook on 7 Lakes Drive.
Lots of water due to melting snow!
My sunglasses - found!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Diamond Mountain

Diamond Mountain
Harriman State Park
Rockland County,
New York

7 Hills Trail: (blue blaze)
Hillburn-Torne-Sebago (HTS): (orange blaze)

Total Time: 1:45 min
Estimated Distance: 3.0 Miles

Hiking Partner:

John Taylor

This was a nice yet cold late winter day. There was a layer of thick ice glazing the snow which made the steep downhill part of this route very challenging. I did not realize just how icy it was and how much snow remained. We parked in the parking area off 7 Lakes Drive at the Lake Sebago boat launch, where the 7 Hills Trail begins, and we climbed up the trail up Conklin Mountain. Continued past the creek and Monitor to the summit of Diamond Mountain. We took a slight detour to the east to get a view of the other side of the mountain at Pine Meadow Lake and Lake Wankosink. Diamond Mountain has a beautiful view to the west with perhaps the best and most onubstucted view of Lake Sebago. It was very windy on the top viewpoint so we couldn't spend much time there.

Right after the summit is the interesection of the HTS Trail, which we took down the mountain. This trail is very steep and going down it on solid ice was quite interesting. We had to slide carefully down on our rears for this part. Continued down to the end of the trail at the Tuxedo-Mount Ivy Trail, which we took briefly to the Sebago Dam and 7 Lakes Drive. We walked the rest of the way back on the road back to our car.

Map of the route.
The road shows the old Johnsontown Road,
which has since been replaced with 7 Lakes Drive
and follows a slightly different route parallel to the lake.
John at the beginning of the 7 Hills Trail
Me on Conklin Mountain, in an evergreen
Mountain Laurel forest

View of Lake Wanoksink from the top of Diamond Mnt.
Lake Sebago from the view atop Diamond Mnt.
Facing northwest.
Me at the view.
Lake Sebago, facing north.
John Descending through an ice-covered
crevice down the HTS scramble.
John continuing the arduous descent.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Catalina Highway,
Mount Lemmon

Santa Catalina Mountains,

This wasn't a hike but a drive up the Catalina Highway to the top of Mt. Lemmon. This road starts in Tucson and climbs up over 7,000 feet to the summit near Summerhaven. The scenery along the road to the top is incredible, and there are many hiking trails off the road. I took some short scrambles off the road but didn't do any trail routes. When we started at the bottom it was in the 70's, and on the top it was in the upper 40's or low 50's with snow. We had a 4x4 and had intended on taking the jeep road down, but it was closed presumably because of the snow.

At the beginning of a hike near the beginning, with all the Saguaros.
Overlooking Tucson from the beginning of the climb.
Me at the Rock Formations near Windy Point.
Me at the top near a granite dome.
Me again on top of a rock formation.
Me at Windy Point
Rock formation at Windy Point

On a cliffside at Windy Point
View of Tucson with the Tucson Mountains
Forest on top near Summerhaven. Looking northeast.
Burned out area near the top from a forest fire.
Snow at the top near Summerhaven.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gates Pass,
Tucson Mountains,

Sonoran Desert,
Tucson, Arizona

Total Time: 2:00 min
Estimated Distance: 1.7 Miles

I was in Tucson for the big mineral show, and took a little break to do a hike. I was driving on Gates Pass Road west of the city towards Saguaro National Park, and while driving through Gates Pass was marveled by the scenery and decided that this is the place I will hike. I parked right before the road bends and goes back down the mountain. There is a well-defined trail that started climbing the mountain towards a ruin, and I started climbing up. For some strange reason the trail is not marked, yet it is a well-used trail and there were other people there. Continued climbing to the top, and was very impressed by the stunning scenery of the Sonoran Desert. On the top of the mountain were also some interesting rock formations and holes within the rock.

Since the trail was not marked, and I didn't have a map and am not familiar with the area, I decided instead of going further along the trail to take a bushwhack west down the mountain towards a trail I was able to see from the summit, and from there take the trail back to the parking area. This was a big mistake and I learned the hard way never to bushwhack in the Sonoran Desert.

While going down the steep terrain, I got viciously attacked by a Cholla Cactus. For those of you who don't know what a Cholla is, its a shedding cactus that drops its pieces all over the desert floor and are almost impossible to avoid. I started getting this on my shoes and they would poke right through my shoes and get stuck. Then they got stuck in my hand and I couldn't get them out. I had to tenaciously do my best at removing them and was getting extremely frustrating. And then I had to deal with bushwhacking down and very challenging steep cliff which I had not realized was so steep from the top part of the hike. When I finally reached the bottom, I took a dried stream bed which finally reached the trail. I cried a sigh of relief when I finally hit the trail. From there I took the well-defined trail up the mountain towards the pass and back to the car.

These pictures are taken with my cell phone camera as that is all I had, so the quality is not that great.

Map of the route.

At the start of the hike.
Looking towards Bushmaster Peak.
Starting the ascent. Looking towards a small peak flanking Gates Pass.

Sheer Cliff while climbing the mountain.
Looks a bit like an Indian's head.

Saguaro Cactus all over the place.
The peak at the top where I climbed to.
Rock formation hole in the peak.
Looking down from the peak towards Gates Pass Road.
The nefarious cholla cactus that attacked me.
Behind is the cliff face that I climbed down from.

Looking back at the peak I had climbed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Monksville Reservoir

Long Pond Ironworks State Park
New Jersey

Total Time:
0:45 min
Estimated Distance: 1.45 Miles

The Monskville Reservoir is a relatively recent reservoir having been created in 1987. In fact, if you look at the map below which is based on the USGS, you will see that the reservoir doesn't even exist there (I couldn't find a more updated map to use). It is very large, and my attempt was to hike along its entire frozen length. Unlike the lakes in Harriman which I am more familiar with, the Monksville Reservoir doesn't have any markings indicating if the ice is thick enough to go upon. However, I saw several ice fisherman on the lake which made me assume it was safe. As I continued hiking along the lake I noticed it was a bit slushier than I felt comfortable with and also there were no more people all the way down where I was going, so I bailed out earlier than I had hoped for.

I started at the boat launch area, and headed south along the frozen reservoir. I bailed out at the bend of the reservoir at the power lines, heading up the power lines trail and then along the trail on the eastern shore. Because of the recent ice storm, hiking conditions were quite challenging since I would constantly fall through the glazed ice layer on top of over a foot of snow.

Map of the route.
This is an old USGS map which doesn't even
show the reservoir as it is prior to 1987!

This is a satellite view which shows the
reservoir and the route I took.
Walking down towards the boat launch.
Note the ice-fisherman's tent.
Walking south along the reservoir
Looking north towards the road while walking
along the reservoir.
The path on the route back.