Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bear Mountain Short Hike

Bear Mountain State Park,
Rockland / Orange Counties,
New York

Appalachian Trail (AT): White Blaze

Total Time:
0:50 hr
Estimated Distance:
1.5 Miles

I had made a trip to the Bear Mountain zoo with my wife and kids. After we had finished, my wife agreed to drive up to the top of the mountain on Perkins Drive while I would run up and meet her. So I started at the zoo, and hiked up fast along the new AT Trail. Near the end of the first round I took bushwack shortcut and cut across to the tower at the summit. My wife and kids beat me to the top.

The photos below were taken with my cell phone since that is all I had with me for this hike.

Map of the route.
View from the first viewpoint.
Facing southeast towards the Hudson River,
Iona Island, and Peekskill.

Seasonal Waterfall on the way up.
At the top. A couple admiring the view.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Catamount Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

Pine Meadow Trail: Red Blaze
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow Blaze

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

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Catamount Mountain is along the Ramapo Escarpment, and affords some excellent views of Rockland County. It is a little-known mountain and is not extensively hiked. As you can see from the pictures, the trees were just starting to bloom. We parked at the Horse Stables on Route 202 where the Pine Meadow Trail begins. We took the trail up to the Gas Line, and then when it crosses the Power Lines there is a stream that comes down the mountain, and we veered along the side of this stream along an old worn-out unmarked trail. At the beginning of the stream is cute little waterfall. We veered off on another unmarked trail along the side of the Catamount Mountain, and right before this trail hits the S-BM Trail we took another unmarked trail (not on the map) along the summit of Catamount, and then a little further down where we were afforded good views.

I didn't know how far down this newly discovered trail goes, so eventually turned around since I needed to get back. I'll have to continue exploration another time. I took the S-BM Trail back down towards the notch, and then where it intersects the Pine Meadow Trail took the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the trailhead.

Map of the route.
Waterfall at the foot of Catamount Mountain
Me at the Waterfall
View Near the Catamount Summit
Viewpoint. Facing Southeast.
Looking towards Manny Schwab's house and Powder Horn.
The same view above. With Palisades in the Distance.
Another view
Shimmy Descending the notch.
On the Suffern-Bear Mnt and Pine Meadow combined trails.
Me in the notch, at the intersection of the S-BM and Pine Meadow Trails.
Interesting sign for the horses at the end of the hike.
They don't want you to scare the horses.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rockhouse Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,

(and a touch of Orange County),
New York

Beech Trail: Blue Blaze
Long Path: Green Blaze
Rockhouse Mountain Trail: Unblazed
Bushwacks and unmarked trails

Total Time: 1:40 hr
Estimated Distance: 2.5 Miles

Rockhouse Mountain is the highest point in Rockland County, at 1283 feet above sea level. I looked at the maps to see if there was a higher point in Rockland but couldn't find any, although there are several points that make it very close. Surprisingly, there is no trail that ascends this mountain. However, there is an easy climb to the Rockhouse viewpoint which is short and right off the road, and it offers an excellent view. I drive by this mountain almost on a weekly basis, and this was the first time I decided to get out and climb it despite there being no trail up.

I parked on Gate Hill Road/Lake Kanawauke Dr near the end of of its snaking route along Rockhouse Mountain. I parked near the end of Rockhouse where it dips down, right after the "Rock House" located on the Trail Conference Map. I ascended the steep rocky portion of this mountain to the very good view, which faces south and east. There is somewhat of a eroded trail along the top ridge, though it eventually fades in the shrubs. The view is not at the true summit; to reach the true summit you have to bushwack a bit to the east past the viewpoint.

I continued bushwacking past the summit, then bushwacked down the mountain towards the Beech Trail. Continued for a short distance on the Beech Trail to the Rockhouse Mountain Trail. This trail is unmblazed and cuts accross from the Beech until the unmarked road that starts at Lake Askoti. It is a well-known unblazed trail and is unofficially marked throughout its length by rock pile cairns. I took this trail until the unmarked road beyond Lake Askoti, and then headed along that trail to the shore of Lake Askoti near where it intersects 7 Lakes Drive. From there I took the Long Path south back towards where I parked my car.

Map of the Route
Harriman State Park, Rockland Co, NY
Rockhouse Mountain from the Road.
Climbed this steep rocky area to get to the View.

Ascending Rockhouse Mountain, with the road in view.
View atop Rockhouse Mountain, facing West.
View atop Rockhouse Mountain, facing south,
with Jackie Jones Tower in view in the center-left.
Cairn at the Northern end of the Rockhouse Mountain Trail.
A Very Gray Lake Askoti.
Lake Askoti With part of Pine Swamp Mnt Behind.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Irish Mountain /
Pound Swamp Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York


Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail (S-BM): Yellow Blaze
Bushwacks and unmarked trails

Total Time:
1:50 hr
Estimated Distance: 3.65 Miles

This hike involved several bushwacks and unmarked trails, but overall is a very good and highly recommended hike. I parked on Gate Hill Road by the S-BM trailhead, and headed north up toward Irish Mountain where the Irish Potato sits. The Irish Potato is a very large rock just sitting above the ground on the top of the mountain. It is too large to climb on top of.

From the Irish Potato continued along the S-BM and skirted along the Upper Pound Swamp, and then when the S-BM turns to descend Pound Swamp Mountain, I veered off on a bushwack towards the summit of this mountain. There is no trail up this mountain, so the only way to get to the top is by bushwack. At the very top sits a small rock which can be climbed upon, though there isn't really a good viewpoint. I suppose that had I traveled further along the mountain towards the northeast I would hit a good viewpoint of the notch where the Palisades Parkway travels through, though I will leave that hike for another time.

From the summit bushwacked down the steep side straight towards the dam of the Upper Pound Swamp. Though this is called a swamp it is really a pond or small lake. It is interesting in that it is naturally dammed by beavers, as is evidenced by the beaver-chopped trees around its edges and the beautiful natural beaver dam. I find this to be one of the most beautiful lakes within the Harriman confines.

From the Upper Pound Swamp, continued along the unmarked trail, which used to be some sort of road, up the hill towards the ruin. I veered slightly off the path the view the ruin, which I have no idea what it is or when it had functioned. (If anyone has any knowledge on this ruin, please feel free to comment. All that is listed in the Trail Conference maps is "ruin".) Continued down the old road path until Gate Hill Drive, and then walked along the side of the road all the way back to the trailhead. There is a nice cascade along the southern side of the road where the Minisceongo Creek drops through the escarpment.

Map of the Route - Harriman State Park
The Irish Potato atop Irish Mountain
Rock at the summit of Pound Swamp Mountain
Near Pound Swamp Mountain before descending the bushwack
to the Upper Pound Swamp.
Nice picture of the Upper Pound Swamp
As you can see, it looks more like a small lake then a swamp.

Shoreline of the upper Pound Swamp with trees being gnawed by beavers
The Natural Beaver Dam that forms
the Upper Pound Swamp.
I crossed along this dam.
Another view of the Upper Pound Swamp and Beaver Dam
The Ruin Along the Unmarked Road.
Its sits atop the hill.
Doorway arch at the ruin.
Minisceongo CreekWaterfall Cascade.