Sunday, July 31, 2011

Minnewaska Biking

Minnewaska State Park,
Ulster County,
New York

Total Time: 2:45 hr (including many breaks)
Estimated Distance: 11.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Interest: Extremely Recommended
Points Of Interest: Amazing rock formations in the area, incredible views

Peters Kill Carriageway
Lake Awosting Carriageway
Castle Point Carriageway

Hiking Partner:
Rafael Koegel

Google Maps of Parking:

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Minnewaska is my favorite place that is driving distance from home. The dramatic cliffs and exceptional views make it one of the most outstanding mountain ranges on the East Coast. When I was a teenager I would go biking here all the time. There were times when I'd be biking in Minnewaska almost every Sunday in the summer. I have not gone mountain biking in years, and decided it was finally time to get out and go back to my roots. While this is officially a hiking blog, not a biking blog, I have included this here because everyone ought to get out and do a bike ride through Minnewaska.

The upper parking lot had just been closed up moments before we arrived (it fills up very quickly on Sundays), so we parked in the lower parking lot and took the Peters Kill Carriageway. This trail climbs very gradually and is not all that interesting until it makes the final tough ascent to Lake Awosting. Lake Awosting is an absolutely stunning lake, and you can just keep on snapping away at the camera here. We went around the lake using the Awosting Carriageway, passing buy the bluffs and busy beach area. I was disappointed to see that the Hamilton Point Carriageway has been closed to biking several years back, so instead we took the Castle Point Carriageway up the difficult climb past the cliff overhangs at Battlement Terrace to Castle Point. Castle Point affords the most scenic views in the area, with straight cliffs and a totally unobstructed view. From Castle Point its all downhill back to Lake Minnewaska, and you just keep on descending at amazing speeds all the way down, with amazing views all the time on the right.

From Lake Minnewaska we biked down the steep park entrance road, flying down the hill and then taking the spur to the lower parking area back to our car.

Map of the Route
At Lake Awosting
Lake Awosting at Southern End
Me and Rafael overlooking Lake Awosting
Lake Awosting from Viewpoint Near Eastern End.
Battlement Terrace. Note Rafael Underneath the Overhang.
Cliffs at Battlement Terrace
Rafi Atop Cliffside. Lake Awosting is Behind in the Distance.
Me Atop Cliffs on the way to Castle Point.
The Same Location Facing the Other Way
Rafael Standing Above Cliffs Near Castle Point
Me and Rafael at Castle Point. Lake Awosting in the Distance.
Me at Castle Point. Facing East.
Hamilton Point Below from Castle Point. Facing Northeast.
Gertrudes Nose. Facing East/Northeast.
Group of Campers we met at Castle Point.
If you guys see this post, shout out in the comments
which camp you're from since I forgot!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pine Meadow Lake / Diamond Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

Total Time: 2:30 hr
Estimated Distance: 4.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly Difficult
Level of Interest: Recommended.
Points Of Interest: Scenic path along brook, Pine Meadow Lake, Good views.

Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Diamond Tower Trail: Yellow blaze
7 Hills Trail: Black blaze

Google Maps of Parking:

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I have been up the heavily used Pine Meadow Trail many times, but rarely make it all the way to Pine Meadow Lake. I parked in the Reeves Meadow area parking area, and went up the Pine Meadow Trail, to the Kakiat Trail, continuing back on the Pine Meadow Trail. I passed the formation at Gah-Nus-Quah Rock, where the brook flows through a tight rock formation, and then continued to the western shore of Pine Meadow Lake.

Took a break at Pine Meadow Lake, which was busy with hikers that went in for a dip here. There are "No Swimming" signs posted, but it seems almost every time I come here there are people swimming in the lake. From there turned around and went up the southern spur of the Diamond Tower Mountain trail, to the top of Diamond Mountain. There is a great view of Pine Meadow Lake on the way. At the top at the intersection headed down the 7 Hills Trail, also with great views on the way down (these views are not shown on the maps). Once I got to the bottom of the valley continued along the Pine Meadow Trail all the way back to the trailhead.

I didn't have my good camera with me so the photos below are a lesser quality from my cell phone.

Map of the Route

Damaged Bridge where 3 Trails Converge (7 Hills, Pine Meadow, and Kakiat)
Rock Formation at Gah-Nus-Quah Rock
Stream Flowing Through the Rocks at Gah-Nus-Quah

Me at Gah-Nus-Quah
Abandoned Structure near Pine Meadow Lake
Rock Formation at Pine Meadow Lake
People Swimming at Pine Meadow Lake
Pine Meadow Lake While Ascending Diamond Tower Mountain.
Looking east.
View from Diamond Mountain Summit.
Facing south.
View at 7 Hills Trail descending Diamond Mountain.
Facing west towards Pine Meadow Brook Valley.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cobus Mountain

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County
New York

Total Time: 1:30 hr
Estimated Distance: 2.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly Difficult
Level of Interest: Recommended; though may be difficult to climb and requires bushwack.
Points Of Interest: Great view and rarely climbed viewpoint, though slightly off the beaten path.

Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Gas Line
Mountain Trail: Orange blaze

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

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Map of the Route
Me climbing the scramble part.

View from the top. Facing South.
Mountain on the left is Kakiat.
Sheraton Crossroads is visible in the distance.

View of Power Lines from the top.
Facing southwest.

View from top, facing southeast towards
Rockland Community College (RCC)

Shimmy on the rockface at the summit.

Me at the top.

Me at the rockface at the summit

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Breakneck Ridge and Sugarloaf

Hudson Highlands State Park,
Putnam and Dutchess Counties,
New York

Total Time:
3:20 hr
Estimated Distance: 4.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult (Serious Rock Scrambling almost the whole way up 1200 feet)
Level of Interest: Highly Recommended; one of the best hikes.
Points Of Interest: Outstanding scramble up the mountain, fabulous views


Breakneck Ridge Trail: White blaze
Wilkinson Trail: Yellow blaze

Hiking Partner:
Sruly Rosenberg

Breakneck Ridge is one of my most favorite hikes in the region. It is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding of all the hikes in the Hudson Highlands region. Its an intense and challenging hike, and requires scrambling on hands on feet almost all the way up. One of the only disadvantages is that due to its popularity is always very busy and full of hikers, especially on weekends. My usual route is up the ridge and then down through the notch and the Corning Estate, but I decided to do a different route this time but way of Sugarloaf Mountain, which is a hike I have never done before.

We parked on Route 9D right after the Breakneck mountain tunnel where the road goes under the mountain. We hiked up Breakneck and took in all the climbs, scrambles, and views, and continued along past the summit. Our goal was to make it to Sunset Point and then head down the Wilkinson, but the hour was getting late so we cut across north along the unmarked path that is shown on path going along the Cascade Brook. The path is shown on the Trail Conference Maps but you may have to bushwack a little to find it. We took that path until the Wilkinson Trail, which then started climbing to the summit of Sugarloaf. Sugarloaf has an outstanding view on its summit, though it is not quite as tall as Breakneck which is visible directly south or Storm King directly across the river. From the summit we continued down to the bottom of the mountain and then down to the road where we had to walk just a little to get to our car.

Google Map of Parking:

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Map of the Route.
At the first part of the scramble.
At the first view on Breakneck.
Facing south with Crow's Nest on the right,
The Hudson River, Route 9D, and Bull Hill.
Sruly Atop the first Breakneck View
Me at the First Viewpoint with the Flag
Kayaking Group Below in the Hudson.
Taken From the First View.

Continuing the Ascent
Storm King Mountain on the other side of the Hudson River
Sruly Near the Summit.
View Atop Sugarloaf. Facing North,
Toward the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge

Another View from Sugarloaf. Facing northwest.
Me with Dead Tree atop Sugarloaf.
Behind the Hudson River is the edge of Breakneck,
with Schunnemunk in the background.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Long Mountain

Harriman State Park
orange County,
New York

Total Time: 2:20 hr
Estimated Distance: 1.9 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult with light scramble
Level of Interest: Recommended; a short hike with a fantastic rewarding view.
Points Of Interest: Scrambles and Views

Long Path (Green Blaze)

Google Map of Parking:

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The Long Path at Long Mountain is a well-preserved trail up a relatively short mountain with a great view. I parked in the parking area off of Route 6, and then walked on the Long Path down into a small valley. Instead of continuing up the mountain on the path at this point, I veered off to the west on an old woods road trail that follows along the side of a stream until Deep Hollow.

That path actually picks up the Long Path after its decent back down from the mountain. I took this part up, and on the rocky summit has a beautiful, almost panoramic view. I headed back down and continued along the the Long Path back to the car.

Map of the route.
Trailhead Information Kiosk at the beginning of the hike
A 5 Lined Skink Basking in the Sun
These are one of the only lizard species that live in the area.
View Ascending Near the Summit. Facing North
into Military Property.
The Summit of Long Mountain, with the Famous Long Path Blaze
The Torrey Memorial, Hewn Into Stone,
Atop Long Mountain Summit.
Looking Towards the Rocky Summit of Popolopen.
Facing East.
Looking Towards the the entire expanse of Bear Mountain.
Facing Southeast.

Rocky area on the Summit. Facing south.