Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stony Brook and Gas Line

Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

White Bar Trail: White blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:05 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Somewhat recommended
Points Of Interest: Good views on Gas Line

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

This hike was really going to be an extension of the hike we took last week, but we ran out of time and didn't have the time for a long hike this time either. So this was a good but short hike and kind of a continuation of last week. We parked at the Johnstown Road Trailhead dead end (same place as last week), and took the White Bar up to the Kakiat, and header east on the Kakiat Trail. This area goes through some old foundations and stone walls, which adds interest to it. The bridge where the Kakiat crosses to the Stony Brook Trail was washed out last year during Hurricane Irene, and is yet to be rebuilt. Instead of crossing where the bridge once spanned, we stayed on the other side of the brook without crossing it, and walked along the edge on the side of the steep embankment. We walked until the gas line, climbed up the steep incline on the gas line and then over and down back to the trailhead and back to our car.

Map of the route.
Note that the map is old, and Johnstown Road is now the trail
and the road is 7 Lakes Drive which is parallel to the trail.

Me walking along the White Bar Trail.
Note the plants turning green.

Note about washed out bridge on the Kakiat Trail

Foundation at the Kakiat Trail, between the White Bar and Stony Brook

Washed out bridge on the Kakiat Trail.
Note the trail markers across the brook.

Shimmy Walking along Stony Brook.

Climbing the gas line.

Me atop the hill on the gas line.
Behind me is North Hill. Facing south.

Another view of the gas line towards North Hill.

Me descending the gas line on the other site,
with Daters Mountain straight ahead.
We had climbed that cliff right in front of us the week before.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Almost Perpendicular

Daters Mountain
Harriman State Park,
Rockland County,
New York

Blue Disc Trail: Blue blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
White Bar Trail: White blaze

Total Time:
1 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.2 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended for a short hike
Points Of Interest: Great hike with great view

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy and Mordy Rosenberg

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

I was short on time, so this was a great hike for an hours worth of time. We have been very lucky with the weather, which has been pretty much consistently in the 60's and 70's for almost the entire month of March. Although it was cloudy for most of the hike, when we were finishing up it got sunny and in the 70's. We parked at the dead-end circle at the Johnsontown Road trailhead parking, and went on the Blue Disc trail, following it to the climb up Dater's Mountain, to the area labelled as "Almost Perpendicular" on the trailhead maps. This is a good climb, and there is an old alternative route that goes closer to the cliff edge and proves a bit more challenging. We took this route up, and the marked trail back down in the same direction we came from. The view here is incredible, as the rock face is exposed with a sheer, near-vertical cliff below. We went back down and at the intersection of the Kakiat Trail, took that trail through a nice evergreen forest and then over the Spring Brook, where we met up with the White Bar Trail. Along this portion the White Bar Trail follows the old route of Johnsontown Road, which became defunct when Seven Lakes Drive was built parallel to the road. We took the White Bar back to its terminus at the trailhead.

Map of the Route

View from Almost Perpendicular, while ascending.
Facing south.

Mordy ascending the rocky surface near the cliff

View from the summit. Facing southeast.

View from the summit, facing east east,
towards the Gas line on the right.

Me at the summit

Sunday, March 11, 2012

High Mountain

High Mountain Park Preserve,
Preakness Range,
Watchung Mountains
Passaic County,
New Jersey


Red Trail
Yellow Trail

Total Time: 1.2 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.7 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended, though a boring hike until the view
Points Of Interest: Good view close to densely urban area

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

High Mountain is the highest point in the Watchung Mountains, hence its name. However, it is not a very high mountain, topping out at 885 feet. The Watchungs are a range of ridges and hills in northern New Jersey composed of volcanic basalt. I started at the parking area at William Paterson University, which provides trailhead parking at the northernmost part of the university. The Red Trail starts here, and I took the Red Trail to the Yellow Trail, which eventually climbs the mountain with an easy climb. The workout isn't great but the view is, with a view of the entire area including the dense urban area to the south around Paterson. From there I turned around and took the same route back, though cutting through some shortcut switchbacks.

Map of the Route

High Mountain Summit. Facing East.

High Mountain Summit. Facing southeast
towards Haledon and the NYC skyline in the distance.

Dry Grassy area at the summit.

Another summit view looking towards Paterson and the city skyline.

A more zoomed in view of the Manhattan skyline.

Another view.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wyanokie High Point

Norvin Green State Forest
Passaic County, NJ


Otter Hole Trail: Green blaze
Hewitt-Butler Trail: Blue blaze
Wyanokie Circular Trail: Red blaze
Mine Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 1.5 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.3 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Great views and good climb

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Winter in a larger map

The Wyanokies are a small mountain range in northern New Jersey and are part of the Jersey Highlands. The most prominent  mountain of this range is Wyanokie High Point, although it is not the highest. While the name is misleading since this mountain is just shy of a thousand feet, it nevertheless stands out above its surroundings and provides a very good climb. Despite my living in close proximity to this area, this was my first time ever hiking in the Wyanokies. There is an abundance of trails in this area so I am sure I will return.

I parked in the Weis Ecological Center, which is the official trailhead parking. I took the Otter Hole Trail for a very short distance, walking past the natural pool, and then took the Hewitt-Butler Trail. At this intersection there is a trail information guide that provides maps of the area. I was grateful for this since my 2002 edition of the Trail Conference North Jersey Trails was very much outdated.

I climbed up the mountain on the Hewlitt-Butler Trail, and then veered off for the final ascent on the Wyanokie Circular Trail to the summit. The summit view is spectacular, with a panorama on all sides, and an especially pretty view to the east facing the immense Wanaque Reservoir. The New York City Skyline was visible in the very far distance.

From the summit I descended along the Wyanokie Circular Trail, which makes a U down as it descends, and then took the Mine Trail back to the Otter Hole Trail and then back to my car at the trailhead parking area.

Map of the Route

Trail Information Plaque at the Confluence of Several Trails

On the ascent of Wyanokie High Point.
This mountain is across the valley facing west.

Another view of the same mountain above.

Wanaque Reservoir, southern portion.
Facing southeast. The Interstate 287 Bridge is visible in the distance.

View from the summit facing north.

The NYC Skyline, facing east-southeast.
The Wanaque Reservoir is in the foreground,
with the I-287 bridge behind to the left.

Another view from the summit, facing northwest.

And yet another view of the summit,
with an interesting pine tree in front of the Wanaque Reservoir.