Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tom Jones Mountain Foliage

Harriman State Park
Orange County, New York

Hiking Trails:
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Victory Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for short but good climb
Points Of Interest: Good climb, excellent view

Google Map of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

This was the last good week of fall foliage. Although this Sunday was past peak, there were still some nice colors, although much of the remaining leaves on the trees were brown. This storm was the day before Hurricane Sandy struck and devastated the area. The storm warnings were all in effect, but the rain and wind was not supposed to be pick up until Monday, so I was safe doing this hike. However, I had to take care of storm preparations such as stock up and items and move all my outdoor furniture, so I needed to do a hike that was shorted than usual.

I parked the car on Lake Kanawauke Road (Orange County Route 106), right after the Little Long Pond. There is a small parking area here that often fills up on weekends. The parking area is a mountain notch in-between Tom Jones Mountain and Black Rock Mountain. I took the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail south from the trailhead up Tom Jones Mountain. This part of the hike is a good and rocky climb up the mountain, but it is only for about 400 feet up. At the top there are some great views, and the mountain seems to stand out. I then continued along the trail, climbing down into the valley, and took the Victory Trail north back to the road. I then walked along the side of the road as it passed along the marsh back to my car.

Map of the Route

Late Autumn Brush Foliage Ascending Tom Jones Mountain

Beautiful, bright red blueberry foliage on the top of Tom Jones.

Another view, with Black Rock Mountain behind over the notch.
Facing North.

View at the top of Tom Jones Mnt.
Facing northeast.

Another view from the top, facing southeast.
Lake Kanawauke in the distance.

View from the top facing east.
Jackie Jones Tower is in the distance.

View off the summit facing north.
In the distance the Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains are clearly visible.
They are in the distance, though hard to capture on camera.

Near the Descent of Tom Jones on its southern flank.

View south of Parker Cabin Mountain on the descent of Tom Jones.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hook Mountain Fall Foliage

Hook Mountain State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Yellow Trail
Long Path: Blue blaze

Total Time: 0:40 hours
Estimated Distance: 1.0 mile
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended for a short hike with great views
Points Of Interest: Amazing views

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

Hook Mountain is a tall promenade on the Palisades, directly north of Nyack. It offers sweeping views of the villages of Upper Nyack and Nyack, as well as the Tappan Zee Bridge, Hudson River, and Rockland Lake. This was a weekday but because of the beautiful foliage I took a quick break from work to do this short and relatively easy hike. Although the weather was gloomy, with a gray sky, the colors on the trees really brightened things up. I parked on the side of the road on 9W as it peaks climbing the mountain, and took the yellow trail which starts here. I don't know the name of this trail as its not on my map. This trail takes you to the top of Hook Mountain, where it meets the Long Path, and there is very large cactus grove here. The views on top of Hook Mountain are really incredible, especially with the foliage. I took the Long Path down the small scramble, and then cut back to the yellow trail and back to my car.

Map of the Route

Looking West on Route 9W

Beginning of the Yellow Trail.

Tappan Zee Bridge and Hudson River from Summit of Hook Mnt.
Looking south.

Rockland Lake and the Northern Portion of Hook Mnt.
Facing North.

Facing northeast. Hudson River Behind Hook Mnt

Cactus Grove on Hook Mountain

Looking Straight Down from Hook Mountain. Facing South.
This picture is naturally colored,
and was not enhanced with Photoshop!

Upper Nyack and Nyack. Facing South.

Nyack and Southern Palisades.
Facing south-southwest.

Nice Picture of Fallen Leaves

Golden Orange Maple Tree near end of Hike

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bald Mountain and Doodletown Foliage

Bear Mountain / Harriman State Parks
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Cornell Mine: Blue blaze
Ramapo Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
1777 Trail: Red blaze
1777E Trail: Red blaze

Hiking Partner:

Debbie Koegel

Total Time: 2:30 hours
Estimated Distance: 5.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficults
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Very good climb with amazing views, historical ghost town

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

Bald Mountain is really the western peak of Dunderberg Mountain. It has sweeping views north and east, and requires a scenic and challenging hike to get to it. we parked at the Cornell Mountain Trailhead on Route 9W, right near the road to Iona Island. The first part of the trail starts by a small cascading waterfall, and this part of the hike is very scenic. After a few minutes, to the right, is another very scenic waterfall. The trail continues on a relatively mild ascent until it hits the foot of the mountain, where it then zigzags steeply up. Near the top is the intersection with the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail, which we took west towards the view. There are some small mining pits in this area, remnants of the larger Cornell Mine which is a several hundred feet below the view.

At the view, one can see points north from the Hudson at the Bear Mountain Bridge, Anthony's Nose, Bear Mountain, West Mountain the west, and The Timp to the south/southwest. From the view we continued along the trail, slightly descending until the 1777 Trail. The 1777 is a wide trail that follows the path of an old woods road. As it continues descending, it eventually enters Doodletown, which is an old ghost town that the state purchased in the 1960's and forced everyone to evacuate. Markers label the historic sites in the old ghost town, and its an interesting walk. Continued at the split on the 1777E Trail (the 1777 trail splits into the 1777E and 1777W Trails), and eventually back down to Route 9W at the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Cascade at the very beginning of the hike.

Waterfall known as the "Ten Footer"

View Atop Bald Mountain, facing north
towards the Bear Mnt Bridge spanning the Hudson River.

Beautiful Fall Foliage surrounding and atop Bear Mountain. Facing North.

Facing west towards West Mountain from the Bald Mnt View.

Me at the view.

More Foliage

Fall Foliage. Facing east/northeast.

Timp Brook

Bright Foliage Colors
Beautifully colored tree in Doodletown

View of Bald Mountain from below in Doodletown

Debbie Reading the Doodletown Legend

Doodletown Legend

Tree at the Reservoir in Doodletown

End of the Trail at Iona Island and its swampgrass

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ramapo Lake,
Ramapo Mountain State Forest

Bergen and Passaic Counties,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:

MacEvoy Trail: Blue blaze
Lookout Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 45 minutes
Estimated Distance: 1.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a short hike to a pretty lake
Points Of Interest: Beautiful Lake that must be hiked to.

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

I had exhibited at a trade show for much of the day, so only had a chance to do a short hike in the area near where I was. It was already nearing the end of the day, and this was a perfect hike. Being that this is one of the prettiest times to go hiking, as this was nearing the peak of the fall foliage, I really would have liked to do a longer hike, but I'll take what I can get. This happens to be a great short hike with a beautiful lake at the end.

I parked in the Parking area off Skyline Drive nearby the I-287 interchange. I took the MacEvoy Trail up to the Lake, and I had attempted to take the lookout trail, but realized it was too late as it was already starting to get dark. So I returned with the portion of the Lookout Trail going parallel to the stream and the MacEvoy Trail, and then cut through across the stream before that trail climbs up the mountain, and I diverted back to the MacEvoy Trail and then back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Foliage Along the side of the Lake

Sun Dipping Down over the Lake

Foliage and Reflection off Ramapo Lake, from the Dam.

Another foliage shot from the Dam.

And One More.

And here is a Professional Photographer Trying
to get a Similar Shot to Mine

Foliage at the Parking Area

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Palisades State Border Hike

Palisades Interstate Park
Bergen and Rockland Counties,
New York and New Jersey

Hiking Trails:

Long Path: Green blaze
Shore Trail: White blaze
Trail E: Unblazed

Total Time: 1:30 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a tough hike with good views close to NYC
Points Of Interest: Amazing views above cliffs, hike to riverfront

Google Maps of Parking:

View 2012 Hiking in a larger map

This hike has many interesting parts to it that make it unique:
  • The hike starts at the top with the main view above, and then one hikes down.
  • The hike straddles two states: New York and New Jersey.
  • Though the hike is a very close proximity to New York City, it is a very rugged and serene terrain.
This hike features sweeping views of the Hudson River atop tall vertical cliffs ascending straight above the western shore of the Hudson River. These cliffs are a volcanic rock formation known as the Palisades (after which both the Parkway and the Mall are named after.)

The hike starts at the State Line Lookout on the Palisades Parkway. (If driving southbound on the Palisades, turn around at exit 3 to get here.) After parking I took the Long Path north, which eventually crosses the state border, at which point there is a large monument marking the state line. Immediately after crossing into New York, the trail is literally immediately above the cliff above the river and offers sweeping views including that of the Tappan Zee Bridge directly north crossing the Hudson River. After descending the steep stairs into the valley, the Long Path goes slightly inland and crosses a small stream. Here is the intersection with the Shore Trail.

The Shore Trail further descends along the side of the stream and winds up steeply at the shoreline of the river. At this point where it hits the water stands a small waterfall, known as Peanut Leap Falls (which was mostly dry), and an old ruin known as The Pergola, which supposedly was an old estate. I would have liked to continue at this point ahead to the Giant's Stairs, which is an amazing hiking experience, but the trail had been closed. On May 12, 2012 there was a giant rock slide (no pun intended) below the State Line Lookout, and entirely covered the Shore Path at the Giant's Stairs. (View this article for additional information on this massive rock slide.) The rock slide caused the closure of the trail, and it is uncertain when the trail will be rebuilt and reopened. Anyone who has any additional information on this should please share this in the comments section.

At this point I turned around, climbed back up the path above the falls, and then did a small bushwack cutting across back to the Long Path before the stairs. Retraced my path to the Long Path, and then veered off a parallel Cross Country Ski Path with a sign calling it Trail E, which took me to the old abandoned part of Route 9W which I took back to the parking area.

Map of the Route.
I just installed a new Topo KMZ file for Google Earth,
so my maps should be better quality now when they overlap a USGS zone.

View at the beginning. Looking south towards Yonkers and The Bronx.

View at the beginning looking North.

Junction at the Long Path.
Sign says that the Giant's Staircase is currently out.

Interesting Balanced Rock.
I think this is called "Station Rock".

NY/NJ State Border Monument.

View Immediately North of the Border in NY.
Facing north towards the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Interesting Diabase Column Formation

Looking north before descent viewing the Tappan Zee Bridge.

The same view zoomed out.

A trickling Peanut Leap Falls on the left,
with the Pergola ruin on the right.

Shorline on the Hudson River at the end of the hike.
Step ascent back up on the Long Path.

At the end of the hike facing south.
Note the facial formation on the rock. Looks like an Indian.

Zoomed In to the Indian.