Sunday, May 26, 2013

Raccoon Brook Hills Reeves Brook Loop

Harriman State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
Stony Brook Trail: Orange blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Raccoon Brook Hills Trail: Black blaze
Reeves Brook Trail:White blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Slightly difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Scenic gorge, good climbs and views
Pros: Very scenic, varying terrain and flora
Cons: Beginning part of trail is always very busy

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

The weather was unseasonably cold for late May, and I had even considered bringing a light jacket. In the end I wore just short sleeves, and was indeed cold. I parked in the busy Reeves Meadow parking area, and took the Pine Meadow Trail to the Stony Brook to the Kakiat Trail. The water level was very impressive due to the excess rains, and the Cascade of Slid was particularly fierce.

I continued up the Kakiat Trail to its second intersection with the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, and took the Racoon Brook Hills Trail to the Pulpit. From there continued to the Reeves Brook Trail, where I took this trail in its entirety back to the trailhead parking area.

Map of the Route.
Map: Southern Bear Mountain Harriman State Park Trails.

Small cascade right before the gas line crossing

The raging Stony Brook

Cascade of Slid

Waterfall by Cascade of Slid

Pine Meadow Brook above the Cascade of Slid,
with the Washed Out HTS Trail Bridge

Large Blueberry Meadow atop the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail

Gas Line from the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail.
Facing east towards Kakiat Park

View from atop near the end of the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail.
Note the Manhattan Skyline in the Distance

Another View Facing South.

Washed Out Part of the Trail near the End of the Raccoon Brook Hills Trail.
There Was No Way to Avoid the Water

View near the Pulpit Viewpoint. Facing South.

Me near the Pulpit Viewpoint

Waterfall Along the Reeves Brook.
This is usually a trickle, but the heavy rains made this quite impressive.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Beech Trail Hasenclever Red Cross Loop

Harriman State Park
Rockland and Orange Counties,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Beech Trail: Blue blaze
Red Cross Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Slightly recommended
Points Of Interest: Waterfalls, historical mine
Pros: Very quiet area of the park
Cons: Lack of view, Muddy Areas in the rain

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

This was the first Sunday that it was raining in a long time. It was a soft steady rain all day long, so I decided to go hiking despite the weather in my waterproof rain gear.

I parked on Lake Tiorati Road at Beech Trail Trailhead. I took the Beech Trail southbound, where it passes alongside a stream. Due to the rain, the stream was very swelled, and had several pretty waterfalls and cascades. At the intersection of the Hogencamp Road I turned off the trail and took this woods road to the Hogencamp Mine, which is one of the earliest iron mines in the region. At the mine the Red Cross Trail intersects, and I took that trail, crossed the road, and took the trail along to the Beech Trail. This section contains numerous large blueberry bushes, so I will make an attempt to come back here in July. I took the Beech Trail back to the trailhead where I had parked.

Map of the Route

Greenery and wetness in the forest along the Beech Trail

Small Waterfall set off the Beech Trail

The Sliver Cascade in the Above Picture

Another Waterfall off the Beech Trail

SameWaterfall Different Angle

Newt Crawling Along the Trail.
There were lots of these out because of the rain.

Intense Green Along the Hogencamp Road

Water-filled Pit at the Hogencamp Mine

Red Cross Trail Crossing Tiorati Brook

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dunderberg Spiral Railway and Loop

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 3:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 6.15 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult (though easier on a direct route)
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended (though not the exact route that I took)
Points Of Interest: Historic railway, outstanding views
Pros: Good climb, several excellent views
Cons: Trails a bit confusing, views are of built-up areas

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I am usually good at planning a route, even if it involves a slight bushwack or using unofficial trails. This hike was definitely a challenge for me, having veered off base two separate times, as well as losing my camera. I had attempted to do some new routes on the Dunderberg spiral Railway track, but miscalculated and  ended up in a totally different place then planned on two different occasions on this hike.

The Dunderberg Spiral Railway was a project started in the late 1800's that was supposed to bring a trail up and down the mountain with a hotel on top. This project was never completed, though much of the path for the railway and several tunnels remain. Several of the trails go together with different parts of the unfinished railway, and other parts are very overgrown.

I had done Dunderberg the week before, but was out of time to complete the full route. There was one section of the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail I wanted to complete, and I resolved to complete it on this hike. I parked on Route 9W at the Ramapo-Dunderberg and Timp-Torne Trailheads. There is a flat thicket area with many thorns vines prior to the steep face of the mountain. There is a small parallel trail directly from the parking area to the other trails, and I took this to start. I then started climbing the joint trails until the split.

At the split, I continued on the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail along the steep cable include, and tried contining along the cable incline after the trail departed, and I got lost here since the cable track is totally overgrown at this point and indiscernible. I ended up bushwacking north-northwest, and then reached a different railroad trail which led me back to the blue Timp-Torne Trail instead of the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail. I continued along the Timp-Torne Trail across the stream, and up the mountain. At this point there is an excellent view high up above the Hudson River. It also overlooks the Indian Point nuclear power plant right across the river. I had left my camera at this point without realizing it.

After the view my plan was to bushwack and cut across to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and then take this trail as the return route. However, I ended veering more to the east then the north, and my GPS stopped working so I couldn't verify the bushwack on its proper eat. I ended up well west of where I was supposed to go, and was at a different spot in the notch between Bald Mountain and The Timp. Once I got my bearings straight, I climbed up the trail to Bald Mountain, (which has one of the best views in the park.) I then continued west along the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail to where it meets with a dirt path which is probably part of the railway. It was too hard to retrace my steps back through the bushwack I got lost in, so I cut across the dirt path and then did a short bushwack back to the main view on the Timp-Torne Trail. Thank God my camera was here on the rock where I must have left it, untouched. After breathing a sigh of relief, I continued down the Timp Torne Trail back to the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Railway Tunnel near the beginning of the hike

View right near the first tunnel, at the beginning of the steep ascent.
Looking towards Indian Point on the other side of the Hudson River.
Note the trail in the thicket area below.

Green frog resting on a log on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail

Part of the railroad bed

Beautiful flowering dogwood tree

View of the Hudson from the Bushwack Part.
Facing South.

A very overgrown portion of the railway

Another view from one of the railway bushwacks. Facing south.

Railway tunnel

This bird is called a scarlet tanager.
It has an orange-red head and body and black wings and tail.
It has an amazing color and is even stronger than a cardinal.
This bird was right near the view on the R-D Trail (below)

View from the Ramapo-Dundeberg Trail
Facing east across the Hudson River to Indian Point.
This is where I lost my camera.

Another  view, facing south along the Hudson River.

Same view, zoomed in.

Same view  facing  northeast, towards Peekskill

View from Bald Mountain, facing North to Bear Mountain.
Taken from my cell phone camera.

View from Bald Mountain, facing south towards the Timp Pass
Taken from my cell phone camera.
View from Bald Mountain, facing west to West Mountain.
Taken from my cell phone camera.

View of the Thicket Area at the end of the hike

Dunderberg Via Cornell Mountain

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland County,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Cornell Mine Trail: Blue blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.3 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points Of Interest: Great view atop Dunderberg
Pros: Excellent view, good climb, and overall scenic area
Cons: None

Hiking Partner:
Zev Feder

Google Map of Parking:

View 2013 Hiking Locations in a larger map

Dunderberg Mountain is one of the most prominent mountains in the Highlands Region. It juts out into the Hudson River with very steep sides all around. This hike featured climbing up Dunderberg from the northern approach of the mountain on the Cornell Mine Trail. The first part of this hike is moderate and very scenic, passing some small waterfalls on the side of the cascading brook. It then hits a very steep point where it climbs to the top of the mountain. Near the top the trail ends at the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail.

We took the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail east for about 600 feet, where there is really nice view. The view faces north with the entire Bear Mountain in view, part of West Mountain, and Anthony's Nose across the river. We then continued on the Ramapo-Dunderberg a little bit more until we realized we were out of time and had to turn back. We returned along the same route.

Map of the Route

Zev walking along the R-D Trail near the summit
View from the Summit of Dunderberg. Facing northwest.

Another view from the summit facing north.
Looking towards the Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River.
Note the vulture soaring above.

Zev at the summit, with Bear Mountain behind him

Me at the summit, with Bear Mountain behind me

A very large black rat snake slithering across the R-D Trail

Waterfall along the side of the Cornell Mine Trail