Monday, May 26, 2014

Pine Swamp Mountain Short Hike

Pine Swamp Mountain Short Hike,
Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Arden-Surebridge Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 0:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 0.75 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a short hike with good view
Points of Interest: Lake Skanatati and good view
Pros: Lake scenery and good view
Cons: Very busy area, especially on weekends and Holidays

Hiking Partner:
Rayzi Friedman

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

My knee had been getting better, and I decided to take my first hike with a climb. The climb is very short, but is a climb nevertheless, with a short scramble near the top. The top also affords a very good view. Although I have been hear many times, rarely do I just climb up this short hike and then climb back down. This is a recommended hike for someone who wants to do a very short hike in Harriman and get a nice climb with a view and also a lake.

We parked in the parking area for Lake Skanatati on Seven Lakes Drive, and took the Arden-Surebridge Trail up the mountain towards the view. We then turned around and went back the same way. The parking lot was very busy being that it was Memorial Day with great weather, but we were lucky to get a parking spot that had just opened up. If coming here on weekends or a Holiday, make sure to arrive early to ensure a parking spot.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails (North and South)

View from the top, with Lake Skanatati and Kanawauke

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Nyack Beach State Park

Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:

Nyack Beach Trail

Total Time: 1:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.7 miles
Level of Difficulty: Very Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points of Interest: River view and cliffs
Pros: Breathtaking Scenery
Cons: Very busy on weekends, little shade until later in day, and parking fee

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I still had to take it easy with my knee, so this was a longer hike but with a very easy path that is mostly the same grade. I figured I would hike along the path and get as far as I was able to before turning back.

I parked at the main entrance for Nyack Beact State Park. There is an entrance fee here on weekends of $6. I walked along the trail which goes along the river side, and went on it for about two miles. The trail is very scenic, with the broad part of the Hudson River to the right, and the tall steep cliffs of the Palisades to the left. However, it is extremely busy on weekends with hikers, bikers, and casual walkers, and the trail is very wide making it feel more like a walk then a hike. Also the shade cover is very sparse, which left me exposed to the sun for much of the way, and I had forgotten sunblock.

I had walked up all the way to the intersection with the road to Rockland Lake Landing, and from there I took the short spur path that hugs the side of the cliff and old quarry, back to the landing road, and then off to a short parallel side path that goes next to the river side trail. This eventually merges back to the river side trail which I then took back to my car.

Map of the Route.
Hudson-Palisades Trail Map

Looking South Towards the Tappan Zee Bridge
at the Beginning of the Walk

Looking Northeast Across the River Towards Ossining.
Fisherman Fishing in the Hudson River.

Large Catfish Caught by a Fisherman and Strung to a Tree.
He was Still Slightly Flapping as I Walked By.

The Sheer Cliffs of the Palisades Towering To the Left

Another View of the Palisades

Straight Cliff of the Palisades Towering Above the Trail

View Looking North

Looking Across the Hudson R. Towards Sing Sing Prison

Another View of the Palisades Cliffs

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lake Kanawauke and Lake Skanatati

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.8 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Slightly recommended
Points of Interest: Lake views
Pros: Beautiful Lake views
Cons: Lots of road walking

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I had originally planned on walking along the path that goes on the western shore of Lake Kanawauke, as this is an easy, paved path. I needed a relatively flat hike as to not strain my injured knee so figured this was a good match. So we parked at the Lake Kanawauke parking area, but to my dismay there was a large no trespassing sign there (not mentioned on this maps). So instead we walked west along Lake Kanawauke Road, over the small bridge connecting the two portions of the lake portion, and along the old, worn-out trail route that goes parallel to the north show of the lake.

This trail is a wide path and is easy to follow. However, it abruptly ends in middle of nowhere. So we bushwacked slightly up the side of the hill to get to the Long Path. Upon hitting the long path, we took it east towards Lake Skanatati, to the Lake Skanatati parking area. We then took the road back, and when I felt it getting too difficult for my knee, I had Shimmy go ahead and pick me up from the side of the road.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks Southern Map

Lake Kanawauke from the Parking Area

Walking along Lake Kanawauke Road

Me and My Hiking Poles

Lake Kanawauke from the Other Side of the Lake

Lake Kanawauke as it Narrows Before Going Under the Road

Lake Kanawauke at the End Where it
Goes Under the Road at the Little Long Pond

Shimmy Looking Down at me at the Roadcut

Me Hiking Along the Path on the North Side of Lake Kanawauke

Lake Skanatati from the Long Path

Me at the Above View

Lake Skanatati from the Long Path.
A Beautiful Spring Day!

Small Cascade Under 7 Lakes Drive at the Lake Skanatati/
Lake Askoti Connector Brook

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bear Mountain Handicap-Accessible Trail

Bear Mountain State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail/Major Welch Trails:
White and red blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 1 mile
Level of Difficulty: Very Easy
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Points of Interest: Perkins Tower and view
Pros: Expellent Views
Cons: Very busy with many people on top.

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

I had torn the meniscus in my knee about two weeks prior to this hike. It was a bucket-handle tear, and it has put me out of commission for a while. I tore it lifting a baby while climbing over a short wall in the park. Right after it happened, I was in a lot of pain and could hardly walk, but after two weeks I can finally do a very short and easy walk.

I used hiking poles and walked very slowly. This allowed me to balance much of my weight on my hands and apply less pressure to my knee. Apparently my condition can only fully improve with arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove the damaged meniscus part.

The reason I chose this trail is because its very easy (was built to be handicap accessible), is short, and has good views. It was just the right length for what I was able to handle.

I parked at the top of Perkins Drive right near the Tower, and took the combined Appalachian/Major Welch trails north along the flat-graded handicapped portion of the trail. At the split of the Appalachian Trail/Major Welch Trails I took the Appalachian Trail a short distance further to the view, where the handicap access portion ends.

I then turned around and took the short connector loop to Major Welch and then back to the Major Welch/Appalachian confluence. This part is a short "lollipop" loop. I then headed back towards the tower and towards my car.
Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mnt Northern Map

View from the North Viewpoint.
Facing North  With the Hudson River in View

The Same View Zoomed in a Bit.
The Lake in the Foreground is Brooks Lake

Sign Indicating Difficulty of the Major Welch Trail

View from the Southern Viewpoint near the Tower.
Facing Southwest.

View from the Southern Viewpoint, Facing South.

View from the Southern, Facing the Notch
Between the Timp and West Mountain.
The Manhattan Skyline is Visible in the Far Distance.

Crowds Along the Southern View

The Official End of the Major Welch Trail.
The Trail Used to Continue Ahead but with the Realignment
they Ended the Trail Here.
They Finally Put a Post Indicating the End of the Trail.