Sunday, November 30, 2014

Oregon Ridge Park

Baltimore Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Ridge Trail: Tan blaze
Red Trail: Red blaze
Laurel Trail: Blue blaze

Total time: 1:00 min
Estimated Distance: 1.6 miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended in the Baltimore Area
Points of Interest: Nature Center, Natural Area

Google Map of Parking:

I was in Baltimore visiting family for the weekend, and we stuck around Sunday morning and went to this park that has some hiking trails. While not dramatic, this wooded area close in proximity to Baltimore is very refreshing and was a very good place for a family hike. There are several trails and some hills and valleys which are relatively large for the Baltimore area. We parked at the Nature Center entrance and explored the Nature Center, which explains some of the wildlife in area with several animal species (think of it as a mini, two room indoor zoo.)

We then took the Loggers Red Trail, to the Ridge Tan Trail, back to to the Loggers Red Trail, and then climbed down the hill via the Laurel Blue Trail. At the bottom we explored the farm area, which has some domestic animals, as well as the playground and gardens.

The weather was very warm and may have even gotten up to 60 degrees. There were still small but melting pockets of snow in some of the shady areas on the top remaining from Wednesday's snowstorm.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Snowstorm New A-SB Trail

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Arden Surebridge (A-SB) Trail: Red blaze
Red Cross Trail: Red blaze

Total time: 0:35 min
Estimated Distance: 1.2 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Slightly recommended
Points of Interest: Lake Askoti
Pros: Was a great hike in the snow
Cons: End of hike requires long walk on the road

Google Map of Parking:

View 2014 Hiking Locations in a larger map

We had just gotten several inches of snow the day before, and I hear just a few more miles north in the mountains there had been a significant amount of snow. Thanksgiving is pretty early for a snowstorm, so this was quite unusual. But there was definitely a lot of snow, in the form of a thick, wet snow that seemed to stick to everything. It was quite beautiful and a scene to behold. Luckily I was off from work and able to explore in the morning, being that it was Thanksgiving. Although the storm had pulled out the night before, there was still some light residual snow falling throughout the morning including during this hike, making it a surreal experience.

I parked at the parking lot down by Lake Skanatati, and had planned on taking the A-SB Trail up the mountain to the view. Due to my limited time, I had intended to make the hike short and complete it at the view atop Pine Swamp Mountain, and then head back down the same route.

However, upon ascending the mountain, I noticed the trail being routed with a new route going towards the east. Now I noticed that the trail crews had been working in the area recently and refurbishing the trail. Now I figured that this was a work around the short rocky scramble. However, I was surprised to find the trail continuing along parallel to the road and not turning back west to the view!

I continued along the new trail, not sure as to its destination, until I noticed it finally merging with the original trail as it made the turn descending to the Pine Swamp. This seems odd to me as it would be seemingly eliminating a very important part of the trail which includes an excellent view! Perhaps the Red Cross Trail has been routed back to the view, though I'll have to further explore to know forsure. It was hard to tell exactly what was going on as well due to the snow covering the ground with no prior foot marks on the trail.

Once I approached near the original trail, I turned around and then bushwacked down towards the valley towards the Red Cross Trail as it descended towards the 7 Lakes Drive. I took the Red Cross Trail to the road, and then headed south along the road, along the side of Lake Askoti, all the way back to the parking lot. The road was eerily quiet; only one car had passed me during the entire walk along the road. I have to return to further explore what is going on here and how the rerouting of the trails has been done.

Map of the Route

Lake Skanatati at the Beginning of the Hike

Another View of Lake Skanatati

Dense Heavy Snow At the Trailhead

At the Beginning of the A-SB Trail

Beech Trees with Withering Foliage and Heavy Wet Snow

7 Lakes Drive. Sign Says "Icy When Wet"

Lake Askoti Behind the Trees

Lake Askoti

Lake Askoti. Note the Little Snow Man in the Middle

Zoom in to the Little Snowman

Lake Askoti

Lake Askoti

7 Lakes Drive and Lake Askoti

Lake Askoti

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Kakiat First-Season Snowstorm

Kakiat County Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Old Mill Trail: Blue blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze

This was the first snowfall in the season, and was very early. This was the day before Thanksgiving, and we got around 5 inches from this storm. I decided at the end of the day to do a quick loop in Kakiat Park around the Old Mill Trail. I arrived at Kakiat about half an hour to sunset, and started walking. It was a bit windy and the snow was very wet and heavy, and I saw lots of branches sagging. This gave me an uneasy feeling with the trees after I saw some large branches coming down, and I cut the walk short and just took the first part of the Old Mill Trail to the connector trail, back to the Kakiat Trail to the end.

The Mahwah River at the Entrance to Kakiat

Large Field with Gazebo

Looking Back Towards the Bridge Crossing the Mahwah River

View From Underneath the Gazebo

The Bridge Over the Mahwah River

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Black Rock Mnt and Hogencamp Mine

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail: Red blaze
Nurian Trail: Yellow blaze

Total time: 2:45
Estimated Distance: 4.7 miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly recommended
Points of Interest: Black Rock Mountain, Hogencamp Mine
Pros: Good climb, excellent views and rock formations, historic mine
Cons: End of hike requires long walk on the road

Hiking Partner: Eli Koegel

Google Map of Parking:

This was a beautiful late fall day with temperatures warmer than usual. This particular hike is one of my favorite areas in Harriman State Park, with zones of giant rocks and stunted trees. We parked at the trailhead past the Little Long Pond on Lake Kanawauke Rd by the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. We took the R-D Trail north up the climb to the Black Rock Mountain view. We continued along the ridge where excellent views abound and large and interesting rocks are all over the place.

We header east along the Nurian Trail towards the Hogencamp Mine, past the “Bowling Rocks” and upon reaching the Hogencamp Mine, we explored some of the upper mine workings. We then looped around the Hogencamp Swamp, and took an old woods road on the other side of the swamp back towards the road. This path has been mostly obliterated by Hurricane Sandy and is difficult to follow. Upon meeting up with the road, we walked along the side of the road on the side of Little Long Pond back to our car.

My camera was unfortunately on the wrong color setting, and most of the photos that I took have their color off. I tried fixing them in Photoshop as best as I could, but it still isn’t great.

Map of the Route. Harriman/Bear Mnt State Park Northern Map

Atop the First View at Black Rock Mountain. Facing Southwest.

Anothe View at the First View at Black Rock Mountain. Facing Southwest.

Atop the First View at Black Rock Mountain. Facing East.

Me at the First View

View at Black Rock

View at Black Rock Facing North

Boy Scout Troops at Black Rock

Me near the Rocky Summit of Black Rock Mountain

At the  Summit of Black Rock Mountain

At the  Summit of Black Rock Mountain. Facing North/Northwest Towards Monroe.

View with Srulli At the  Summit of Black Rock Mountain.

Beautiful Colors Along the Nurian Trail

More Nice Colors along the Nurian Trail

"Bowling Rocks" Formation on the Nurian Trail

Icicles in the Hogencamp Mine

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lake Wanoksink And Pine Meadow Lake

Harriman State Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
7 Hills Trail: Black blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.5 miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended
Points Of Interest: Lake Wanoksink, Pine Meadow Lake, and Diamond Mountain
Pros: Excellent lake scenery, nice views
Cons: Lots of man-made structures around Pine Meadow Lake

Google Map of Parking:

This was a bitterly cold Sunday for November. There was actually 2 inches of snow on the higher terrain from the rain storm on Friday that ended as snow in the mountains. I parked at the Lake Sebago parking area, took the 7 Hills Trails up and over Conklin Mountain, and then headed on the unmarked path towards Lake Wanoksink. I took the small trail that goes along the southern shore of the lake, and from there took the connector trail to Pine Meadow Lake. At Pine Meadow Lake I headed east, past the ruin and along the shore of the Lake, until I reached the Conklin's Crossing Path.

At that point, I turned around along the same way I just came from on the Pine Meadow Trail, but then continued along the northern portion of the lake all the way to the dam area. I continued along the Pine Meadow Trail, and then took the western spur of the Diamond Tower Mountain Trail up Diamond Mountain. It ends at the intersection of the 7 Hills Trail, where there is a great view. I continued along the 7 Hills Trail all the way back to the trailhead.

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

Lake Sebago from the Trailhead/Boat Launch.

New Sign at the Beginning of the 7 Hills Trail

Snow Becoming More Apparent as we Climb

Lake Wanoksink

Lake Wanoksink

Nice Evergreen Colors Near Lake Wanoksink

Lake Wanoksink

The "Ruin" on the Pine Meadow Trail by Pine Meadow Lake

Picturesque Scene Along Pine Meadow Lake

Picturesque Scene Along Pine Meadow Lake

Pine Meadow Lake

Pine Meadow Lake

View of Pine Meadow Lake from the Diamond Tower Mountain Trail

View from the 7 Hills Trail atop Diamond Mountain

View from the 7 Hills Trail atop Diamond Mountain

Snow Atop Diamond Mountain

View of Lake Sebago from Diamond Mountain