Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hawk Rock and Scarlet Oak Pond

Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Silver Trail: Silver blaze
Scarlet Oak Pond Path: Unblazed
Halifax Trail: Green Blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.0 Miles
Level of Difficulty: East
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended for a short hike

Points of Interest: Scenic lake and short hike to view
Cons: Way too many people here on weekend

This was another beautiful September day with a bright blue sky. I had a very busy schedule, so had to keep the hike relatively short. This hike features a very scenic lake and short hike to a view, but the problem is that it is insanely busy on weekends, with well over 100 cars in the large parking area.

I parked in the main parking area, and took the path to the Silver Trail, across the Ramapo River bridge. I then took the wide Scarlet Oak Pond Path around the lake in the full loop to the Halifax Trail. I took the Halifax Trail up the somewhat steep ascent to the view at Hawk Rock. Hawk Rock is a large exposed rock with a straight cliff going down, overlooking Scarlet Oak Pond to the south and Ramapo College to the west. I turned around after Hawk Rock and went back down the same trail to the Scarlet Oak Pond Road, and then went a loop around the other way of the lake via the Silver Trail. I then took this route back to my car.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails

Scarlet Oak Pond

Scarlet Oak Pond

The Ramapo River

The Same View as Above Zoomed into a Flock of Mallard Ducks

Ramapo Mountain from Scarlet Oak Pond Road

Scarlet Oak Pond from Hawk Rock. Facing South.

Zoomed in to Scarlet Oak Pond from Hawk Rock

Ramapo College from Hawk Rock and Lake Henry

View from Hawk Rock Facing Northeast

Another View of Ramapo College from Hawk Rock

Scarlet Oak Pond from the Silver Trail, at the End Route of the Hike

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lemon Squeezer and Island Pond Mountain

Harriman State Park
Orange Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Long Path: Green blaze
Arden-Surebridge Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:20 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Cool rock formations, nice view, pretty lake
Cons: Parking can be a bit tricky

Hiking Partner:
Rayzi Friedman

This was a beautiful early autumn day. The weather was very comfortable and the sky bright blue. I love this area of Harriman State Park for its scenic beauty and relative quietness. We parked in a tight spot off the side of Arden Valley Road, and took Crooked Road, an unmarked woods road north of Island Pond, to its intersection at the Appalachian Trail. We continued on the Appalachian Trail to the Lemon Squeezer, a rock formation where you can walk underneath and through a very cool scramble.

The Lemon Squeezer starts the climb from the Appalachian Trail up to Island Pond Pond Mountain. The Appalachian Trail up the mountain doesn't provide a view, but if you take a short bushwack about 100 feet to the left, there is a beautiful view of Island Pond and the mountains beyond. We detoured slightly to this view, and then went back to the Appalachian Trail and then descended the mountain.

At the bottom the trail intersects with the Long Path, with a very unique marker showing distances on each of the paths to distant locations. We then took the Long Path south along the side of the swamp to the A-SB Trail, back the Appalachian Trail. From there we cut across to the north shore of Island Pond to take some pictures, and then headed back up to the Appalachian Trail to the Island Pond Road (this road is open to fisherman who purchased a seasonal gate key to this parking area. We walked down Island Pond Road to Arden Valley Road, and walked along the side of the road back to our car.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mountain Trails, Northern Map

Approaching the Lemon Squeezer

The Appalachian Trail Inside the Lemon Squeezer

The Appalachian Trail Going Through a Crevice at the Lemon Squeezer

Another View of the Lemon Squeezer

Ascending Up Island Pond Mountain by the Lemon Squeezer

View of Island Pond from the View at Island Pond Mountain

Me Atop Island Pond Mountain

View at Island Pond Mountain, Looking Northwest

Intersection of the 2 Most Famous Trails in New York State:
The Appalachian Trail and Long Path

Me at the Intersection of the The Appalachian Trail and Long Path

Island Pond

Another View of Island Pond

And One More View of Island Pond

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Suffern To Kakiat

Harriman State Park/
Kakiat County Park,
Rockland Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail Trail: Yellow blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze
Old Mill Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:10 hours
Estimated Distance: 6.0 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Good views, Off Beaten Path
Cons: Lots of man-made obstructions such as built-up views, power lines, gas lines, etc.

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

The weather had been very hot, and this late summer day in September was probably in the 90's. It had been many years since I hiked along this lonely stretch of trail from Suffern to Kakiat along the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail. We took two cars on this hike. We parked the first one on Chestnut Street in Suffern, about a block from downtown, and we parked the second car in Kakiat.

We walked through Suffern and crossed under the wide Thruway overpass on Route 59. The Suffern-Bear Mountain Trailhead is here. We climbed up the steep climb where there is a great view on top of Suffern and the Manhattan skyline. We continued along the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail along its long and windy route past the power and gas lines which also afforded some views. At the intersection with the Kakiat Trail we headed down all the way to the bottom part of Kakiat Park and took the Old Mill Trail for a very short distance at the end. We then crossed the Mahwah River on the new bridge and found our car in the parking lot.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain Southern Trails Map

View of the Thruway/I-287 Crossover in Suffern

Looking South to the Sheraton Crossroads

View with Suffern in the Foreground and the Manhattan Skyline in the Distance

Me at the View

Beech Tree Showing Early Autumn Foliage Color Change

Leaves from the Above Tree

View of Suffern from the View

Zoom into Suffern and Mahwah.
Note the Manhattan Skyline in the Distance.

View from the Power Lines

The Trail at the Kitchen Stairs Formation

A View at the 2nd Power Lines of Ramapo Torne

View Facing East from the 2nd Power Lines

Grandpa & Grandma Rocks.
I wasn't sure Exactly Which Rocks were the Large Rocks Labelled as Such.
There are Several Rocks in this Rocky Area than may Qualify for this Designation.
I think These Fit the Best Description.