Sunday, October 25, 2015

West Mountain Loop

Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks
Rockland/Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
1777 Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail: Yellow blaze
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 3:00 hours
Estimated Distance: 5.0 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Good climb and many excellent views
Cons: None

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

West Mountain is one of my favorite hikes in the area. And this hike was during the peak foliage at the end of November, which made for a memorable hike. In the morning it had been raining, and the beginning of the hike was cloudy, but then it cleared up and at the end of the hike became sunny, allowing for the excellent pictures towards the end.

We had originally planned on parking at the lower parking area of Anthony Wayne Rec Area, but the the Oktoberfest was taking place at Anthony Wayne, and it was very busy and there was a fee to park. We decided to save our money and enjoy the peace and quiet and instead parked off of 7 Lakes Drive at the foot of the southern end of Bear Mountain. We took the 1777 Trail combined with the Appalachian Trail, and then split off on the Doodletown Bridle Path to the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail. We took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail south and up the eastern flank of West Mountain, and then met up up with the Timp-Torne Trail. From the Timp-Torne Trail we took a short spur to the Shelter, where there is a great view, and then headed back on the Timp-Torne Trail along the West Mountain Ridge, affording many excellent views along the way. We then split off the Appalachian Trail, and then took that all the way back to hiking trailhead.

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

Along the 1777 Trail 

Bright Red Huckleberries Along the S-BM Trail

Amazing Foliage Colors along the S-BM Trail

View from the Eastern Flank Summit of West Mountain on the S-BM Trail
Looking North Towards Bear Mountain

Shimmy on West Mountain

More Great Foliage Colors

The Timp and Haverstraw Bay from the Timp-Torne Shelter

View from the Timp-Torne Shelter

Me at the Timp-Torne Shelter

Me at the Timp-Torne Shelter at the Above View

Another Interesting Perspective From the Shelter View

Another View from the Timp-Torne Shelter

Shimmy at the Timp Torne Shelter View, with the Timp Behind Him

View along the Ridge on West Mountain
Looking Towards the Southern West Mountain

Another View at the Same Area

West Mountain Approaching the Intersection with the Appalachian Trail

Beautiful Orange Sugar Maple Along on the Trail

Appalachian Trail and Timp-Torne Trail View

View on West Mountain Facing West

View Facing North

View Facing West

Me at the View

Me at the View

Amazing Colors with the Sun Breaking Through

The Same View, Zoomed In

Facing North Towards Bear Mountain

Facing North Torwards Anthony Wayne

Me at the View of Bear Mountain Prior to the Descent on the AT

Facing East Towards the Hudson Gap

View of Bear Mountain to the North

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mt. Ivy Swamp,
Samuel G Fisher Environmental Park

Pomona/Mt. Ivy
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Unnamed Railroad bed Trail: Unblazed

Total Time: 0:40 hours
Estimated Distance: 2.0 miles (roundtrip)
Level of Difficulty: Very easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended for a short and easy walk

Points Of Interest: Wetlands and Foliage
Cons: Confusing parking, same route back

This hike is a flat hike on a two-track abandoned railroad trail trough a wetlands area. It is short and easy, and I had wanted to do a quick hike in the area that wasn't too strenuous and view the foliage. I was here hiking in this same area exactly 2 years ago in 2013 and I did the same exact hike. As last time, I was confused about the parking since there are signs here stating parking here is only for the citizen residents of the nearby building, so to play it safe, I parked on the side of the road opposite the parking area, where my car barely fit. I walked down this flat and straight trail to the other end, where it is near Route 202 at a construction site. Once I got there, I turned around and walked back the same way in the opposite direction.

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

Near the Beginning of the Trail

The Straight and Elevated Path Through the Wetlands

Foliage Along the Way

Looking Through the Swamp Area with the Ramapo Mountains in Background

Foliage on the Return Route

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Surebridge Mountain to Black Rock Mountain

Surebridge Mountain to Black Rock Mountain
Harriman State Park
Orange Co,
New York

Hiking Trails:
White Bar Trail: White blaze
Nurian Trail: White blaze
Dunning Trail: Yellow blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:50 hours
Estimated Distance: 4.0 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Highly scenic, excellent views
Cons: None

Although not yet peak foliage, the trees were still exhibiting beautiful colors. The weather was unseasonably cold for this mid-October Sunday, and was only in the low 40's! I was wearing a sweatshirt and the sun was strong, so for most of the hike I was fine, save for the end which I'll describe later.

I parked on County Route 106 where it goes around the bend at the White Bar Trail Parking area. I took the White Bar Trail north, then continued north on the Nurian at the intersection, and then took that trail to the Dunning Trail. At the Dunning Trail I visited the Boston Mine, which is right off the trail, and then continued along the Dunning Trail. I took this trail to its confluence with the White Bar Trail, and at the trail split I bushwacked up the steep western flank of Surebridge Mountain. Its a rocky climb, but with an amazing view at the top. In my opinion this is one of the best views in the entire Harriman, and its off-trail.

From the top of Surebridge Mountain I headed east along a little-used unofficial path back to the Dunning Trail. At the intersection of the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail, I headed south along the rocky and lichen-studded ridge of Black Rock Mountain. In the distance, I watched as an ominous cloud was approaching ever closer, and finally, along the ridge, the cloud had fully enveloped me. It became very blustery and then started snowing, with odd, thick pellets of crystallized ice balls. I was most uncomfortable being atop the ridge with howling winds, no tree protection, and a cold, strange snow. As fast as the storm was upon us, it disappeared, moving to the east and giving us the same strong sun as was out before.

I continued to the view at Black Rock Mountain before its descent, and took the Nurian Trail down the mountain, back to the White Bar Trail, and then back to the parking area.

Map of the Route.
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Park Northern Trails

The Road by the White Bar Trailhead Parking

Walking Along the White Bar Trail

Approaching the Boston Mine

Inside the Boston Mine

Climbing Up Behind the Boston Mine back to the Dunning Trail

Bushwack Ascent Up Surebridge Mountain

View Approaching the Summit of Surebridge Mountain

View from Surebridge Mountain Summit, Facing Northwest

View from Surebridge Summit, Facing West. Note the Storm Approaching.

Foliage and Lichen on Surebridge Mountain

Another View at Surebridge Mountain

View at Black Rock Mountain, Facing South.
Note the tops of the Skyscrapers Zoomed in the Distance.

View from Back Rock Mountain, Just Prior to the Storm Hitting

Icy Snowflakes Falling on the Ground

The Storm Hits with Icy Snow and Powerful Winds

Snow and Storm on One Side, and Tranquil and Sunny on the Other Side