Sunday, November 29, 2015

Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary and Lamont Preserve

Rockleigh Woods Sanctuary and Lamont Preserve
Rockleigh and Alpine
Jersey Palisades
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail: Yellow blaze
Roaring Ravine Trail: Red blaze
Hutechon Trail: Blue blaze
Lamont Rock Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:00 Hours
Estimated Distance: 3.5 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Quiet scenic area with a nice network of trails
Cons: View is disappointing

This was another very nice late fall day with great weather. I had never been to this area and wanted to explore the network of trails. The area is a scenic, wooded area in the northeastern corner of New Jersey, less than a mile from the New York state line. The area is on the foot and slope of the western side of the Palisades cliffs.

I had to drive up and down Rockleigh Road a several towns until I realized where to park. Parking is behind Rockleigh borough hall, which looks like an old restored house, thus making it hard to find. I parked and took the Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail to the pond, walked around it, and then continued back on the trail until the brook, and right before crossing it, took the Roaring Ravine trail along the side of the gully up the mountain to the Hutechon Trail.

I then took the Hutcheon Trail to the Lamont Rock Trail, where it climbs up to the view and then right after to Lamont Rock. I encountered a few mountain bikers here along the trail (biking is allowed here.) The view was facing north towards Piermont and Nyack, but was quite obstructed by trees. Lamont Rock which is right nearby is a large interesting rock that pops out from the bedrock it is sitting on.

I then continued down the mountain on the Lamont Rock Trail, past the cisterns and rock piles, and then took the same trail back up the mountain (this trail is a loop) to the Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail, which in then took west down the mountain. I then continued on the Hutechon Trail to its terminus, then tookl the Sneden-Haring-Lamont Trail for a short distance before cutting across back to the small pond to take some pictures as the original pictures I had taken were not written to my card. I then took the unmarked path back towards Rockleigh Road, which I took back to the parking lot behind the borough hall.

I had accidentally forgotten my SD card from my camera inside my computer. I had taken several excellent pictures when I finally noticed this. I was stuck taking the rest of the pictures from my cell phone camera. I had actually only noticed this well into the hike, about 1000 feet past the view. I actually went back again to that spot to take a few more photos, and retraced some other spots to take some new photos.

Map of the Route

Beginning of the Hike. This is the Route into the Preserve

Sneden Ice Pond with Late Season Foliage

Another View of the Above Zoomed Out

Another View of Sneden Ice Pond

From the View Facing North to Hook Mountain and Piermont

View Facing West

Lamont Rock

Me Atop Lamont Rock

Another View of Lamont Rock

Rock Formations Along the Trail

More of the Above View

Cistern Along the Trail

Confluence of Several Trails

Jacob Concklin House, an Historic House Built about 1796

Rockleigh Borough Hall. The Trails Start Behind Here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bear Mountain New AT Trail Southern Section

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland/Orange Cos.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
1777 Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Appalachian Trail Spur: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:30
Estimated Distance: 2.6 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Excellent View and Bushwack
Cons: Parking can be tight

Hiking Partner:
Jacob Baldinger

Last week I had attempted to hike the new section of the Appalachian Trail but ended up going to the wrong area. Now after researching the correct area, I went out to hike on the new trail.

We parked in the trailhead parking area off of 7 Lakes Drive, between Bear Mountain and West Mountain. We took the 1777 Trail for a short distance to the Appalachian Trail, crossed the road, and then found the new trail right after crossing the road. The old trail was heavily eroded, and this new trail goes the west of this trail and has hewn steps built for lasting through erosion. Its not a very extensive reroute - its only about 1000 feet or so in length. The new trail meets up with the original trail at the lower view of Bear Mountain from the southern extension of the mountain, and then continues along the original trail path.

After the trail crosses over Perkins Drive, we decided to bushwack up this very steep and rocky part of the mountain. Many years ago the Appalachian Trail took this route up, and this can be seen on some very old maps. We actually found (or at least think we found) the old route, which looked very overgrown and sparsely used over the years. We met up with the Appalachian Trail again at the large rock face where the Appalachian Trail meets the Appalachian Trail Spur. This spur is actually a short dead end of the original Major Welch Trail that formerly went along this route.

We took the spur trail to the end, took some photos, and then turned around and went back to the Appalachian Trail and then took the Appalachian Trail down going in an easterly direction to the old road bed that the trail follows, and then continued the rest of the way back down along the Appalachian Trail. Upon hitting 7 Lakes Drive, we just took the road back straight from there to our car.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mnt Trails Northern Map

Jacob Along the New Part of the Appalachian Trail

View by the Large Rock Where the Old AT Trail Meets the Present One

View of Dunderberg and the Timp from Bear Mountain

View of West Mountain from Bear Mountain

View of Queensboro Lake

Zoomed out the Queensboro Lake

Green Pine Trees Break the Monotone

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bear Mountain AT/Major Welch Loop

Bear Mountain State Park
Rockland/Orange Cos.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Major Welch Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:30 hours
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Highly scenic area
Cons: very busy area

This was another nice November day, and although slightly brisk as well, for much of the hike I was wearing short sleeves without a jacket. Only once the sun was on the other side of the mountain did I need to put my coat back on. Due to an event that I had earlier in day, I started the hike later in the day and arrived down at the end of daylight.

I had heard from someone who read in the newspaper that the new Appalachian Trail at Bear Mountain had been opened. The trail conference has been working on the last stretch of the new Appalachian Trail from the dead of at the end of Perkins Memorial Drive to the mountain summit. The construction has been going on for some time and I presumed this was the stretch of the hiking trail that had been opened. Unbeknownst to my knowledge, it had been the part of the Appalachian on the southern approach that had been rerouted with a new trail, and this part that I went on had indeed not yet been completed.

Being a nice Sunday in the fall, the main parking area was full when I arrived, so I was routed to the parking at the ice skating rink. I walked along the side of the rink on the large grassy field towards Hessian Lake. I stopped to take some pictures at the lake, and then proceeded to climb up Bear mountain on its eastern approach on the Appalachian Trail.

This part of the trail is steep, but is entirely rebuilt with stone steps. It is one of the busiest hiking trails in the area, if not the busiest. There is a constant flow of people on this trail coming both up and down. I took the trail up to the view of Iona Island and Peekskill, past the small waterfall immediately after the view, and the hit the dead end of Perkins Drive.

This is the part where the new trail is being rebuilt. I noticed the under construction fence was still there by the new trail, but it was pushed down, and a jogging couple was coming down it. I also noticed that the trail markers were still showing the old route along Perkins Drive, and not up the new path part. This left me very confused, so I continued along the new unfinished trail thinking it was opened but not fully marked yet. However, the lack of additional people here soon led me to the conclusion that indeed I had been mistaken and this part of the trail was not the part that had been opened. At about 3/4 the way along this new unfinished trail, I noticed the well-groomed trail just ended abruptly. I continued along bushwacking from here to the short distance to the summit.

At the summit, which was full of people, I took a short brake in the tower, and then continued along the Appalachian Trail to the Major Welch Trail. I took the Major Welch Trail down its steep and rocky northern descent. Over here I found a new part of the trail from a recent rerouting of the Major Welch trail. From there I continued on the path until it reached Hessian Lake, and I went around the lake on the eastern side before heading back over to the field and ice skating rink where I had parked the car.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mnt Northern Map

Hessian Lake, from the Southern Side

The First View While Ascending the AT
Iona Island, The Hudson River, and Peekskill are in the Background

Me at the First View

Small Waterfall right after the View on the AT

Sign Saying the New Trail Isn't Opened Yet, with the Fence Pushed Down

Part of the New AT

View Along the Ridge Looking Towards Peekskill

View Near the Summit Facing South, Toward West Mountain & The Timp

Nice New Steps Just Built

View from the Summit Facing South

View from the Summit West

View Facing North on the Descent on the Major Welch

View Facing East Towards The Bear Mountain Bridge from the Major Welch

The Same View Zooomed In

Continuing the Descent on the Northern Front

Zoomed Out Viewing the Hudson River, Anthony's Nose,
& the Bear Mountain Bridge

Hill Near Popolopen With some Late-Season Foliage

Descending Along the Large Rocks on the AT

Sign Showing the Re-routed Major Welch Trail

Sign at the Major Welch Trail

Hessian Lake and Anthony's Nose

Interesting Picture in Hessian Lake, with Leaves in the Water,
and Scenery Reflected in the Lake Upside Down

Hessian Lake, Facing South near Sunset

Hessian Lake, Facing North

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ramapo Torne

Harriman State Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze
7 Hills Trail: Blue blaze
Hillburn-Torne-Sebago (HTS) Trail: Orange blaze
Reeves Brook Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:20 hours
Estimated Distance: 4.7 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Peaceful quiet walk, Good scramble, and excellent view
Cons: Area view is very built up

Hiking Partners:
David Koegel
Debbie Koegel
Shimmy Rosenberg

This was a beautiful November day, with a bright sky though slightly brisk. Most of the foliage was gone, though there was still a little remaining. We parked in the Reeves Meadow Visitors Center along Seven Lakes Drive near Sloatsburg, and took the Pine Meadow Trail south for a short distance to the 7 Hills Trail. We took the 7 Hills Trail for some time until past the intersection with the HTS Trail. We then took the HTS trail which it abruptly climbs to the scramble at Ramapo Torne. There is a lower view and then an upper view right above. This area has a great view from multiple angles.

We then continued down past the view, to the 7 Hills Trail, which we took back down the mountain back to the intersection we were at before. We went back on the 7 Hills Trail, and then cut across on an unmarked path to the Reeves Brook Trail, which we took to end of the trail at the trailhead.

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

At the Lower View

At the Lower View, Facing North

Facing South from the Lower View

Looking South Towards Suffern

Looking West

The Short Scramble from the Lower to Upper Viewpoint

View of the Closed Landfill in Torne Valley from the Upper View

View of the Manhattan Skyline in the Hazy Distance

View of the Landfill and Nordkop Mountain

Me atop Ramapo Torne

Looking North from Ramapo Torne

Debbie Overlooking Torne Valley

Me and Debbie at the Ramapo Torne View