Sunday, February 28, 2016

K9 Search at Bear Swamp Lake and Ilgenstein Rock

Ramapo Valley County Reservation /
Ringwood State Park
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Shore Trail: Blue blaze
Unnamed Red Trail: Red blaze
Red-Silver Trail: Red & Silver blaze
Hoeferline Memorial Trail: Yellow blaze
Crossover Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 3:00 Hours (including K9 Training)
Estimated Distance: 3.4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended though far to get to

Points of Interest: Scenic lake, nice view, remote area
Cons: Hard to get to under normal circumstances

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg
Sruly Rosenberg

This hike was combined with a training from a Search & Rescue K9 Unit. Jay Schwartz of CommSAR had organized a training with the NJ SAR K9 unit, with 2 dogs in training for sniffing human scent. The training was combined with members of Chaverim, and we hid in the wood off the trail and then waited to see if the dogs could spot us.

We staged at Bear Swamp Road and Route 202 near the Mahwah/Oakland municipal line, and the NJ SAR team opened the gates for us so that we could drive up Bear Swamp Road. We drove up the road, climbing up mountain on the narrow route that at some places is dirt only. We parked by Bear Swamp Lake and did the K9 Training. It was very interesting to see how the dogs are trained and how they work.

The weather was once again extremely warm for this time of year. By the end of the hike, we had shed our jackets for shirt sleeves as it was in the upper 50's.

Once we were up at Bear Swamp Lake, some of us took the opportunity to take a hike to Ilgenstein Rock, which has a very nice view of Bear Swamp Lake and the Ramapo Mountains. We took the Shore Trail around the northern part of Bear Swamp Lake, and then took an unnamed Red Trail up the mountain. (I had thought this was the Hoeferlin Memorial Trail at first as this must be a new trail not yet on my map.)

At the top by the stream, we bushwacked towards the Hoeferline Memorial Trail, and met up with that trail at the Butler Mine. The mine is relatively small and easy to miss. We continued along the trail, joining up with the Crossover Trail, to Ilgenstein Rock, where we took a short break and some pictures. We then headed down the mountain on the Crossover Trail, then continued down on the Cannonball Trail, to its terminus at the southern point of Bear Swamp Lake at the dam. We then took the Shore Trail (which is combined with Bear Swamp Road) back to the cars and met everyone as they were wrapping things up.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails Eastern Map

At the Staging Area

Bear Swamp Road

Dogs in Training

This Dog is a Twin to the One Above

Trained SAR German Shepard

Our Group Posing with the NJ SAR K9 Unit

Dog Retrieving a Hidden Subject

Sruli and Shimmy Maneuvering Over a Swollen Brook

The Butler Mine

View from Ilgenstein Rock Towards Bear Swamp Lake. Facing Northeast.

Zoomed Out from Ilgenstein Rock

From Ilgenstein Rock, Facing Southeast.

Facing Southeast, Zoomed In Towards the Manhattan Skyline

From Ilgenstein Rock, Facing South

Me on Ilgenstein Rock

Me and Sruli Rosenberg, Captured by Photographer Shimmy

Another Perspective of me and Sruli

Zoomed in to the Staging Area Where our Cars were Parked

Bear Swamp Lake at the Outlet, from the Dam

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bonticou Crag Revisited

Bonticou Crag Loop at Mohohk
Mohonk Preserve
Shawangunk Mountains
Ulster Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Cedar Trail: Red blaze
Bonticou Ascent Path: Yellow blaze
Northeast Trail: Blue blaze
Bonticou Path: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 3 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Very difficult
Level of Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Points of Interest: Great views and great scramble
Cons: Entrance Fee

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy & Morty Rosenberg

I had been to Bonticou back in December, and realized back then that I have to make a trip in the future to cover some additional trails in the area. This trip was the one where I covered those other trails. As mentioned in my previous post, Bontincou Crag is an impressive rock cliff with a great scramble through the talus with exceptional views all around.

We parked in the Spring Farm parking area, and headed over to explore the Spring Farm. It looks like there is nothing that goes on here at this farmhouse, but that could be just because it was still winter. We walked up the hill to the gazebo by the million dollar view, where there is a nice plaque explaing the Catskills.

Right after the gazebo, the Cedar Trail can be picked, which crisscrosses together with the bike path in some points. We took the Cedar Trail until the end, going up the rocky ascent at the end of the trail. We then too the Bontincu Ascent Trail , which goes along the thin ridgeline of Bonticou until it reaches the fabulous full rock exposure and view at Bontincu Crag.

We spent some here taking some good pictures, and headed down the steep and difficult Bonticou Ascent path down the mountain. We then took the Northeast Trail, well, southwest until the Bonticou Path. We then took the Bonticou Path back to our cars at the trailhead.

Map of the Route. Shawangunk Trails Mohonk Preserve.

Me and Morty at the Beginning of the Hike

Me at the Million Dollar View Looking Towards the Catskills

Dry Meadow with the Catskill Mountains in the Distance

Information Plaque About the Catskills at the Million Dollar View

Me on the Boardwalk Part of the Cedar Trail

Me Atop Bonticou, Overlooking the Catskills

Me at Bonticou, with Morty Doing a Cartwheel Photobomb

Me Atop the Cliff at Bontincou

Me at the Cliff at Bonticou

Shimmy Sitting on the Rock at Bonticou

Morty on a Ledge at Bonticou

Shimmy Atop the Bonticou Rock

Shimmy & Morty Rosenberg

Shimmy & Morty Descending the Bonticou Ascent Path

Balancing Rock at the Bonticou Cliff

Shimmy Descending Bonticou

View of Person Atop Bonticou from the Bottom

Morty Taking a Run near the End of the Hike

View near the End of the Hike

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pine Swamp Mountain 12 degrees

Harriman State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

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

Total Time: 0:45 Hours
Estimated Distance: 1.1 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Level of Recommendation: Recommended

Points of Interest: Nice view

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This was the coldest day in years. When I woke up and checked the thermometer, it was showing -7 outside. I don't ever recall seeing it that low in recent time. There was also very strong winds making the wind chill in the -20's! Shimmy and I decided to wait until the afternoon to go hiking when it warms up and the wind will die down. By the time we left in the afternoon, it was a balmy 12 degrees, and the winds were diminished. The sun was out strong which helped the mood and atmosphere of the hike.

The trick to going in such weather is to bundle up densely with zero exposure. My clothing included a cotton hat, ski mask, ski goggles, undershirt, fringes, shirt, heavy fleece sweater, heavy down coat, gloves, warming pats inside my gloves, long johns, cotton pants, ski pants, cotton socks, thermal socks, and hiking boots. I felt like an astronaut, but didn't feel cold at all and could have gone like this for several hours. However, due to a busy schedule and the lateness in the hour of the hike, we elected to keep it short. For some reason we didn't meet any fellow hikers out on the trail.

We parked at the parking trailhead at Lake Skanatati, and took the newly routed Arden-Surebridge Trail up along the side of the mountain. We were planning on continuing to the Red Cross Trail to cross the road and continue to the view, but we instead cut it a bit short and went along the old route back to the previous Arden-Surebridge Trail to the Pine Swamp Mountain view. From the view we continued along the old trail route down the mountain back, and veered towards the shore of Lake Skanatati. We then walked along the Long Path for a short period of time back to the car.

Map of the Route
Harriman/Bear Mountain State Parks Northern Map

-7 Degrees in the Morning, with a Low of -8!

At the Beginning of Lake Skanatati

Me Overlooking Lake Askoti

Snowy Scene on Pine Swamp Mountain

Another Snowy Scene

Me Overlooking Lake Skanatati

Me and Shimmy Atop Pine Swamp Mountain

Lake Kanawauke and Lake Skanatati

Lake Skanatati

Lake Kanawauke and Lake Skanatati

Lake Skanatati Shore from the Long Path

Me and Shimmy in our Astronaut Outfits