Thursday, June 29, 2017

Kakiat Evening Hike

Kakiat County Park
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Mountain Trail: Orange blaze
Kakiat Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 0:50 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.65 Miles

Pros: Good climb and good view for a short hike
Cons: None

The weather had been really nice all week, and after I finished work I decided to do a quick hike up Kakiat. I parked in the parking lot, crossed the Mahwah River bridge, and took the Mountain Trail up to the first viewpoint. At the viewpoint I bushwacked northeast towards the Kakiat Trail, meeting it near the gas line. I took the Kakiat Trail down all the way back to the parking lot.

Map of the Route. Harrian State Park Map

View from the Lower Viewpoint

View Looking South

Dusk is Approaching. The Manhattan Skyline is in the Distance.

The Sun Dipping Behind the Horizon Behind the Clouds

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Storm King Mountain Sunset Hike

Storm King State Park
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Stillman Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 0:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 0.7 Miles

Pros: Highly scenic area, good scramble
Cons: None

I had a wedding to attend in Anthony's Pier 9 in New Windsor. In order to get there, I drove up Route 9W up Storm King Highway, past Storm King Mountain. Knowing I would be taking this route prior to sunset, I planned on doing a short hike up butter hill on the way to catch a sunset, and then quickly change into my dress clothes for the wedding.

I parked at the main parking area off Route 9W where the Stillman Trail starts, and took the short but intense trail up Butter Hill to the view. I observed an incredible sunset at this point with the clouds in a fantastic array with the small rainstorm in the distance. I turned around at this point as darkness was approaching, and took the same way back along the Stillman Trail back to my car.

Map of the Route. Hudson Highlands Eastern Section.

Looking East Towards the Hudson River and Bull Hill

Looking Across the Hudson to Bull Hill Quarry and Cold Spring

Route 9W and North Point

Cloud with Rain Over Schunnemunk Mountain

Sunset over Storm King

Sunset Over Storm King

Sunset Over Storm King

Sunset Over Storm King

Last Light of the Day over North Hill and Crow's Nest

Sunset over Storm KIng

Looking Towards Black Rock Forest

Sun Going Down

Sundown Over Storm KIng

Storm Cloud Dissipating

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Arden Point and Glenclyffe

Hudson Highland State Park/
Glenclyffe Open Space Institute,
Putnam Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Blue Trail: Blue blaze
Red Trail: Red blaze
Marcia's Mile Trail: White blaze
Red Trail (Glenclyffe OSI): Red blaze

Total Time: 2:25 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.4 Miles

Pros: Scenic river views
Cons: Noise from train, near busy road at end

This was a very hot and humid day, with a very unsettled atmosphere and the threat of thunderstorms popping up. I was worried about getting stuck in a store, but in the end it stayed dry and sunny, although it was very hazy. There is a small network of trails in this area, and I decided to cover all of them during this hike.

I parked at the Garrison Train Station of the Metro North line, right near the Hudson River. Parking is free on weekends and holidays, but it costs to park here during the week, so keep this in mind if you are planning on visiting this area. I took the Blue Trail at its beginning right behind the northeast corner of the train parking area. Right at the beginning are some abandoned buildings, and after those when the trail crosses a brook, there is a short spur to a small seasonal waterfall.

This trail goes parallel to the railroad tracks, and this is a busy line with commuter trains running in both directions quite frequently. I continued along the Blue Trail in a southward direction, to where it crosses the railroad on a bridge. The trail loops along back north, ending prior to a rock promenade that juts into the Hudson River known as Arden Point. There are excellent views to the north of West Point, across the river, and Bull Hill and Storm King to the north.

I then took the Red Trail at this point where it goes parallel to the Blue Trail, also passing a nice river view along the way, and then another view facing south. I then crossed the same bridge and took the Marcia's Mile Trail to the Red Trail. This trail passes some sort of large church or monastery with beautifully cultured grounds, and then turns around and goes through a thick bamboo forest along the side of two ponds. The bamboo forest is definitely unique and made me feel like I was in Asia. The trail then climbed up the hill into a large open meadow along the site of Route 9D, and I walked parallel to the side of the road on the trail. The trail is hard to follow here, but the rows of trees parallel to Route 9D have trail blazes that can be followed until a driveway, where the Marcia's Mile Trail ends and the Red Trail starts. Marcia's Mile goes back to the forest, passing an abandoned structure and a pond in the woods filled with goldfish. I continued along to the end of the trail at the Blue Trail, and then the Blue Trail back to my car.

Map of the Route.
Hudson Highlands Map

Garrison Train Station, and Trailhead

Beginning of the Trail

Abandoned Structure near the Beginning of the Trail

Small Seasonal Waterfall

Approaching Arden Point

West Point and Mt. Taurus in the Background

Hudson Riven and Mt. Taurus

Hudson River at Arden Point, and Storm King

Cliffs and Ship Across the Hudson River at Highlands Falls

Southern Part of Arden Point

Random Gazebo Along the Red Trail

Church or Monastery Along the Trail

Red Trail Along the Grounds of the Above Facility

Large Barge Ascending the Hudson River

Hudson River Facing North

Another View of the Barge

View of Sugarloaf Hill from the Promenade Deck Below

Promenade Deck at the Bend of the Red Trail

Info Kiosk in the Bamboo Forest

Small Pond

Large Field at Garrison

Castle on Hill South of Sugar Hill

Marcia's Mile Path Sign

Abandoned Structure in the Forest

Rat Snake above the Train Bridge

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Blue Mine and Roomy Mine Loop Hike

Norvin Green State Forest,
Passaic Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Highland Trail: Aqua blaze
Wyanokie Circular Trail: Red blaze
Roomy Mine Trail: Orange blaze
Mine Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 3:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.5 Miles

Pros: Historic mines, nice scenery and views
Cons: None

This was a very hot day, perhaps the hottest of the year so far. The sun was out strong, but at least much of the hike was in the shade. I had intended to climb Wyanokie High Point, but due to the high temperatures and the open exposure at Wyanokie High Point, I opted for the circular hike instead.

I parked on Towsend Road, at the Highlands Trail trailhead, and ascending up the mountain, past a burt out zone from a recent forest fire (presumably from last summer or fall.) I then continued to the Blue Mine, an old iron mine similar to the many old mines in the Highlands region and Ramapos. I then took the Mine Trail, to the Roomy Mine Trail and went past the small waterfalls over here.

I then took the Roomy Mine Trail down back to the Blue Mine, and turned around and took the Roomy Mine Trail to the Roomy Mine. I explored this old mine, which is definitely impressive, with a large window-like structure and deep interior which you can climb into.

I continued along the Roomy Trail afterwards west towards the view, and then took the other side of the Roomy Trail back around the top of the ridge above the mine, looping around the mine once more and passing by two more views along the way. I then cut across back up the mine path, and took the Mine Trail back to the Highlands Trail, and then back to my car.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails.

Burnt Zone from the Forest Fire along the Highlands Trail

Another Burnt Zone from the Forest Fire

Turkey Vulture Resting Above a Dead Tree

Blue Mine

Me in front of the Blue Mine 
Abandoned Stone Home along the Trail

Budding Flowee

Accumulation of Three Trails along with Mountain Laurels

Toad. (I have never seen as many toads as on this hike!)

Waterfall along the Blue Mine Brook

Another Shot of the Waterfall

Very Large Black Rat Snake I Encountered on the Mine Trail 
Sign Stating Mine Closed in Winter to Protect the Bats

Roomy Mine

Roomy Mine Including "Window"

Inside the Roomy Mine

Descending into the Roomy Mine Pit

Looking out the Window of the Roomy Mine

Looking up from the Roomy Mine

Eastern View from the Roomy Mine Trail

Another Shot from the View

View Towards Wyanokie High Point

Another View of Wyanokie High Point, from the Second View

Another View from the Second View, Above the Roomy Mine

Approaching the Third View

Wanaque Reservoir from the Third View