Friday, September 28, 2018

Buttermilk Falls County Park after Rain

Rockland Co.,
West Nyack
New York

Hiking Trails:
Buttermilk Falls Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 0:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 0.9 Miles

Pros: Scenic waterfall and view
Cons: Not a quiet and remote area

It had rained very much this past week, and I had taken off this day to spend time with family visiting from out-of-town, and we ended up at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack. I decided to leave a bit early and do this quick hike which is a five minute drive from the mall.

I parked in the Buttermilk Falls parking area, and took the Buttermilk Falls Trail up to the waterfall, which was flowing very strongly. (This waterfall can be only a trickle during dry seasons, so it's only worthwhile visiting during the wet season or after a large rain.) I continued along the trail afte the waterfall, arriving at the view on top of the ridge, which faces south and west. I then headed back along the same way.

Map of the Route

Sign at the Park Entrance

Buttermilk Falls

Landscape Picture at Buttermilk Falls

Small Cascade above the Main Falls

View above Buttermilk Falls Park, Facing South

The Same View, Zoomed In

View Facing Northwest Towards the Landfill and Solar Panels

View Facing Southwest

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Island Pond Mountain and the Lemon Squeezer

Island Pond Mountain and the Lemon Squeezer
Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Crooked Road: Unblazed
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Appalachian Trail Bypass: Blue blaze
Island Pond Road: Unblazed

Total Time: 1:30 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.3 Miles

Pros: Great scramble and rock formation, nice views, and scenic lake
Cons: Parking can be challenging

Hiking Partners:
Rayzi Friedman
Joseph Friedman

The Island Pond area is one of my favorite areas in Harriman State Park. It's a remote and very scenic area of the park. We parked on Arden Valley Road on a small pull-out near Crooked Valley Road that I am familiar with. (There is official parking available directly by Island Pond if you purchase a key to the area from the State Park office at Lake Tiorati.)

We took Crooked Valley Road, which is an unmarked path that extends from Arden Valley Road to the Appalachian Trail. We then took the Appalachian Trail east, and at the intersection with the A-SB Trail, we went through the Lemon Squeezer and then climbed up Isand Pond Mountain. above the Lemon Squeezer. To the east of the trail there is a beautiful view towards Monroe and Island Pond to the south.

We then climbed back down through the Lemon Squeezer, took the Appalachian Trail towards Island Pond, and cut at one of the paths down to the lake for a nice view of the lake. We then cut back to the Appalachian Trail, took Island Pond Road back to Arden Valley Road, and walked along the side of Arden Valley Road back to our car.

Map of the Route

Approaching the Lemon Squeezer.
Note the People on the Trail in the Distance

Boulder Tunnel at the Entrance to the Lemon Squeezer

Me in the Lemon Squeezer

Rocks of the Lemon Squeezer

Narrow Path inside the Lemon Squeezer

Rock Overhangs in the Lemon Squeezer

Me under a Rock Overhand in the Lemon Squeezer

Steep Trail Ascent near the end of the Lemon Squeezer

View from Island Pond Mountain, Facing Northwest

Me on Island Pond Mountain

Island Pond in the Distance from Island Pond Mountain

Another view of Island Pond from Island Pond Mountain

View from Island Pond Mountain, facing Southwest

Rock Formation Jutting into Island Pond

Me at Island Pond

Island Pon d

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pine Swamp Mine Loop

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Long Path: Green blaze
Dunning Trail: Yellow blaze
Arden Surebridge Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.3 Miles

Pros: Very scenic area of park, historical mines
Cons: Parking can be difficult on nice weekends

I used to hike this area extensively when I was young, and explore the old mines in the area with my father. I had not been to the Pine Swamp Mine in a while and this decided to do this popular route. I parked in the parking area at Lake Skanatati off Seven Lakes Drive, and took the Long Path along the side of the lake and up and down the rolling hills, until its intersection with the Dunning Trail.

I took the Dunning Trail north, taking a small detour up the ridge to the west to see if there was any view there (there wasn't), and then continued along the Dunning Trail to the Pine Swamp Mine. The Pine Swamp mine is actually a series of mines and cuts, with extensive dumps. The largest adit is an impressive cut in the mountainside which can be reached by an unmarked trail up the steep ridge to the left by the dump area, to the northern end of the Pine Swamp which is to the right of the trail. I visited the main adit, though I didn't go inside. I then intersected with the Arden Surebridge Trail, passing additional mine cuts and dumps.

I continued along the Arden Surebridge Trail, and then took the old closed trail route of the former Arden Surebridge Trail to the view at Pine Swamp Mountain, which had been closed off several years ago. The former trail route is discernible by the sticks intentionally placed to cover the old trail. After the view I continued along the old route back to the Arden Surebridge Trail and then down the hill back to parking area.

Map of the Route

Lake Skanatati from the Parking Area

Swamp Grass at Lake Skanatati, with a Canoer in the Lake

Lake Skanatati from the Long Path

Western end of Lake Skanatati

View at the Top of the Hill Beyond the Dunning Trail (Hogencamp Mountain)

Pine Swamp from the Dunning Trail

Pine Swamp Mine, Main Adit

Large Shaft of the Pine Swamp Mine

Another view of the Large Shaft

Mine Wall

Another Shaft of the Pine Swamp Mine

The Closed-Off, Former Path of the Arden-Surebridge Trail to the View

Pine Swamp Mountain View, Overlooking Lake Skanatati & Kanawauke

Monday, September 3, 2018

Beaver Pond Campground and Irish Potato

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 0:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.9 Miles

Pros: End of hike is peaceful
Cons: Busy area of park

I was off for Labor Day, and was very busy doing household chores much of the day. The temperature was unseasonably warm, in the 90's, with high humidity. I decided to do a short hike that wasn't too strenuous. I parked at the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trailhead at the entrance of Harriman on Gate Hill Road, and took it north for a short distance alongside the Minnesceongo Brook. Where the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail veers north, I continued straight along the woods road, which ends up at the Beaver Pond Campground. Although this woods road is on the hiking map, its entrance from the campground and not visible. I walked through the campground area, to the end, and then took the unmarked trail from the campground that connects to the Irish Potato, a very large rock formation along the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail. I then took the Suffern-Bear Mountain down Irish Mountain and back to my car at the trailhead.

Map of the Route

Pond Behind Lake Welch at the Beaver Pond Campground

Walking through Beaver Pond Campground

Deeper into the Beaver Pond Campground

At the Intersection of the Beaver Pond
Campground Trail and Irish Potato Trail

Irish Potato Rock Formation upon Irish Mountain

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Breakneck Pond AMC Loop

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Pond Loop Trail: Green blaze
Cranberry Mountain Trail: Unblazed
Pine Meadow Road: Unblazed

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.1 Miles

Pros: Scenic lake and trail
Cons: No views or scenic vistas

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

The previous week I had hiked around Conklin Mountain, and passed near Breakneck Pond. I wanted to explore the area some more, and take the Cranberry Mountain Trail and connector trail from the AMC Harriman Center. We parked in the parking area at the AMC Harriman Center, and walked to the beginning of the new Pond Loop Trail that goes around the lake, starting at the section on the northern part of the lake. 

We took the trail briefly until the unmarked trail that connects to the Cranberry Mountain Trail. On top of Cranberry Mountain at the top of the hill there are some large water tanks, which apparently supply water to the AMC camping area. We then went down to the Cranberry Mountain, taking that trail to where it ends at Pine Meadow Trail. Both the Cranberry Mountain Trail and Pine Meadow Road are very wide trails.

We took Pine Meadow Road until an unmarked trail which comes out from Pine Meadow Road right past Cranberry Mountain. The trail goes along the ridge of Cranberry Mountain, then goes down and meets up with the Pond Loop Trail. We then took the Pond Loop Trail around the lake, going around the longer route along the southern part of the trail. We then continued back to the AMC Camp and back to our car.

Map of the Route

AMC Pond Loop Trail at the Breakneck Pond Outlet

Small Beach and Boat Launch at Breakneck Pond

Me on a Rock in Breakneck Pond at the Beach

Breakneck Pond by the Outlet

Signage on the AMC Pond Loop Trail

Breakneck Pond, Looking towards the AMC Camp

Rock Peninsula in Breakneck Pond

Water Storage Tanks Atop Conklin Mountain near Breakneck Pond

Shimmy Walking on the Cranberry Mountain Trail

Shimmy on the Unmarked Trail on Cranberry Mountain

Tents along the Rocky Flats Tent Sites Area

Signage at the Rocky Flats Tent Sites

Beaver Damage on the Trees along the AMC Pond Loop Trail 
Breakneck Pond from the Western Side

End of the AMC Pond Loop Trail at the AMC Camp