Sunday, June 2, 2019

Doris Duke Area Sterling Forest

Sterling Forest State Park
Orange Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Doris Duke Loop Trail: Yellow blaze
Highlands Trail: Blue blaze
Allis Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Very quiet and scenic area
Cons: None

The weather had been hotter than usual. This was finally a break from all the rain, and I appreciated the sun and blue sky. I parked at the Doris Duke trailhead on Benjamin Meadow Road, right near the Tuxedo Ridge ski area. The Doris Duke Trail is a loop trail that is a 3.9 circular loop.

There is a view near the top facing south. After the view, the trail meets with the combined Allis and Highland trail, and goes concurrently with those trails until another view. The trail then descends, makes a sharp turn, and then continues descending down the mountain. The trail then goes alongside a remote swamp that is fully of lily pads and bullfrogs. I continued along the trail until the end of the loop, and then the short distance back to my car. I was surprised how quiet the hike was, and there was only one other car in the trailhead parking area upon my return, despite it being a beautiful Sunday.

Map of the Route

Start of the Doris Duke Trail

Doris Duke Loop Trail Split Near the Start of the Hike

Approaching the First View

From the View, Facing South

Another Angle of the View

Me at the Above View

View Into Harriman State Park

View Facing East

View Facing South

Concurrency of Three Trails: Doris Duke, Allis, and Highlands Trail

View from the Top of the Sterling Mountain Facing Towards Schunnemunk

Another View Facing North Towards Schunnemunk

Train Intersection of Allis/Highlands and Doris Duke Trail at Sterling Mnt.

View Facing Northeast Towards Lake Mombasha and Storm King

Another View Facing Northeast, Zoomed Out

View Facing East from Sterling Mountain

Swamp at the Bottom of the Mountain

Another View of the Swamp

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Cat Rocks and Eastern Pinnacles Bellvale Mountain

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area
Orange Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail (AT): White blaze
Appalachian Trail Spur: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.9 Miles

Pros: Interesting rock formations and excellent views
Cons: None

Hiking Partner:
Shimmy Rosenberg

This was a two car hike. We parked the first car on Route 17A, on top of Mount Peter, at the AT trailhead. We then drove to Lakes Road, at the AT trailhead at Fitzgerald Falls. We took the AT west, climbing up the mountain. The scenery was much less dramatic then anticipated, until we finally reach the Cat Rocks. This is a large rock formation protruding out of the surrounding terrain, with jagged edges, deep cracks, and a steep cliffs on both sides.

After the Cat Rocks, the trail went back into the wood until the next rock exposure, a formation know as "Eastern Pinnacles." The trail goes steeply up the rock formation leading to an amazing view. The trail then goes down rock formation, back into the woods, and is unremarkable. Where the AT hits the road near the parking area, we took a slight detour on the spur trail to the Hawk Watch platform, and then back on that trail and back to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Ascending Cat Rocks. Note the Blue-Blazed Spur Trail Marker

Me at Cat Rocks

Cat Rocks Panorama

Cliff Face and Rock Talus on Cat Rocks

Shimmy at Cat Rocks

Descending the Cat Rocks

Eastern Pinnacles

Me at Eastern Pinnacles, Facing North

Me at Eastern Pinnacles, Facing South

Eastern Pinnacles View

Rock Face on Eastern Pinnacles

Eastern Pinnacles Amazing View

Continuing our Ascent up Eastern Pinnacles

Shimmy Atop Eastern Pinnacles

MeAtop Eastern Pinnacles

Hawk Watch Platform on Mt. Peter

View from the Hawk Watch Platform on Mt. Peter

Another View of the Hawk Watch Platform on Mt. Peter

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Appalachian Trail at Buchanan Mountain, Sterling Forest

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area and Sterling Forest State Park
Orange Co.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.3 Miles

Pros: Good views, scenic and quiet area, good scrambles
Cons: No other trails in the area, no loop possibility

This was the first Sunday in a while without rain, and it was sunny and warm. I am trying to complete all sections of the Appalachian Trail in my region, and this was helping me complete this segment in the Sterling Forest area.

I parked on East Mombasha Road, near Little Dam Lake, and took the Appalachian Trail up the mountain, where there is somewhat of a view on the top, and then the trail descends very steeply on a rocky scramble before climbing again to the next view. This hike is a constant up and down and contains several scrambles. The next view is a much better view. After the view, I continued down the mountain, parallel to a steep rocky cliff wall. I continued along the trail to Lakes Road, and crossed the road, where the trail goes over a boardwalk. I then turned around and went back the same way that I came.

Map of the Route

National Park Service Boundary and AT Marker at the Beginning of the Hike

View after the First Climb

Steep Descent after the First Vista

AT Steep Rocky Scramble Descent

Approaching the Main View on Buchanan Mountain

Buchanan Mountain View, Facing South

View of Tuxedo Ridge Ski Area to the South

Me at the Buchanan Mountain View

View Facing Southeast

Leaving the View at Buchanan Mountain

"Pink Ladies Slipper" on the Top of the Mountain
(Thanks Mordy Neuman for the identification.)

Boardwalk at the End of the Hike where I Turned Around

Trail Scrambling Through the Rocky Area

At the Top View Near the End of the Hike after the Scramble Up

Nice Purple Flowers on the Trail

Me at the Trailhead