Thursday, November 28, 2019

Ramapo Reservation Thanksgiving Hike

Ramapo Valley County Reservation
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Vista Loop Trail: Yellow blaze
River Trail: Orange/Green blaze

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

Points of Interest: Scenic lakes, waterfall, and good views
Cons: Area is very busy, especially at the beginning of the hike

Hiking Partner:
Aaron Parnes

The past Sunday was raining all day, so was happy to be off on Thanksgiving to do a hike. We parked at the Ramapo Reservation parking lot, and took the the Vista Loop Trail on the side of Scarlet Oak Pond, and then climbed the mountain to Hawk Rock and Cactus View, offering excellent views of Ramapo College and the Manhattan skyline in the distance.

We continued along the Vista Loop to the Ridge Overlook, and then down to the Macmillan Reservoir. We then took the trail alongside the waterfall, which was flowing strong, to the River Trail and then back to our car.

Map of the Route

View of Ramapo College from Hawk Rock

View from Hawk Rock Facing East

Aaron Parnes at Hawk Rock

Me at Hawk Rock

Scarlet Oak Pond in the Distance 
Manhattan Skyline from Cactus Ledge

Scarlet Oak Pond from Cactus Ledge

Me at Cactus Ledge

Me and Aaron Parnes at Cactus Ledge

View along the Vista Loop

Another View of the Manhattan Skyline

Me at the View

Aaron at the View

Oak Pond Reservoir

Waterfall along the Vista Loop

Brand New Bridge right after the Waterfall on the Vista Loop Trail

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Hudson Highlands Gateway Park

Westchester Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Red Trail: Red blaze
Blue Trail: Blue blaze
White Trail: White blaze
Yellow Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 2:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.7 Miles

Pros: Very little foot traffic
Cons: Loud road at beginning of hike, views aren't that great

Hudson Highlands Gateway Park is a relatively small area at the northern end of Westchester County, bordering Putnam County, directly north of Peekskill. There are several well-maintained marked trails in the area. There are several views, but they aren't that great.

This area was very quiet despite it being a Sunday. I did not see a single person on the entire hike. I started at the western parking area, which starts at a small pond. I took the Red Trail to the Blue Trail, going alongside a stream but also on the side of the busy road which was very loud with car traffic. I then took the White Trail to the northern end of the park, and then continued along the trail as it looped back down south and connected to the newly extended Yellow Trail

I took the Yellow Trail to the overlook, and then descended, and then went to the next overlook, which faces south over the Hudson River. I then continued and took the Blue Trail and back to the Red Trail back to my car.

Map of the Route

Trailhead at the Beginning of the Hike

Nice Sign at the Park Entrance

Map of new Hiking Routes at the Beginning of the Hike

Small Pond at the Beginning of the Hike

Another View of the Pond

Scene at the White Trail

New Route of the Yellow Route, with Explanatory Signage

View at the First Route

Pine Trees at the First View

Late Season Foliage at the First View

View of the Large Gravel Pit through the Trees

Approaching the Second View

View of the Second View, Facing South Towards the Hudson River

Me at the Second View

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Parker Cabin & Black Ash Mnt

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Victory Trail: Blue blaze
Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail: Red blaze
Triangle Trail: Yellow blaze
Victory Trail: Blue blaze
White Bar Trail: White blaze
White Cross Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.9 Miles

Pros: Great views and quiet area
Cons: None

This hike goes through a very scenic area of Harriman, with great views, and features very quiet area of the park rarely traversed. The road to the trailhead of this hike is closed in the winter, and it's usually closed sometime in November. I figured I would catch one final hike in the area before the road is closed.

This was a very cold November day. The weather had been unseasonably cool this month, and although I was mostly dressed okay, I had not brought gloves, and had regretted that. I parked at the Victory Trail trailhead parking on Lake Kanawauke Road (County Route 106), and took the Victory Trail for a short distance to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. I then took the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail as it slopes upwards toward the summit and views of Parker Cabin Mountain.

At the top at the intersection of the Triangle Trail, at the view, I took the triangle trail southwest down the mountain, past a nice evergreen Mountain Laurel forest, to the White Bar Trail. I took the White Bar Trail for a short distance to the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail, climbing up Black Ash Mountain, traversing the ridge, and then descending into the valley by the Black Ash Swamp. I  took the Victory Trail north there to the White Cross Trail.

There were park rangers at the Victory and White Cross Trails looking for a missing person last seen at the Dutch Doctor shelter. At the end of the White Cross Trail, I took the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail up the steep ascent to the main Parker Cabin view, which is an expansive view and one of the best in the park. I then continued north along the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail back down the mountain, back to the Victory Trail,and then back to my car.

Map of the Route

Open Bedrock while Ascending Parker Cabin Mountain

Lonesome Pine Tree 

Pine Tree Couple in front of Tom Jones Mountain

Parker Cabin Mountain Northern View

Lake Sebago View from Parker Cabin Mountain

Zoomed Out at Parker Cabin Mountain

New Growth of Mountain Laurels after the Forest Fire

Rock Formations on Black Ash Mountain

More Rock Formations on Black Ash Mountain

My Hiking Poles on Display

View on Black Ash Mountain

Another View of Black Ash Mountain

Natural Dam at the Black Ash Mountain Notch

Black Ash Swamp with Some Remainder Foliage

View Ascending Black Ash Mountain on the R-D Trail

Open Rockface on Parker Cabin Mountain

View Facing Southeast from Black Ash Mountain

Me at the Parker Cabin Mountain View

Group of Hikers at the Parker Cabin Mountain View

Parker Cabin Mountain Above the View