Sunday, December 29, 2019

Cascade Falls, Patapsco Valley State Park

Ellicot City
Howard County
Maryland

Hiking Trails:
Cascade Falls Trail
Ridge Trail
Old Connector Trail
Old Track Loop Trail
Morning Choice Trail

Total Time: 1:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.5 Miles

Pros: Scenic area in the Baltimore area
Cons: No views

Hiking Partner:
Ari Gunzberg

I had been visiting family in Baltimore for the weekend, and joined my Baltimore friend Ari Gunzberg for a quick Sunday morning hike in the Baltimore area. Ari, a Baltimore native, was very familiar with the hiking and trails in the area, and was my guide for this hike, doing all the planning.

The weather forecast was for a heavy, steady rain. Luckily the rain held up in the morning and we had a dry and pleasant hike. The rain started shortly after we finished the hike on our way back.

We parked at the trailhead parking on Landing Road, and took the Cascade Falls Trail. This trial goes alongside the brook in a ravine and ends near the Patapsco River at Cascade Falls. We then took the Ridge Trail alongside the top of the ridge over the Patapsco River. From there we took the Old Connector Trail to the Old Track Loop Trail, and then to the Morning Choice Trail which we took back to our car.

Map of the Route

Trail Information at the Beginning of the Hike

Me at the Kiosk at the Beginning of the Hike

Strange Rock Instrument Like a Millstone along the Cascade Falls Trail

Ari Gunzberg Crossing the Cascade Falls Brook

Approaching Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls, Patapsco Valley State Park

Me at Cascade Falls

Ari at Cascade Falls

Small Home Ruins Along the Patapsco Gordge

Another Home Ruins

Larger Home Ruins

Me and Ari at the Old Track Loop Trail

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Bear Mountain Hessian Lake Loop
Bear Mountain State Park,
Rockland/Orange Cos.
New York

Hiking Trails:
Major Welch Trail: Red blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 0:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 1.3 Miles

Pros: Picturesque lake and scenic area
Cons: Built up area with many people

I was off from work for the Christmas Holiday. I had several things scheduled throughout the day, but had a little bit of time at the end of the day for a hike. This is more of a walk than a hike on a paved path, but being the area is mostly along hiking trails and in the mountain area I am including this in the blog.

I parked in the main parking area in Bear Mountain, and walked towards Hessian Lake, and took the path along the western shore of the lake concurrently with the Major Welch Trail. I continued around the loop of the lake, where I joined the Appalachian Trail on the eastern side of the lake. I then continued back to my car for a short and scenic loop around the lake.

Map of the Route

Sign at Hessian Lake at Bear Mountain

A Frozen Bear Mountain, Facing North from the Southern End

Tiny Island on Hessian Lake with Two Trees

Anthony's Nose from Across Hessian Lake

Overlook Above Hessian Lake

Me at the Overlook Above Hessian Lake

Hessian Lake from the Northern Point, Looking South

Bear Mountain and Hessian Lake

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Black Mountain Winter Hike

Harriman State Park,
Orange & Rockland Counties,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Red Cross Trail: Red blaze
Arden-Surebridge Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.8 Miles

Pros: Very Quiet area, excellent views
Cons: Highway crossing is difficult

Hiking Partners:
Yehudah Koblick

This was a cold but sunny winter day. We parked at Anthony Wayne in the huge parking lot, and crossed over the highway overpass on the Anthony Wayne Trail, which we took to the 1779 Trail. We took the 1779 Trail south for a while to the joint Appalachian Trail and Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail, which we took west up Black Mountain on a good climb up.

We took some pictures at the top, and then headed back down along the same route, but then continued along the Appalachian/Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail to the Palisades Parkway, which we had to cross. We took this to the bike trail, which we took back to the hiking area. Yehudah ran ahead to the car and picked me up in between the two parking lots.

Map of the Route

Snow and Ice along the 1779 Trail 
More Snow and Ice along the 1779 Trail 


Ice Coating on Brush

Snow and Ice Looking Towards Black Mountain

Ice Covering on Small Brush

Fallen Tree on the R-D/Appalachian Trail

Approaching the Summit of Black Mountain

Final Ascent up Black Mountain

Me at Black Mountain

Black Mountain Summit, Facing West

Black Mountain Summit, Facing Southwest

Black Mountain, Facing West

Black Mountain Summit, Facing East to West Mountain

Snow an Ice in a Shady Spot

Black Mountain, Facing South

Yehudah on Black Mountain

Me at Black Mountain

Trail Along Black Mountain Summit

Midday Sun over Black Mountain

Yehudah on Black Mountain

Intersection of Appalachian Trail and the Bike Path

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Little Fort Hill at Appalachian Trail

Appalachian National Scenic Trail Area,
Putnam Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.8 Miles

Pros: Few people on the trail
Cons: Lacks good views, may houses in view in first part of hike

The weather was raw and very windy. In fact, the wind was so strong on the higher elevations that I was concerned for my safety, and made this hike shorter than my intended route. It was also cloudy, cold, and wet, making this an uncomfortable hike.

This was my furthest venture on the Appalachian Trail in my home territory on the northern front. This part of the trail is not part of any park system and is just protected by the Federal Land of the Appalachian Trail corridor. The first part of the hike crosses several roads and goes behind backyards. It then climbs up the ridge, with an offshoot trail to the view on the Eastern end on Little Fort Hill. The view is somewhat overgrown and was not impressive. After the view I continued further north, but with the strong winds, lack of seeing any people, and just general raw conditions, I decided it was time to head back rather than continuing further to the Denning Hill view. I'll have to revisit that area when the weather is warmer.

Small Boardwalk at the Beginning of the Hike

Really Old Warning Sign on the Trail

Little Fort Hill

View at Little Fort Hill, Facing South to the Hudson River & Palisades

Zoomed Out at Little Fort Hill View

Little Fort Hill, Facing East

Rocks at Little Fort Hill

View While Descending, Facing West