Sunday, February 23, 2020

Harriman Fire Tower Warm Winter Weather

Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail: Yellow blaze

Total Time: 1:00 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.2 Miles

Pros: Nice view on top
Cons: None

I was short on time on this beautiful, warm winter day. The temperature reached into the low 60's later in the day, and was in the in the 50's in the morning. I had to pick a short hike nearby in an hour or less, and this was the perfect hike.

I parked in the parking area on Gate Hill Road, near the entrance of Harriman State Park. I took the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail south, climbing the mountain steadily through the old ORAK ruins. I continued past Jackie Jones Tower, and then climbed the newly refurbished Fire Tower, which was recently fixed and entry allowed to the top.

At the top of the tower, an excellent 360 degree was afforded on a day with a bright blue sky and good visibility. I took some photos, headed back down the tower, and then returned along the same route back to my car on the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail.

Map of the Route

Blocked Road to Jackie Jones Tower at the Beginning of the Hike

Abandoned Gatehouse at the ORAK ruin

Approaching the Fire Tower

View Southwest from the Top of the Fire Tower

View South from the Top of the Fire Tower

View East from the Top of the Fire Tower
Towards Haverstraw and the Hudson River

View of Lake Welch Facing West from the Fire Tower

View North from the Fire Tower Towards Bear Mountain

View Northeast from the Fire Tower

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Silvermine Lake and Ski Loop

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Ski Tral: Unblazed
Menomine Trail: Yellow blaze
Silvermine Road: Unblazed

Total Time: 1:35 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.2 Miles

Pros: Quiet area of the park
Cons: Lacks good views

I had just returned from Tucson, Arizona, and was back in the northeast for a cold winter hike. I parked at the Silvermine Lake parking area, and took the northern ski slope trail up the hill. This was a former ski slope that is now abandoned and used by hikers, as well as people sledding in the winter. Although it was very cold, there as no snow. In fact, there had been little snow all season.

At the top I took the unmarked trail south going down from the summit, to another unmarked trail which I took to the Menomine Trail. I was on the Menomine Trail briefly before cutting across a bushwack along the southern part of Silvermine Lake. I bushedwacked until Silvermine Road, and then took this path north to the dam of Silvermine Lake. I crossed the river past the dam, and then went along the path on the north side of the lake and then headed back to my car.

Map of the Route

Inlet of Silvermine Lake

Approaching the Old Ski Slopes, with no Snow

Ascending the Left Ski Slope

View from the Top of the Ski Slop, Looking Down

View of Popolopen and Bear Mountain from the Top

Ice Covered Stream Near Silvermine Lake

Small Inlet at Silvermine Lake

Stream Entering Silvermine Lake

Ice Covered Silvermine Lake

Another View of Silvermine Lake

Small Waterfall Beyond the Silvermine Lake Dam

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Box Springs Trailhead

Mount Lemmon,
Santa Catalina Mountains
Coronado National Forest,
Pima Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Box Springs Trail

Total Time: 1:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 2.2 Miles

Pros: Great mountain views and forested terrain
Cons: None

I love the drive up the Catalina Highway to Mt. Lemmon. It's one of the most scenic roads that I know, climbing to almost 9,000 feet above sea level, with vast differences of flora throughout the drive up. The drive starts in Tucson in the Sonora Desert, with lots of cactus and saguaro. As the road climbs through the Molina canyon, the saguaro are replaced by large Yuccas, and the vegetation increases. The first trees appear after that, with really interesting rock formations and then the "hoodoos", and then after Windy Gap, it's fully forested.

I drove up past the 8,000 foot level, which was fully covered in fresh snow from the storm from the night before. I parked at the Box Springs Trailhead, and took the Box Springs Trail for a little over a mile before turning back. The snow cover was several inches and I had boots, but didn't want to go too far away from the road all by myself in these conditions.

The heavy clouds alternated with bright blue sky, creating surreal scenes feeling like worlds apart from my hike the day before in the desert in Saguaro National Park. After reaching a nice rocky vista, I turned around and went back along the same route back to my car.

Map of the Route

Catalina Highway by the Trailhead

Snow Covered Trail and Dense Forest

Me at the Beginning of the Trail

Twin Trees along the Trail

Beautiful Scenery along the Trail

Full View from the First View

Me at the First View

Beautiful Winter Scenery

Surreal Mountain Scenery

Previously Burned Area of the Forest

Sweeping, Cloud-Covered View

More Interesting Scenery

Snow and Cloud Covered Mountains

Me at the View on the Way Back

Deep Blue Sky

View on the Return Route

Monday, February 10, 2020

Loma Verde Trail Area,
Saguaro National Park, Eastern Unit

Pima Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Loma Verde Trail
Vanover Trail
Squeeze Pen Trail

Total Time: 2:15 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.4 Miles

Pros: Very scenic area
Cons: Very high park entrance fee

Hiking Partner: 
Yehudah Koblick

This was my first hike in Arizona. Prior to visiting a tradeshow in the afternoon, we went on this hike in the Eastern Unit of Saguaro National Park in the Rincon Mountain foothills. Rain was predicted for the afternoon, so we figured we would not hike up the mountain but rather at the bottom area where there are many trails and easy bailout options.

We entered the park at the main parking area, and took the Cactus Forest Loop Drive to the Loma Verde Trailhead area. This is along the northern part of Cactus Forest Loop Drive right before it bends southward. There area alot of trails in the area, and the supplied map at the park entrance doesn't cover most of the trails here. We took the Loma Verde Trail north, past the copper mine site, to the Vanover Trail, which we then took to the Squeeze Pen Trail, for a large loop. At the end of the Squeeze Pen Trail, we took the Loma Verde Trail south for a short distance back to the trailhear where our car was.

Map of the Route

Information Plaque at the Loma Verde Trailhead

Lush Desert Scene with Santa Catalina Mountains in the Background

Saguaro Cactus and Deep Blue Sky

Crossing a Brook with Flowing Water

Desert Plants and the Rincon Range

Yehudah Hiking in the Desert

Me in the Desert

Pretty Desert Scene

Loma Verde Mine Site

Yehudah on the Loma Verde Trail

Large Saguaro Cactus

Me on the Loma Verde Trail

Yehudah on the Loma Verde Trail

Interesting Saguaro Cactus

More Sonoran Desert Scenes 
Classic Saguaro Cactus