Sunday, February 21, 2021

Popolopen Gorge Snow Hike

Bear Mountain State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Timp-Torne Trail: Blue blaze
1779-1779 Trail: Red blaze
Popolopen Gorge Trail: Red blaze
Twin Forts Trail: Blue blaze
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 2:15
Estimated Distance: 3.4 miles

Pros: Scenic gorge, peaceful area
Cons: Lack of natural forest on last leg of the hike
Hike Type: 2 car point A to point B
Level of Difficulty: Moderate, though very difficult in current conditions

Map of Route:
https://goo.gl/maps/GfdM4aJemx6HY5WE6

Hiking Partner:
Shimon Rosenberg

Snow, snow, snow! This winter has been featuring a new snowstorm every few days. With fresh snow on the ground from Thursday and Friday's snowstorms, the snow level was quite deep. With a bright blue sky and fresh white snow, the scenery was incredibly idyllic and tranquil.

We parked the first car at the river parking area at Bear Mountain, near the Zoo. We then drove to the Popolopen Torne parking area where we left our second car. e parked at the Popolopen Torne trailhead parking, and took the Timp Torne Trail down to the gorge valley. 

The path in the snow was already somewhat walked on from previous weekend hikers, but it was still quite difficult considering the depth of the snow. We walked parallel to the brook, joining the 1779-1779 Trails and crossing the brook on the new and sturdy bridge.

The brook was flowing very strongly and was particularly scenic with large snow mounds atop the rocks. After crossing the bridge, we took the Popolopen Gorge Trail along the south side of the brook, along its ups and downs, passing the dam and the waterfalls, and then to the end of the trail at Route 9W. We crossed the high bridge across the brook on the side of Route 9W, and entered the Fort Montgomery parking lot and walked along the visitor center.

The building and parking area were closed, either due to Winter or Covid, though not sure which. We took the Twin Forts Trail across the long pedestrian suspension bridge, and the at the junction of the Bear Mountain Bridge we took the connector path up to the bridge on Route 6/202 after seeing a sign posted that the connection to the Bear Mountain Zoo was closed.

We crossed the busy road and entered the zoo along the Appalachian Trail. We walked along the Zoo Path concurrent with the trail, and at the main entrance of the zoo continued straight on the path down to the parking area.


Wooden Getchkes at the Beginning of the Hike

Heading Down the Timp Torne Trail

Shimon at the Beginning of the Hike

Me at the Beginning of the Hike

Approaching the Bridge Across Popolopen Brook

Me at the Popolopen Brook Crossing

Popoplopen Brook from the Bridge

The Other Side of the Popolopen Brook

Shimon on the Popolopen Brook Bridge

Me at the Popolopen Gorge Trail with Popolopen Torne in the Background

Home Above the Popolopen Gorge

Bend in the Popolopen Gorge

Waterfalls in the Popolopen Gorge

Popolopen Gorge from Route 9W with Popolopen Torne in the Background

Me on the Popolopen Bridge on Route 9W

Shimon at Ft. Montgomery State Historic Site

Bear Mountain Bridge from the Fort Montgomery Site

Ft. Montgomery Trail Bridge on the Twin Forts Trail

Bear Mountain Bridge from the Fort Montgomery Pedestrian Bridge

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Frozen Greenwood Lake

Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park
Greenwood Lake
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
None

Total Time: 2:00 hours
Estimated Distance: 4.5 miles

Pros: Scenic lake that is great when frozen
Cons: None
Hike Type: Loop hike
Level of Difficulty: Very easy (with proper footwear)

Map of Route:
https://goo.gl/maps/N2TD5LqS1ar7RpFo7

Greenwood Lake is the largest lake in the region. It is 7 miles long and crosses the state line from New York into New Jersey. I had been here several years prior, and now with the first solid cold-snap in several years that allowed the lakes to fully freeze, I decided it was time for a return. 

The scenery here is incredible. The lake is flanked by mountains on both sides, and with a deep layer of snow on the group it was an incredible winter scene. There were plenty of ice fisherman and spectators enjoying the tranquil location.

I parked at at the parking lot at Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park in Greenwood Lake village, at the northern end of the lake. This is the center of the activity on the lake on the winter. I walked through the area with the ice fisherman, and walked south about 2.5 miles not far from the state line. I turned around and then headed closer to the eastern side walking back towards the northern end of the lake and back to my car in the park parking lot.

Map of the Route

Going on the Lake

Thomas P. Morahan Waterfront Park at the Greenwood Lake Beach

Greenwood Lake Looking South

Bellvale Mountain from Greenwood Lake

Greenwood Lake Looking Southeast

Lots of Ice Fisherman at the North Side of the Lake

More Ice Fisherman

A Lone Ice Fisherman Down the Lake

More Ice Fisherman Deeper Down in the Lake

Me on Greenwood Lake

View from the Northern Part of the Lake

Walking Down Greenwood Lake, Facing South

Me Deeper Down in Greenwood Lake

Looking North from Deep into Greenwood Lake

Looking South Towards the Middle of the Lake

View Towards Fox Island

View Facing North

Another View in Greenwood Lake

More Views of Greenwood Lake

Me at the End of the my Distance on the Lake Prior to Returning

Icy Snowmobile Tracks on the Lake

Lakefront Homes Along Greenwood Lake

At the Return with Ice Fishermen Near the Park

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Campgaw Mountain Snowstorm

Campgaw Mountain Reservation
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Hemlock Trail: Pink blaze
Old Cedar Trail: Red blaze
Rocky Ridge Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 1:15
Estimated Distance: 2.1 miles

Pros: Many trails in the area
Cons: View isn't great, especially in the snow
Hike Type: Loop hike
Level of Difficulty: Moderate (though difficult in snow)

Map of Route:
https://goo.gl/maps/qNCxCwJ6Hnv2mzj5A

Hiking Partner:
Shimon Rosenberg 

Shimon Rosenberg and I have been talking for a long time to get out and hike together. It took the worst of weather conditions to get us out together hiking. Not the weather for the fainthearted, this hike took place in the midst of a Winter Storm Warning. The snow was intense with about six inches total. It had also snowed the week before, in the form of a giant, two footer Nor'easter.

We took the opportunity to hike at Campgaw, which features many short trails and loops, affording us an easy exit should the situation deteriorate. I came prepared with snow crampons and winter gear, which protected me during the heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures.

We parked at the large parking lot near Fyke Brook, taking the Hemlock Trail for a very short distance to the Old Cedar Trail for another very short distance, and then to the  Rocky Ridge Trail, which we took up the mountain. We then took the Old Cedar Trail along the ridge to the summit atop the ski hill. We then took the Rocky Ridge Trail down the mountain, parallel to the ski and tubing slope. The ski hill and tubing hill were very busy despite the weather conditions. 

We then walked along the ski area, bushwacking down the hill to the Fyke Pond. We then walked along the north side of the pond, at the dam, up the road and back to the parking lot.

Map of the Route

Shimon at the Beginning of the Hike

Me and Shimon at the Beginning of the Hike

Me and Shimon on the Rocky Ridge Trail

Warning of Bear Activity on the Trailhead

Me on the Snowy Hike

Rocky Ridge Trail in the Snow

Approaching the Summit and the Top of the Ski Area at Campgaw

Me and Shimon on the Top of Campgaw

Ski Lift at Campgaw

Looking Down at the Ski Area at Campgaw

Players Playing Disc Golf on a Snowy Day

Throwing the Tethered Frisbee at Disc Hockey

Monster Ski Equipment at the Base of the Mountain

Frozen Fyke Pond

Me and Shimon at a Frozen Fyke Pond

Snowy Scene at the Fyke Pond Outlet

Fyke Pond from the Dam