Boston Mine and Island Pond – Harriman State Park

May 20, 2017 – Southfields, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 4 miles

Max elevation: 1,096 ft.– total elevation gain: 384 ft.

Route type: circuit

Map: Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map #119

Trailhead parking: 1369 Kanawauke Rd, Southfields, NY, 10975

Hike route
Hike route

 

Boston Mine , which was last worked in 1880, is one of the more impressive mines in Harriman State park. I have visited this mine before on a longer hike and decided to include it on this hike. Island Pond is a large glacially-made pothole. It drains both north and south. The deepest part of the pond is 126 feet, with depths averaging ninety-one feet in the northern half. It is a beautiful and tranquil place deep in the woods and far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I was in the mood for an easy, walk in the woods type hike that included several points of interest. This hike fit the bill quite nicely. This would make an excellent hot weather hike, as much of the trails traveled have tree cover. It was a cloudy Saturday morning with temps in the mid 50’s and windy at times. We arrived at the parking area at approximately 9:30 am. There were several cars already there and just room left for a few more. Our hike began on the White Bar Trail, blazed with white horizontal rectangles.

White Bar Trail
White Bar Trail

The White Bar Trail cuts through the parking area from the south and crosses County Road 106 and heads north into the woods. The White Bar Trail was first marked in 1922 by the Boy Scouts.

County Road 106
County Road 106

The trail bears left and runs parallel to CR 106 for about 500 feet. This area has a lot of downed trees, but the trail crew that maintains this section of trail have done a good job clearing the way.

White Bar Trail
White Bar Trail

The trail then bears right, crosses a stream then arrives at a fork. The left fork is Island Pond Road, which would be our return route. We stayed to the right to continue on the White Bar Trail.

fork - Island Pond Road (left) White Bar Trail (right)
fork – Island Pond Road (left) White Bar Trail (right)

The White Bar Trail continues ahead on a woods road.

White Bar Trail
White Bar Trail

In a short distance, the Nurian Trail joins from the right, also blazed white, but with vertical blazes. The trail was established in 1929 by Kerson Nurian, a Bulgarian immigrant and an electrical engineer that worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was among the first trail builders in the Harriman area.

joint White Bar Trail and Nurian Trail
joint White Bar Trail and Nurian Trail

We followed the joint White Bar Trail and Nurian Trail for several hundred feet. When the trails split at a Y-intersection, we veered left and began following the vertical blazes of the Nurian Trail.

Y-intersection
Y-intersection

The Nurian Trail follows a footpath over an open area and passes a glacial erratic on the left.

glacial erratic
glacial erratic

It then passes through an area filled with pine trees……

Nurian Trail
Nurian Trail

then continues through dense mountain laurel.

Nurian Trail
Nurian Trail

About a 1/2 mile from the Y-intersection with the White Bar Trail, the Nurian Trail reaches Island Pond Road. We turned right here, still following the vertical white blazes along the wide woods road.

Nurian Trail/Island Pond Road
Nurian Trail/Island Pond Road

The Nurian trail the veers left at a fork, but we stayed to the right and continued on Island Pond Road.

fork - Nurian Trail/Island Pond Road
fork – Nurian Trail/Island Pond Road

The yellow-blazed Dunning Trail now joins Island Pond Road from the left. We stayed on the woods road, now blazed yellow.

joint Dunning Trail/Island Pond Road
joint Dunning Trail/Island Pond Road

In a short distance, when the Dunning Trail turns right, we left the road and followed the yellow blazes.

junction - Dunning Trail goes right
junction – Dunning Trail goes right

After making the right turn to stay on the Dunning Trail, the cut in the hillside leading to Boston Mine is visible straight ahead. The mine opening consists of a large open cut, about 100 feet long, which extends north to south within a low ridge. At its northern end, the open cut becomes a shaft which extends into the rock ridge for about 30 feet.

Lenik, Edward J.. Iron Mine Trails (Kindle Locations 1300-1302). New York – New Jersey Trail Conference. Kindle Edition.

Boston Mine
Boston Mine

Approaching the mine cut, we exercised caution as this area is filled with water and topped with leaves. The best way to view the actual mine entrance is by turning right and staying on the Dunning Trail, which goes up around the side of Boston Mine. Veering off the trail, we had a good frontal view of the adit.

Boston Mine
Boston Mine

According to historian James M. Ransom, the Boston Mine was worked around 1880. The ore extracted from this mine was sent to the Clove Furnace at Arden, New York to be smelted.

Boston Mine
Boston Mine

There where a lot of bugs in this area and I was glad that I applied insect repellent prior to beginning the hike, although they were swarming around my head which I left unprotected. When we were done checking out Boston Mine, we retraced our steps back to the junction of the Dunning Trail and Island Pond Road. We turned right and proceeded to walk north on Island Pond Road.

Island Pond Road
Island Pond Road

It was a nice easy walk along this woods road which was built in 1905 by Edward H. Harriman.

Island Pond Road
Island Pond Road

The Arden-Surebridge Trail (A-SB Trail) comes in from the right and joins Island Pond Road. When the joint A-SB Trail/Island Pond Road goes to to left, we continued straight onto another unmarked woods road.

straight on unmarked woods road
straight on unmarked woods road

To this point we had only saw two other hikers that were walking behind us briefly along the A-SB Trail. We walked the unmarked woods road to its terminus at the southern end of Island Pond where there sits the ruins of a cabin.

unmarked woods road
unmarked woods road

Harriman State Park built this stone cabin circa 1927 for their Park Rangers.

stone cabin ruins
stone cabin ruins

Major William A. Welch, a founder of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, entertained visitors here.

stone cabin ruins
stone cabin ruins

Unfortunately, the cabin was burned by vandals on January 1, 1962.

stone cabin ruins
stone cabin ruins

Just beyond the cabin is a narrow footpath that leads to flat rocks which grace the southern shore of Island Pond.

Island Pond
Island Pond

Such a beautiful spot, that even though it was only about 11:30 am, we decided to sit here and have lunch. Luckily for us, not another soul was to be seen or heard while we enjoyed our sandwiches and cookies as well as the scenery.

Island Pond
Island Pond

As picturesque as this place is, the sun would not cooperate nor the wind. Since I was wearing short sleeves and short pants, at times the breeze from the pond was a bit chilly. We then began to retrace our steps back along the unmarked woods road.

unmarked woods road
unmarked woods road

On the way down to Island Pond, I noticed a trail off to the left with a fallen tree lying across it. Garfield Mine is located down in that area. We decided to venture down that trail and see if we could find it.

unmarked trail
unmarked trail

I had forgotten to print the details about the exact location of the mine and the trail was littered with felled trees. The trail seemed to peter out at one point, but later, after reading the details that I had failed to print, the mine is 250 feet down that trail. We were literally just feet from it when we gave up.

unmarked trail
unmarked trail

Retracing our steps back to the unmarked woods road, we turned right and continued heading south towards Island Pond Road. The rest of the way back was a pleasant walk in the woods with only a minor hill or two along the way.

Island Pond Road
Island Pond Road

Island Pond Road ends at County Road 106, about 500 feet from where we parked. We turned left on the White Bar Trail just before reaching the road. This is the section that parallels CR 106 before crossing the road and back to the parking area where our hike began.

Island Pond Road
Island Pond Road

I hope that you enjoyed this weeks hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below as well. Now get out there and take a hike!

Pros: abandoned mines, stone cabin ruins, scenic pond, shaded trails, easy to walk woods roads, mostly level hike, secluded trails.

Cons: Garfield Mine trail is overgrown and hard to follow.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hunter Island – Pelham Bay Park

May 7, 2017 – Bronx, NY

Difficulty: easy

Length: approximately 4.5 miles

Route type: circuit

Map: Pelham Bay Park

Trailhead parking: Orchard Beach Parking lot

 

Located north of Orchard Beach, Hunter Island contains many noteworthy geological features including glacial erratics that were deposited during the last ice age nearly 15,000 years ago. The Siwanoy Indians, who originally occupied the island, called it Lap-Haa-Waach King, meaning “place of stringing beads,” after the shells they strung together and used for ceremony and currency. In 1654, they sold the land to Thomas Pell (c.1610-1669), for whom Pelham Bay Park is named, and it was called Pell’s Island, and then Pelican Island, until 1804 when John Hunter bought the island for $40,000. He cultivated the land, creating a magnificent garden and mansion.

Hunter Island
Hunter Island

I first visited Hunter Island to search for owls a few years ago. In the process of trying to find those elusive owls, I discovered a hidden gem in the Bronx. I did eventually find those owls, but have been back numerous times to explore the myriad of trails that snake through this island. The only official trail here is the Kazimiroff Nature Trail, in honor of Dr. Theodore Kazimiroff (1914-1980). Kazimiroff dedicated much of his work to the exploration and preservation of Pelham Bay Park. There are numerous other unmarked trails that lead in all directions. With 138 acres to explore, there is enough ground to cover to keep you busy for a few hours. I decided that I would walk the “official” trail today and meander throughout the rest of the island. Although we did retrace our steps several times, it was mostly a loop.

Hunter Island
Hunter Island

It was mostly cloudy, temps in the low 50’s with rain in the forecast on this Sunday in May. Not wanting to get caught in a downpour miles deep in the woods, this was a good spot for a leisurely hike before the rains fell. After parking in the Orchard Beach lot, we headed out on the unpaved park road towards the trailhead. It was a little swampy at the start of the trail as we began on the Kazimiroff Nature Trail.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

The flora along this trail so lush and green and a welcome sight, a contrast to the chilly air, which was not Spring like.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

There are numerous spur trails that lead towards the water’s edge and we encountered one almost immediately. This spur trail left us standing directly across from Two Tree Island, named after Joe Two Trees, an Algonquin Indian that lived in Pelham Bay Park and befriended and inspired a then 10 year old Theodore Kazimiroff.

Two Tree Island
Two Tree Island

Hunter Island was at one time connected to West Twin Island via a man-made stone bridge that now lies in ruins in one of the city’s few remaining salt marshes.

stone bridge ruins
stone bridge ruins

Looking north out onto the Long Island Sound, reminded me of why I love this place.

Hunter Island
Hunter Island

After taking in the view, we walked back to the main trail, turned right and veered left at fork, following the blue arrows which lead into the forest. The right fork would be our return route.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

The first part of the trail is easy to follow and the posts with arrows indicate which direction to go in order to stay on the trail. Following the blue arrows takes you on the outer loop, which is the route we took.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

I always enjoy walking through these scenic woods, so close to the city yet it felt like we were upstate somewhere.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

There are countless trails that criss-cross the island, some of which are wide woods roads that were part of  John Hunter’s estate.

woods roads
woods roads

Still following the blue arrows, we turned right and began walking on what was once the road that connected Mr. Hunter’s estate to the mainland. At this point, the posts with the directional arrows are no longer visible. They have either been removed or perhaps fallen down. There are blue splotches on trees which I didn’t deem reliable at the time, but did lead the right way.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

We came to a T-intersection where in the past I have always turned right. We decided to turn left and continue on the original road to the mainland, which now headed west along the water.

original road to the mainland
original road to the mainland

As we walked, I could see that we were headed towards the area of the parking lot and we turned around and retraced our steps back to the T-intersection and proceeded straight with the water to our left.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

We got to a fork where the blue arrow appeared again and veered right, but we stayed left and came to a rock outcrop on the northwestern section of the island.

rock outcrop
rock outcrop

We walked to the tip of the island and looking west, I saw a giant boulder. Doing research for this post, I discovered that it is called the Gray Mare. The Native Americans reportedly believed that their God or guardian intentionally placed the Grey Mare at that spot and it was a very important Siwanoy ritual site.

Gray Mare
Gray Mare

We then retraced our steps back to the fork and veered left reconnecting with the main trail.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

Just up on the left, a short spur trail leads to my favorite spot. The salt marsh with its wooden plank walkway that leads to a tiny rocky island.

tiny rock island
tiny rock island

I’ve been here numerous times and always enjoy walking the plank out to this joyous spot. We took a nice long break here just as the sun made its long awaited appearance. Sitting on a rock and enjoying the view, Glen Island is visible in the distance.

view from tiny rock island
view from tiny rock island

A tinier rock island with glacial erratics, sits nearby. It is accessible via a sandbar during low tide.

glacial erratics
glacial erratics

The sun was short lived and the wind picked up, a cue that it was time to get moving. We walked the plank back to the main trail and continued on our hike.

the plank
the plank

The trail markers appeared again, but it didn’t really matter as the trail paralleled the water. We stopped at a few of the many side trails that lead to views along the water. There is one spot along the trail that used to have an informational sign, but only a steel post remains. It sits across from Two Trees Island, but I have no clue what it was.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

Then we arrived back at the trailhead, but our hike was not over.

Kazimiroff Nature Trail
Kazimiroff Nature Trail

We walked straight towards the ocean and Orchard Beach, but I spotted a Great Egret in the salt marsh and stopped to take a look.

Great Egret
Great Egret

Walking towards the beach, we turned left onto the boardwalk. Technically it’s called a promenade because it is a paved walkway, but boardwalk sounds better to me.

Orchard Beach hexagonal-block promenade
Orchard Beach hexagonal-block promenade

We turned left just before the nature center by the Orchard Beach kiosk and onto West Twin Island.

kiosk
kiosk

We then turned left onto the first trail we saw and headed towards the salt marsh.

West Twin Island
West Twin Island

We continued on the wide footpath that parallels the salt marsh, heading northeast.

West Twin Island
West Twin Island

Along the way, a Snowy Egret was just sitting there with its long neck tucked in.

Snowy Egret
Snowy Egret

We walked over to the stone bridge that used to connect West Twin and Hunter Islands.

stone bridge
stone bridge

Heading east now towards East Twin Island, we encountered a slight problem. The trail that connects the “Twins” was flooded. The water was about calf high and it was a little too chilly to get our feet wet.

flooded trail
flooded trail

We headed back the way we came in and turned left after reaching the “boardwalk.” When we neared the end, we turned left.

Orchard Beach hexagonal-block promenade
Orchard Beach hexagonal-block promenade

Now we were on East Twin Island and our feet were still dry.

Twin Island
Twin Island

Reaching a fork, we decided to stay left and walk along the water. The wide paved road would be our return route.

Twin Island
Twin Island

The clouds were getting a bit dark now as the wind increased.

Twin Island
Twin Island

It was a very pleasant walk along the rocky sand as we headed for Two Tree Island.

Twin Island
Twin Island

Twin Island and Two Tree Island connect via a thin mudflat landbridge which is submerged at high tide.

Two Tree Island
Two Tree Island

We ventured onto the tiny island to get a look around. I have been here a few times and have always enjoyed relaxing on the rocks. Today was no different.

Two Tree Island
Two Tree Island

Sitting here, looking out at the Long Island Sound, I felt a few drops. Since it was the tail end of the hike, we figured it was best to just start heading back.

Two Tree Island
Two Tree Island

Walking back from Two Tree Island, we had a good view of East Twin Island on the left, West Twin in the center and Hunter Island on the far right. The Islands were once true islands in Pelham Bay but are now connected to each other and to Orchard Beach by a landfill created in 1937.

East, West and Hunter Islands
East, West and Hunter Islands

We headed back towards Orchard Beach, passing through the center of East Twin Island.

East Twin Island
East Twin Island

When we reached the “boardwalk,” we turned right and headed back to the parking lot where we began our hike.

East Twin Island
East Twin Island

Even though I have hiked this area several times before, I always enjoy coming back and discovering new things about it. It does get crowded in the hotter months, but early mornings are usually less congested. On this day we crossed paths with several people and a large group of bird watchers. A great day of hiking in the Bronx, you can’t beat that with a baseball bat. Now get out there and take a hike!

Pros: Rock formations and glacial erratics, Long Island Sound, views, islands, shore birds, scenic trails.

Cons: poorly marked trails, entrance fee in summer months, tends to get crowded in warmer weather.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Mountain Ridge Hike – Harriman State Park

April 29, 2017 – Tomkins Cove, NY

Difficulty: strenuous

Length: approximately 6.7 miles

Max elevation: 1,247 ft.– total elevation gain: 1,076 ft.

Route type: circuit

Map: Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map #119

Trailhead parking: Anthony Wayne Recreation Area

 

From time to time I have parked at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area and while gazing up at the rock outcrops atop West Mountain, I have seen people standing there and seemingly admiring the view. I decided that I wanted to hike the ridge and see what the view was like. I didn’t know that it was called West Mountain until I did a little research. I also discovered that the Appalachian Trail runs along the western ridge and a stone shelter is located on the southern ridge. I then planned out a hike that covered both. This turned out to be an excellent hike with views galore in all directions. Looking at the Google Earth image below, we did this hike in a counter clockwise direction.

West Mountain hike route
West Mountain hike route

It was a wonderful day for a hike with the temperature in the mid 60’s when we began and then hovering around 80 degrees and partly cloudy throughout the rest of the day. We arrived at the parking area at around 8:45 am and once geared up, we headed southeast across a grass field towards the park road.

grass field
grass field

We proceeded to cross the park road and walking along the side of the road, we began to follow the blue-on-white diamond blazes of the Horn Hill Loop Mountain Bike Trail.

Horn Hill Loop Mountain Bike Trail
Horn Hill Loop Mountain Bike Trail

We continued past the entrance ramp to the Palisades Interstate Parkway and into the next parking area that had some trucks parked there.

next parking area
next parking area

Continuing on the gravel path to the southernmost end of the parking area towards the edge of the woods, we came to a kiosk.

kiosk
kiosk

We now headed into the woods still following the blue-on-white diamond blazes.

blue-on-white diamond blazes
blue-on-white diamond blazes

The trail passes through a pine forest and crosses several bridges.

bridge
bridge

We then crossed a junction with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, and soon afterwards, reached a junction with the red-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and turned left.

red-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail
red-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail

The R-D Trail begins to climb West Mountain, gradually at first, then after reaching some stone steps, the grade steepens.

red-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail
red-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail

The trail then crosses Beechy Bottom East Road which is marked with the blue-on-white blazes of the Horn Hill Bike Path.

Beechy Bottom East Road
Beechy Bottom East Road

The R-D Trail continues its steady ascent through mountain laurel.

The R-D Trail
The R-D Trail

After passing a gully, the trail again becomes steep as it climbs the mountain over boulders.

Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail
Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail

This was turning out to be quite a vigorous hike. Although beautiful, the trails were at times unrelenting. There were many instances where we were required to use our hands as well as our feet.

Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail
Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail

After climbing the boulders, the trail turns left and narrows, as it passes by a huge rock formation.

Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail
Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail

Then we came to our first views of the day and a well deserved break to enjoy them. While resting at this spot a scattered group of hikers passed by. They were the only people we saw up to this point.

view south from Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail
view south from Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail

After resting up, we continued up the rocky trail which led us towards a rock outcrop.

Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail
Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail

After a short but steep climb, we came to the junction of the Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail. Looking southeast, the Hudson River and surrounding hills are visible.

junction of the Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail
junction of the Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail

The two trails now run together briefly for about 300 feet on a fairly level tract as we proceeded up the mountain.

joint Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail
joint Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail

After climbing a ledge, the two trails split. Turning left, we were now following the yellow blazes of the S-BM Trail.

joint Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail
joint Ramapo-Dunderberg (R-D) Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail

The trail passes through a section of the forest that is newly rejuvenated after having been damaged by fire some years ago.

Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail
Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail

The S-BM Trail then descends into a valley, crosses a small stream and then begins to climb again, passing by some interesting looking rock formations.

rock formation
rock formation

After climbing some more, the trail briefly levels off…..

Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail
Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail

then reaches a t-intersection with the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail. We planted ourselves on a rock and rested from all the climbing.

joint blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail
joint blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail

Now on the ridge of West Mountain, we turned right and began following the joint blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail and the yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail. There are several views to the south along the trail from rock outcrops.

view south
view south

I thought that once we were on the ridge, the trail would level off and it would be an easy hike the rest of the way. I was mistaken, there are quite a few ups and downs over rocky terrain all along the ridge.

joint Timp-Torne Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail
joint Timp-Torne Trail and Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail

In about 1/3 of a mile from the t-intersection, the trails split. As the yellow-blazed trail goes off to the left, we veered right and stayed on the blue-blazed trail. In about 500 feet, we arrived at the West Mountain Shelter which was built in 1928. We were now about halfway through our hike.

West Mountain Shelter
West Mountain Shelter

The stone structure with a wood floor and shingled roof was refurbished in the fall of 2014. This shelter sits at an elevation of 1240 feet with views of the Hudson Valley to the southeast.

West Mountain Shelter
West Mountain Shelter

Needless to say, the view from here is magnificent. From what I read, it offers the best views of any of the shelters in Harriman State Park. With views of the Hudson River and the surrounding hills, who can argue with that?

view from West Mountain Shelter
view from West Mountain Shelter

We stopped here and had some lunch, as did numerous other people. To be honest, I was a little worn down already and could have stayed here for a lot longer than we did, but we had a hike to do. Retracing our steps back along the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail, passing the t-intersection where we turned earlier, we continued straight and arrived at a western facing viewpoint. This is also where the white-blazed Appalachian Trail joins the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail from the left.

blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail
blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail

When researching this hike, I noticed that on the trail map there were ten stars (the stars denote the viewpoints) on the map along the north-south section of the ridge. This was the first of many viewpoints we would encounter on this stretch of trail.

view west from Timp-Torne Trail
view west from Timp-Torne Trail

Now heading north and following both the white and blue blazes, the trail travels along the ridge over rocky terrain.

Timp-Torne Trail
Timp-Torne Trail

At this point, we had hiked almost 4 miles and were starting to tire. Not only are there numerous ups and downs, but at times you have to scramble over the numerous boulders that line the trail. The views are definitely worth it though. We came to a another viewpoint with Bear Mountain visible to the north.

Bear Mountain visible to the north
Bear Mountain visible to the north

Continuing on, the trail turns right at a western facing viewpoint.

western facing viewpoint
western facing viewpoint

Looking northwest, the Palisades Interstate Parkway and the Anthony Wayne parking area is visible below.

Looking northwest
Looking northwest

As we proceeded on the trail, we arrived at a rock outcrop that had a strange looking boulder sitting on the edge of the cliff.

strange looking boulder
strange looking boulder

Although rugged, the trail along the ridge is quite scenic. The views are outstanding and the terrain is so varied that it kept the hike interesting.

Timp-Torne Trail
Timp-Torne Trail

We came to another rock outcrop that offers a view southwest of the Harriman hills and beyond.

view southwest
view southwest

Passing another cool rock formation, the trail climbs yet again.

rock formation
rock formation

The Timp-Torne Trail climbs around the side of a glacial erratic then turns left.

Timp-Torne Trail
Timp-Torne Trail

We stopped alongside the glacial erratic and took a quick break in the shade.

glacial erratic
glacial erratic

This trail never lets up as it climbs open rock slabs rather steeply. We were worn down, but kept it moving. The end was now in sight, we had now hiked about 5 miles.

Timp-Torne Trail
Timp-Torne Trail

The trail changes from open rock to a rocky footpath over undulating terrain as it passes several more viewpoints.

view northwest from Timp-Torne Trail
view northwest from Timp-Torne Trail

When we reached a y-intersection where the white-blazed Appalachian Trail veers right, we stayed left to remain on the blue-blazed Timp-Torne Trail.

y-intersection
y-intersection

The trail then begins a rather steep descent over open rock slabs. Relying on the grip of our boots, this section would be difficult if not hazardous in wet conditions.

Timp-Torne Trail
Timp-Torne Trail

After climbing a little, the trail leads to a north facing viewpoint with Bear Mountain and Perkins Memorial Tower directly in front of us.

Bear Mountain and Perkins Memorial Tower
Bear Mountain and Perkins Memorial Tower

Also visible just to the left of Bear Mountain is Popolopen Torne and its bald peak.

Popolopen Torne
Popolopen Torne

The trail resumes its descent and reaches an intersection with the red-“F”-on-white blazed Fawn Trail. We turned left and continued down West Mountain.

red-“F”-on-white blazed Fawn Trail
red-“F”-on-white blazed Fawn Trail

The Fawn Trail ends at a junction with the white-blazed Anthony Wayne Trail at Beechy Bottom East Road.

end of Fawn Trail
end of Fawn Trail

Turning left onto Beechy Bottom East Road, marked with blue-on-white diamond blazes, we now began heading south. We were finally on level ground and it felt great. The road was muddy and swampy in places, but a joy to walk as we neared the end.

Beechy Bottom East Road
Beechy Bottom East Road

When we reached a y-intersection, the blue-on-white diamond blazes of the bike trail bears left, but we took the right fork…….

y-intersection
y-intersection

and continued walking on the unpaved road…….

unpaved road
unpaved road

which led us to an area with picnic tables where we sat for a few minutes before proceeding ahead back to the parking area where our hike began.

Anthony Wayne parking area
Anthony Wayne parking area

I have to say that this was a tough hike, but very rewarding. The trails were challenging at times and made us stay alert throughout most of the hike. The views were never ending and the weather cooperated as well. A great way to spend a Saturday in the Hudson Valley. I hope that you enjoyed the hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. Now get out there and take a hike!

Pros: Challenging trails, many spectacular views, stone shelter, ample parking, well blazed trails, rock formations and glacial erratics, varied terrain.

Cons: I can’t think of any.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catfish Loop Trail – Fahnestock State Park

April 22, 2017 – Carmel, NY

Difficulty: moderate

Length: approximately 5.3 miles

Max elevation: 1,002 ft.– total elevation gain: 586 ft.

Route type: circuit

Map: East Hudson Trails Map (more detailed) – Free maps also available at kiosks

Trailhead parking: 294 Dennytown Rd Putnam Valley, NY 10579

 

Clarence Fahnestock Memorial State Park is a 14,337-acre state park located in Putnam and Dutchess counties, New York. Most of the park is situated in northern Putnam County between the Taconic State Parkway and U.S. Route 9. It is in an historic iron-mining region, and several remnants of that industry remain in mine excavations, stone foundations and the old railbeds used by some of the trails.

The Catfish Loop marked with red blazes, is a 4.9 miles long trail which loops around the southwest corner of Fahnestock State Park.  It passes through a wide variety of terrain and is a good introductory hike if you’ve never explored the park before. It is also a good rigorous ramble for the novice hiker, needing only to follow the same color blaze for the entirety of the hike. The trail passes through a less traveled section of Fahnestock which provides some tranquility for those looking to escape the crowds on some of the more popular trails in the area.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

The weather for this Saturday morning was supposed to be cloudy, but a light rain fell throughout most of the hike. The temperature was in the low 50’s with 6 mph winds. When we arrived at the parking area at about 9:30 am there were quite a few cars there already. A group of Boy Scouts appeared to be gearing up for some camping and a group from the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) was about to hit the trails. I asked the leader of the ADK which trails they were hiking and was informed that they would be embarking on the blue-blazed trail and returning on the AT. I was glad to hear that as I did not want a large group on our heels as we hiked.

We began our hike by crossing the road and entering the trail by the sign for the Catfish Loop Trail. The Appalachian Trail crosses the road and enters the woods here.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

In a short distance we arrived at a junction with the red-blazed Catfish Loop Trail. The trail goes left and right, but we turned left and followed the trail clockwise. While hiking the first part of the trail I mentioned that is was so well blazed to the point of there being too many blazes close together. Jokingly I said that by the end of the hike, the trail won’t have any red-blazes because the overzealous trail keeper ran out of red discs.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

The trail passes through a stone wall, of which there are many on this hike. An indication that this area was once used for farming.

stone wall
stone wall

Passing by remnants of more stone walls, the trail parallels Dennytown Road.

stone walls
stone walls

Immediately I noticed that this trail was quite picturesque as we walked through the woods. Never having been here before I was satisfied thus far at picking this hike.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

In about a quarter mile, the trail turns right and crosses a stream, the first of many on this trail.

stream crossing
stream crossing

After crossing a second stream, the trail now begins to climb.

second stream crossing then climb
second stream crossing then climb

After climbing, the trail levels off then descends to cross another stream.

trail descends to cross another stream
trail descends to cross another stream

After crossing this stream the trail markers are difficult to see, but looking straight up the hill, they become visible once again. For a minute I thought my comment of running out of red discs was coming to fruition. After climbing to the highest point on this section of the ridge, it continues on to a fairly level tract.

fairly level tract
fairly level tract

The red-blazed Catfish Loop Trail crosses the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. There is a cairn marking the intersection.

Catfish Loop Trail crosses the AT
Catfish Loop Trail crosses the AT

Continuing on the red-blazed trail it soon begins a steady descent crossing a woods road marked with yellow blazes, indicating a horse trail.

Catfish Loop Trail crosses a woods road marked with yellow blazes
Catfish Loop Trail crosses a woods road marked with yellow blazes

Crossing yet another stream on rocks, the most enjoyable aspect of the hike, the trail climbs again and passes between some large boulders.

Catfish Loop Trail passes between large boulders
Catfish Loop Trail passes between large boulders

From the top of the boulders, there is a west-facing view, with Crows Nest and Storm King Mountains visible on the west side of the Hudson River. It was still raining and the visibility wasn’t ideal, but it’s the only real view on this hike. I had envisioned sitting on this boulder and having a snack while enjoying the view, but the song “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin was playing in my head, so “I’ll run in the rain till I’m breathless.”

only real view on this hike
only real view on this hike

We were now 2 miles into the hike and hadn’t really taken a break. Since it was raining, I would rather keep moving than stand still and get wet, there goes that song again! We passed through probably the most scenic section of the trail while a light rain fell steadily enough to get us drenched and keep my camera tucked away.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

We crossed another stream on rocks. I lost count of how many streams we crossed on this trail. None were difficult (I carry spare socks just in case) and they made the hike more interesting.

stream crossing
stream crossing

This stream had a nice little cascade right where we crossed.

cascade
cascade

We then passed through an area that had a large number of stone walls. These stone walls are a little different that what I am used to seeing. These walls are covered with lichen and have a palish appearance.

stone walls
stone walls

Hard to imagine that along this rugged area, many made their living farming the land.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

As we proceeded on the Catfish Loop Trail it was now lined with moss.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

The moss lined trail really accentuates how attractive these woods are.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

The peacefulness of the woods was a welcome respite from everyday life, despite being waterlogged from the rain. At least my feet stayed dry as we made another stream crossing.

stream crossing
stream crossing

We passed through a wet area that was teeming with green, a sign that Spring is indeed here.

wet area
wet area

Of course there is another stream crossing, this one the most attractive of the bunch.

stream crossing
stream crossing

A couple of times during the hike, the trail skirts the park boundary which is posted with signs. We stayed on the trail, respecting private property.

park boundary
park boundary

As we continued along the trail the rain drops ceased for a bit and I began to dry out. The overzealous trail keeper must have run out of the shiny new red discs because the second half of the hike was marked with old and faded blazes and weren’t as frequent, but the trail is still easy to follow. There are some blue and green blazes painted on some trees, but we just disregarded them and kept following red.

Catfish Loop Trail
Catfish Loop Trail

This trail goes by numerous interesting rock formations and glacial erratics.

glacial erratic
glacial erratic

The Catfish Loop Trail goes over another stone wall as we arrive at the end of the loop.

end of the loop
end of the loop

We turned left onto the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and walked back up the hill, crossing Dennytown Road to the parking area, where our hike began.

end of loop
end of loop

Upon arriving at the parking area in the morning, we noticed the ruins of a stone building just off the road. We decided to take a look at it after completing the hike. The back of the East Hudson Trails map states that this stone building was built in the 1920’s or 1930’s by an amateur stone mason.

stone ruins
stone ruins

It also says that although it may be mistaken for a chapel, it served as a chicken coop.

stone ruins
stone ruins

This had to be the most extravagant chicken coop in history.

stone ruins
stone ruins

Exploring this glorified chicken coop was a nice way to end the hike.

stone ruins
stone ruins

Speaking of chicken, it was time to take off and find a spot to light the grill.

stone ruins
stone ruins

This hike turned out to be much better than I expected. The trail was scenic throughout and the solitude was ideal. We only saw a young couple with an unleashed dog going in the opposite direction. Even though the dog growled at me, it was a good day on the trail. I hope that you enjoyed the hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. Until next time folks, now get out there and take a hike!

Pros: Well blazed trails, varied terrain, lots of rock hopping over streams, scenic woods throughout, very secluded, old stone walls, rock formations, glacial erratics.

Cons: Not many views, last part of the hike is uphill.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks

April 17, 2017 – Mohonk Preserve – New Paltz, NY

Difficulty: strenuous

Length: approximately 6.3 miles

Max elevation: 1,195 ft. – total elevation gain: 1,215 ft.

Route type: circuit

Map: Shawangunk Trails Map

Trailhead parking: Spring Farm Trailhead

Fees: $15.00 per hiker day use fee (totally worth it)

 

Bonticou Crag is one of those hikes that that you just want to do. Similar to Breakneck Ridge it is challenging and exhilarating. I have been wanting to “conquer the crag” since I read about it a couple of years ago. It is a very popular hike and with popularity comes crowds. I don’t much care for crowds when I hike because it’s the crowds I’m trying to get away from when I hike. I wanted to do a challenging hike on my birthday to keep father time at bay and convince myself that age is only a number. Since my birthday fell on a Monday, I thought it would be the right time to do this hike. After all, since I didn’t know how difficult it would be until I was actually doing it, I didn’t want any young bucks breathing down my neck or feeling pressured to move faster than I wanted to. With that being said, we were off to “conquer the crag” on the Monday of my birthday. Not wanting to reveal my true age, it’s just a number you know, I remember 8-track tapes and parachute pants.

Arriving at the parking area just after they open at 9:00 am, there were some cars in the lot already. A group of women chatting by their cars, possibly waiting for others and some hikers disappearing onto one of the trails. When paying at the booth, the attendant has maps (more like a drawing) that are adequate, but if you are going beyond the crag, I would suggest a NY/NJ Trail Conference map which is very detailed. We geared up quickly and we were on our way.

Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks
Bonticou Crag and Table Rocks

This place has numerous trails going in different directions, but there are signs and blazes that lead to the places of interest. I knew that going in, so we paid attention and followed the signs and/or blazes. We also went with someone that has hiked this area before.

We headed towards the sign that is on the side of the road where you enter the lot.

sign
sign

Turning left at the sign (we didn’t, but we took the scenic route) to head towards the Crag Trail. We followed the blue blazes up the hill.

blue blazes
blue blazes

As we walked on the gravel path, a trail veered off to the left, but we continued straight.

gravel path
gravel path

In a short distance we crossed Spring Farm Road and continued straight to the Crag Trail which is marked with red blazes.

junction
junction

For some reason I was under the impression that it was a flat walk to the start of the crag ascent, but I was mistaken. The trail starts to climb and becomes a rather steep walk uphill.

Crag Trail
Crag Trail

We got to an intersection that in the past has been confusing to some, but there are plenty of signs and red blazes now. We made the far left to stay on the Crag Trail.

Crag Trail
Crag Trail

The gravel path continues to climb, but more gently. I had the feeling that we were getting close.

Crag Trail
Crag Trail

As we rounded a turn, there it was. We could see the cliffs through the trees.

Crag Trail
Crag Trail

After rounding the curve, we came to the end of the red-blazed Crag Trail and turned left onto the yellow-blazed Bonticou Ascent Path.

Bonticou Ascent Path
Bonticou Ascent Path

The path leads downhill to the base of the crag.

Bonticou Ascent Path
Bonticou Ascent Path

We rested briefly while gazing up at the imposing cliff that we were going to climb. There is a bypass trail that takes you up to the top if you chicken out, but I didn’t drive over an hour to skip the highlight of this hike.

Bonticou Crag
Bonticou Crag

There are yellow blazes painted on the boulders to show you the way. We had to use our hands and feet with a little thinking thrown in to navigate our way up this trail.

Bonticou Crag
Bonticou Crag

I was surprised at how well I did. I only had trouble in one spot where I had to push off and rely on the grip of my boot on my landing foot. The one boulder that I worried about from watching videos about this hike, I dubbed “refrigerator rock.” I didn’t struggle at all with it, only had to remove my backpack to wedge myself up.

refrigerator rock
refrigerator rock

We did it! We conquered the crag! What a tremendous feeling to reach the top. The views, oh the views! You can see forever from up here.

Bonticou Crag
Bonticou Crag

The views from the top are phenomenal. It was exceptionally windy while we were there, but we hung out for quite some time.

Bonticou Crag
Bonticou Crag

If we would of quit here and just looped back to the parking lot, that makes it a 3 mile hike. Paying 15 bucks and having never been here before, we wanted to take in as much as possible. If ever I return, I would only do this section and scrap the rest. Not that the rest isn’t worth seeing, but this is the highlight of the hike and the extra 3 miles wore us down. We weren’t ready to quit thus yet so we jumped back onto the yellow-blazed trail as it leads down the mountain through a pine forest.

yellow-blazed trail
yellow-blazed trail

We came to a junction where the yellow-blazed trail ends and made a right onto the blue-blazed Northeast Trail.

blue-blazed Northeast Trail
blue-blazed Northeast Trail

This is a very picturesque trail through the woods with a couple of open rock ledges with northern views of the Catskills.

blue-blazed Northeast Trail
blue-blazed Northeast Trail

We followed the blue blazes for about one half mile to it’s terminus.

blue-blazed Northeast Trail
blue-blazed Northeast Trail

Here we made a left on Clearwater Road. The sign is not readable from this direction as you can see from the image above, but we were able to figure it out.

Clearwater Road
Clearwater Road

We began walking on the red-blazed Clearwater Road which is supposed to be a more secluded area of the preserve, but we didn’t see anyone since we left the top of the crag. This road was at one time the main route over the mountain.

red-blazed Clearwater Road
red-blazed Clearwater Road

In a few minutes we came upon the stone ruins of an historic farmhouse of the Clearwater family on the right. Historic or not, I couldn’t find any info online about this structure.

Clearwater ruins
Clearwater ruins

Just past the ruins, we came to a fork in the road. This is a spot that has confused people in the past, but now there are multiple red blazes which indicate to stay right, which we did.

fork in the road
fork in the road

The red-blazed trail ends at a junction with Farm Road (not to be confused with Spring Farm Road from earlier in the hike), but we continued heading straight and were now following the blue blazes of the Table Rocks Trail. We would retrace our steps back to this junction after visiting Table Rocks. Table Rocks is about a 1/2 mile away from this junction.

junction
junction

The trail led us downhill, which was such an easy walk, but I knew we were going to have to climb it on the way back. We were tired and we still had a lot of hiking left.

Table Rocks Trail
Table Rocks Trail

We arrived at Table Rocks and it was nice. I wasn’t that impressed, but that may have been from fatigue or perhaps I was a bit craggy. The view was impressive, but we were already impressed by the views from the top of the crag.

Table Rocks
Table Rocks

With all the crevices in between the rock slabs, I pictured myself jumping from slab to slab. I was now feeling closer to my age and didn’t have much hops left in me. Damn you father time! I did manage to hop over a few of the crevices, some of which are deeper than I care to know.

Table Rocks
Table Rocks

We sat for a few minutes admiring the view then we were back on the trail. The Table Rocks Trail loops around and brought us right back to where we entered. We turned right by the Table Rocks sign (where we entered) and retraced our steps back up to the junction with Farm Road. It was only about a 1/2 mile, but all uphill. That’s one of the reasons why I wouldn’t repeat this part of the hike. Beautiful area and worth it to do it once, but it did wear me down. Back at the junction, we turned right on Farm Road.

Farm Road
Farm Road

From here it can get confusing because there are many junctions and forks. They made it easier by posting signs every so often indicating the direction of the Spring Farm Trailhead. Whenever we were in doubt, we looked for those signs and spotted them easily.

Spring Farm Trailhead sign
Spring Farm Trailhead sign

Ignoring all forks and bisecting trails, we stayed on Farm Road and arrived at the Slingerland Pavilion.

Slingerland Pavilion
Slingerland Pavilion

The view from Slingerland Pavilion is outstanding. In the image below, to the far right is the Hudson Valley. Moving to the left is Overlook, Indian Head and Twin Mountains respectively.

Slingerland Pavilion view
Slingerland Pavilion view

We were all worn down by now and getting hungry so we trudged on. Farm Road hugged the Slingerland Pavilion and passed by a few outhouses and we stayed right at the fork.

right at fork
right at fork

Following the exit signs, we made our way back towards the parking lot, but there was one more thing we had to see, The Million Dollar View.

Million Dollar View
Million Dollar View

A glorious view indeed, but stick a fork in me cause I’m done. We admired the view for a few minutes, then made a beeline for the vehicle. Next time I come here, I will conquer the crag then come sit here and really enjoy this view. We took off and stopped somewhere to grill some food. Grilled spicy chorizo, spicy shrimp and rice and a cold beer to celebrate not just my birthday, but conquering the crag. Yo Adrian!!!!!! I did it!!!

That’s all folks, I hope that you enjoyed the hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. Now get out there and take a hike!

Pros: The Crag, rock scramble, majestic views, scenic woods, cliffs, Table Rocks, less crowded on weekdays.

Cons: tough hike, crowded on weekends. numerous ups and downs.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silver Mine Lake Loop – Harriman State Park

April 16, 2017 – Woodbury, NY

Difficulty: moderate

Length: approximately 4 miles

Route type: circuit

Map: Harriman-Bear Mountain Trails Map 119

Trailhead parking: Old Silver Mine Ski Center

 

Silver Mine Ski Center was once a popular ski destination. It was shut down in the 1980’s due to inconsistent weather. The Silver Mine area now offers picnic grounds, fishing and hiking.

Old Silver Mine Ski Center
Old Silver Mine Ski Center

I have done several hikes from Silver Mine and have found them all enjoyable. I also like to check out the stone shelters that are scattered throughout the park and this hike provided that opportunity. We arrived at the parking area at about 9:30 am, a later start than I am used to, but better late than never. The weather for this Sunday reached the mid 80’s and windy. Although it was cloudy when we began our hike, it would turn out to be a bright sunny day.  It was finally shorts weather and we were ready to get our hike on.

We began our hike by crossing the bridge over Lewis Brook.

bridge over Lewis Brook
bridge over Lewis Brook

For the first part of the hike we would be following the yellow blazes of the Menomine Trail. The blazes are located along rocks, the bridge and on buildings in this area so they are hard to miss.

bridge over Lewis Brook
bridge over Lewis Brook

Turning left after crossing the bridge, we headed towards Silver Mine Lake.

Silver Mine Lake
Silver Mine Lake

After lingering along the shore momentarily, we then continued on our way along the right side of the lake. Following the yellow blazes which were abundant at the edge of the woods.

Menomine Trail
Menomine Trail

We turned left behind the shack and entered the woods on the southwest end of the lake.

Menomine Trail
Menomine Trail

On a rocky footpath we walked through the woods with the lake to our left.

Menomine Trail
Menomine Trail

We came to an open view of the lake with Black Mountain just beyond.

Silver Mine Lake
Silver Mine Lake

The trail turns right, skirts the lake then turns inland and begins a gradual climb.

Menomine Trail
Menomine Trail

It was swampy in this area and somewhat buggy. I would recommend adding bug spray in the warmer months. The trail wraps around the southern end of the lake where we crossed over a metal pipe, acting as a culvert.

Menomine Trail
Menomine Trail

We rested here briefly until the bugs started annoying me. Of course I was the only one that didn’t apply any bug spray. The Menomine Trail then begins to steepen as it snakes its way uphill. The sun began to come out at this point and and brightened up our day.

Menomine Trail
Menomine Trail

At the top of the rise, the William Brien Memorial Shelter came into view.

William Brien Memorial Shelter
William Brien Memorial Shelter

This stone shelter was built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was originally named the Letterrock Shelter.

William Brien Memorial Shelter
William Brien Memorial Shelter

In 1973 it was renamed in memory of the first president of the New York Ramblers Hiking Club.

William Brien Memorial Shelter
William Brien Memorial Shelter

It has two bunk beds and unlike most shelters in Harriman, it has no fireplace, but it does have two fire rings just outside.

William Brien Memorial Shelter
William Brien Memorial Shelter

Within feet of the shelter is a fallen tree that made a nice seat. We sat there and enjoyed a snack and a beverage. We felt a few drops and commented to each other that if the skies opened up at least we had some shelter from the rain. Luckily the sun shone bright for the rest of the day. Just past the shelter, to the right of the huge jumble of boulders, is where we jumped on the joint white-blazed Appalachian Trail (A.T.) and the red-dot-on-white-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail (R-D).

AT/R-D trail
AT/R-D trail

Thanks to the trail volunteers, the stone steps made it easy to climb the hill.

AT/R-D trail
AT/R-D trail

When we got to the top we stopped for a minute to look down at the shelter from above.

view from above
view from above

This section of trail was quiet and picturesque. We didn’t see anyone on the half mile stretch that we hiked.

AT/R-D trail
AT/R-D trail

There were several ups and downs along the way, but nothing too drastic. I could feel the sun on my neck and it felt good.

AT/R-D trail
AT/R-D trail

The trail then descends at the lowest point between Letterrock and Black Mountains. Here the joint AT/R-D trail continues up steeply to Black Mountain. We turned left onto the unmarked Silver Mine Road road.

Silver Mine Road
Silver Mine Road

This woods road was built in 1934 by workers of the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, it is easily identified by the stone embankments along its sides.

Silver Mine Road
Silver Mine Road

We followed Silver Mine Road downhill as it led us towards the northeast side of the lake.

Silver Mine Road
Silver Mine Road

We came to the northern shore of Silver Mine Lake and sat for a bit and soaked up some rays as we enjoyed the view. Black Mountain is on the left and Letterrock Mountain is just to the right of center.

Silver Mine Lake
Silver Mine Lake

We continued walking on Silver Mine Road as it skirted the lake. We passed by a dam and then Silver Mine Road crosses Queensboro Brook on a wide wooden bridge.

wooden bridge
wooden bridge
Queensboro Brook
Queensboro Brook

When the Silver Mine Road curves to the right, Seven Lakes Road is just up the embankment. A short unmarked trail leads to it and then turning left, in about 1/4 mile the parking area is on the left. Not wanting to do a road walk, we bushwacked through the woods keeping Seven Lakes Drive on our right.

bushwacking
bushwacking

We then arrived at the parking lot and returned to the vehicle. On a side note; When gearing up, I placed my phone on the roof of the car and forgot it there. Upon returning to the vehicle hours later, the phone was still sitting there. I lucked out that no one decided to “borrow” it. Don’t forget to follow my blog to stay up to date on all my journeys. Now get out there and take a hike!

Pros; Lake views, well marked trails, scenic woods, ample parking.

Cons: Swampy in a short section of the Menomine Trail which means bugs in warm weather, no summit views.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bartow Station Ruins – Bronx, NY

April 14, 2017 – Bronx, NY

Difficulty – easy

Location: near 9 Shore Rd, Bronx, NY 10464

 

City Island Road Station, also known as the Bartow Station is hidden in plain sight near the entrance road to the Hutchinson River Parkway. It sits abandoned and in ruins along the tracks, about a 100 feet from Shore Road in the Bronx.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station 

Built for the Harlem River and Port Chester Railroad, a branch line railroad between New York City and Port Chester, New York. The line opened in 1873 as part of the New York, New Haven and Hartford commuter railroad.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

Bartow Station was designed by Cass Gilbert and built in 1908 as a replacement for an existing wooden station in what was then called Bartow-on-the-Sound. After getting off at the station you could connect to a trolley into City Island.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

Built of stone with arched windows and sturdy walls, the station stands at track level.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

From 1910-1913, a monorail ran from Bartow Station throughout City Island. The trolley into City Island ran until 1919 and the Harlem branch ceased passenger service in the 1930’s.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

In 1910, during its inaugural journey, the monorail lurched over, sending scores of people to the hospital.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

With the roof now gone, likely due to fire, all that remains are the brick walls and some steel beams.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

Now it’s a haven for graffiti artists who have tagged the brick walls with their art.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

The wheelbarrow is cable locked to the ladder.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

The chimney still stands tall as it seemingly reaches for the sky.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

We wandered around capturing images and didn’t run into anyone while we were there. I wouldn’t recommend coming here at night for obvious reasons. The vegetation overgrowth will make it difficult to find and navigate through if you visit in the warmer months.

Bartow Station
Bartow Station

Please be advised that the station is very close to an active Amtrak line and take proper precautions if you decide to visit these ruins.

Now get out there and explore!

Get out there and explore!
Get out there and explore!

 

 

 

 

 

Saint Frances Cabrini’s Novitiate Ruins

April 14, 2017 – Dobbs Ferry, NY

Difficulty – easy

Location: St Cabrini Nursing Home 115 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, also called Mother Cabrini, founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Catholic religious institute that was a major support to Italian immigrants. She was the first naturalized citizen of the United States to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church, on July 7, 1946.

Mother Cabrini took over the MacKenzie School for Boys on Broadway in Dobbs Ferry and turned it into Sacred Heart Villa. It opened in 1914 as an orphanage and school on the site where the Mackenzie School building once stood. That building was razed in 1973 to make way for the Nursing Home, which officially opened in 1977 and expanded in 2009.

Sitting behind the nursing home is a castle-like structure that overlooks the Hudson River.

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

There are several versions of how this castle-like structure came to be. One version is that it housed nuns during their period of training and preparation.

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

The other version is that a local priest was building a church for his congregation and found himself with an excess 1,000 cartloads of quartz and granite stone, which he offered to Mother Cabrini.

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

At the sight of the sparkling blue and white stone, she exclaimed, “It looks like a castle!” and she ordered that a large open terrace with rooms on either side be built with a castle-like appearance behind the Villa.

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

It was built somewhere between 1914-1917 and somehow avoided the wrecking ball when they demolished the villa. I visited this “castle” a couple of years ago and most of it was covered with vegetation overgrowth which left just the turrets visible.

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

They have since cleared it of weeds and vines which may indicate a restoration is in its future. The view from the terrace is outstanding, with the Palisades cliffs across the Hudson River.

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

It’s a shame that it has sat in ruins for all these years. Who wouldn’t want to have a castle?

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

It would be great to see this marvelous little castle get a face lift and be returned to its former glory.

St. Cabrini Novitiate
St. Cabrini Novitiate

Disclaimer: Exploring abandoned and/or ruined structures can be dangerous and you could be trespassing. Should you choose to enter the property of any of the places featured on this site, do so legally.

 

 

 

Hook Mountain State Park (North)

April 9, 2017 – Congers, NY

Difficulty: moderate

Length: approximately 6 miles

Max elevation: 556 ft. – total elevation gain: 1413 ft.

Route type: circuit

Map: Hudson Palisades Trails Map

Trailhead parking: Landing Rd, Clarkstown, NY

To early Dutch settlers, Hook Mountain was known as “Verdrietlg Hock,” which means “Tedious Point.” Hook Mountain State Park is a 676-acre undeveloped park, part of the Palisades Interstate Park system, just north of Nyack. It extends along almost seven miles of continuous waterfront and cliff slopes. The Long Path runs along the escarpment above while a bike path follows the river’s edge from Haverstraw Beach State Park to Nyack Beach State Park in Upper Nyack.

Throughout the years, I have visited Hook Mountain many times. I have never explored the northern section so I decided it was time to check it out. The Long Path segment of this hike has quite a few ups and downs, with some of the ups being pretty steep. It is also less traveled than the southern section of Hook Mountain, on the other side of Landing Road. Below is a Google Earth image of the hike route with Rockland Lake just to the left of the red x.

Hike route
Hike route

We arrived at the parking area shortly before 9am on a gorgeous Sunday morning. Temps reached the mid 60’s and practically no wind. A perfect day for a hike. We began by crossing the road and heading north past the barricades and up the hill on the Long Path.

trailhead
trailhead

Just up the hill on the right is the Wells Family Burial Ground. There are 21 graves here with the earliest date being 1831 and the latest 1874. Benedict Wells was the former owner of a large portion of Rockland Lake. He donated land for the hamlet’s church and school. His brother, Thomas Wells, owned property on the north side of the lake.

Wells Family Burial Ground
Wells Family Burial Ground

The first half of this hike, we would be following the Aqua blazes of the Long Path which would take us along the ridge. Just past the cemetery, the trail begins to climb.

the Long Path
the Long Path

As the trail levels off there is an unobstructed viewpoint over the Hudson River to the right of the trail.

 the Long Path
the Long Path

From this viewpoint, Croton Point Park is visible across the Hudson River.

view from Long Path
view from Long Path

Looking northeast, the East Hudson Highlands and beyond is discernible in the distance.

view from Long Path
view from Long Path

As I stated previously, the Long Path portion of this hike has numerous ups and downs. I have hiked the Long Path atop most of the Palisades and this appears to involve the most climbing along the ridge. At times the trail runs along the edge of the cliff with partial views through the leafless trees.

the Long Path
the Long Path
partial view
partial view

It was very peaceful throughout this hike. No road noise, no dogs barking and barely any other people around. In fact we only encountered a few hikers along the first half of the hike. Wildlife was plentiful, but with the exception of a pair of curious deer, they were too quick for my lens.

curious deer
curious deer

We saw a couple of Bald Eagles, a hawk and plenty of Turkey Vultures soaring just above the treeline. Plenty of smaller birds serenaded us as we trudged along the cliffs. I also spotted a Wild Turkey when I ventured off the trail. Chipmunks and Squirrels were abundant throughout the hike as well. After all the numerous elevation changes on the Long Path, we came to a junction with the start of the White-blazed Treason Trail.

White-blazed Treason Trail
White-blazed Treason Trail

According to Daniel Chazin of the NY/NJ Trail Conference, The “treason” after which the trail is named was the famous treasonous act of Benedict Arnold during the Revolutionary War, when he handed over the plans to West Point to the British Major, John Andre.  Supposedly, Benedict met Andre at a large rock along the Hudson River a the base of Hook Mountain known today as “Treason Rock.”  The Treason Trail, which leads down to this rock, was named after this event. Since the top of the cliffs are in such close proximity to the river, this trail is quite steep as it descends on switchbacks.

White-blazed Treason Trail
White-blazed Treason Trail

The White-blazed Treason Trail ends at the Hook Mountain Bike Path, which is paved at this point. An abandoned stone park building is across from the intersection.

White-blazed Treason Trail ends
White-blazed Treason Trail ends

We then took a few minutes to check out the stone building which had seen better days.

abandoned stone park building
abandoned stone park building
abandoned stone park building
abandoned stone park building
abandoned stone park building
abandoned stone park building

We then began heading south with the river on our left and the cliffs to our right.

Hook Mountain Bike Path
Hook Mountain Bike Path
Hook Mountain Bike Path
Hook Mountain Bike Path

The bike path is easy walking and usually quite busy with walkers, runners and bikers, but not on this day. Although we saw people doing all those things I just mentioned, they were few and far between.

Hook Mountain Bike Path
Hook Mountain Bike Path

Just off the trail to the right stands a stone building, built into the hill with a concrete roof. My only guess is that it could have been used to store explosives when the quarries were operational.

stone building with a concrete roof
stone building with a concrete roof

For the most part it was a nice quiet walk along the shore of the Hudson River. The scenery wasn’t bad either.

Hook Mountain Bike Path
Hook Mountain Bike Path

We came to a clearing with a view towards the river and we stopped briefly. Visible directly across is Croton Point Park with the Village of Croton on Hudson just beyond.

view from Hook Mountain Bike Path
view from Hook Mountain Bike Path
view from Hook Mountain Bike Path
view from Hook Mountain Bike Path

As we continued walking on the bike path, we came to the ruins of a small shack that was sitting on the embankment.

ruins of a small shack
ruins of a small shack

We came across several spots that afforded us enjoyable views of the Hudson River.

view of the Hudson River
view of the Hudson River

There are a few ups and downs along this bike path, but nothing like earlier in the hike. At times the path is as high as 80 feet above the river with a steep drop off.

Hook Mountain Bike Path
Hook Mountain Bike Path

Another stone building stands right alongside the bike path.

stone building
stone building

I don’t know the origin of this building, but if I had to guess, I would say that this may have had something to do with the park. It has similar characteristics as some of the other park buildings.

stone building
stone building

Looking up we could see where we were hiking earlier in the day.

Hook Mountain
Hook Mountain

Then we passed another stone shack.

stone shack
stone shack

This hike was chock full of ruins. I was pleasantly surprised at all the ruined buildings we saw. Most are either right alongside the path or within feet of it. As we continued on the bike path, you guessed it, another ruined building right beside the path.

ruined building
ruined building

This building could have been a restroom due to the multiple sinks that are laying around.

ruined building
ruined building

Although the history of these buildings may have faded with time, I am glad that they haven’t been demolished.

ruined building
ruined building

Across from the building is another pleasant view of Westchester County. We stopped here and enjoyed it.

pleasant view
pleasant view

We continued walking on the bike path until we came to a junction with another park road. Here we made a sharp right and began walking up the hill.

junction
junction

Just past a stone building, now used as a private residence, are two more old buildings. The first one resembles a stockade, although I have no idea what its purpose was.

stockade?
stockade?

A little further into the woods, a bigger stone structure is visible from the park road.

bigger stone structure
bigger stone structure

After checking out these two interesting buildings, we resumed walking up the park road, back to the parking area where our hike began. It was about 2:30pm and every available parking spot was taken with cars parked along both sides of the road.

park road
park road

This hike although exhausting, had many points of interest and was quite enjoyable. I hope that you enjoyed the hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. Until next time, now get out there and take a hike!

Pros: Mostly secluded, cliffs, wildlife, views, ruins galore, scenic trails, Hudson River.

Cons: numerous steep ups and downs.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!

Ramapo Valley County Reservation

April 2, 2017 – Mahwah, New Jersey

Difficulty: moderate – strenuous

Length: approximately 5 miles

Route type: circuit

Map: Ramapo Reservation Trail Map (2016 updated newly blazed trails)

Trailhead parking: 608 Ramapo Valley Rd Oakland, NJ 07436

 

Ramapo Valley County Reservation is Bergen County’s largest park and is located on the edge of the Highlands Region. It was designated a Wilderness Area in 1972 with 741 acres of open space. The reservation now boasts over 4,000 acres of permanent open space. Several trails connect with bordering Ringwood State Park to the north and the Ramapo Mountain State Forest to the south. It’s a great place for a midday walk, a morning trail run, or a weekend hike with the family. It does get crowded the closer you are to the parking area.

The past month or so I have been I have been battling Bronchitis and have been relegated to easier hikes as I recovered. Now feeling better it was time to do a more rigorous one. Trying to stay away from snow covered trails, we decided on Ramapo Valley County Reservation. During the summer of 2016, volunteers of the NY/NJ Trail Conference, in cooperation with the Bergen County Department of Parks, created a new network of loop trails in the core area of the Reservation, making trails easier to follow. The project involved re-blazing 6 miles of existing trails and constructing 1.2 miles of new trails.

We arrived at the parking area at about 9:30am on a beautiful Sunday morning. It was sunny and the temperature reached 60 degrees. A perfect day to spend in the woods. The parking lot had a good number of cars when we arrived, but was completely full when we got back about 2:30pm, with people waiting for others to leave so they could park.

We began our hike at the southwest corner of the parking area and picked up the Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail.

Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail
Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail

We walked down a few steps and proceeded straight towards the steel truss bridge which spans the Ramapo River.

steel truss bridge
steel truss bridge
Ramapo River
Ramapo River

We continued straight after crossing the bridge, walking on a wide dirt road. Since it was relatively early, there weren’t too many people around. On our return, this road was packed.

Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail
Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail

We walked along the shore of Scarlet Oak Pond, which was on our right. We stopped here briefly to capture a few images.

Scarlet Oak Pond
Scarlet Oak Pond

Once past the pond, there is a tree with four Yellow blazes, indicating the start of the loop. We turned right, heading north along the western shore of Scarlet Oak Pond for about 500 feet. The Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail now turns left and crosses a wooden footbridge.

wooden footbridge
wooden footbridge

The trail now begins to climb on a moderately steep grade.

Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail
Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail

We stopped once or twice to catch or breath then arrived at Hawk Rock, which would provide us with our first view of the day.

Hawk Rock
Hawk Rock

Looking down to the right, we could see Scarlet Oak Pond, which we had just walked by minutes earlier.

View from Hawk Rock
View from Hawk Rock

The Vista Loop Trail now becomes steep and rocky as we continued our ascent.

Vista Loop Trail
Vista Loop Trail

After leveling off, the trail arrives at Cactus Ledge, which offers a similar viewpoint as Hawk Rock, but from a higher elevation. The NYC skyline is also visible from here.

view from Cactus Ledge
view from Cactus Ledge

At this spot there are some Prickly Pear Cactus, the only native American cactus that grows east of the Rocky Mountains. So now we know how this scenic vista got its name.

Prickly Pear Cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus

As we resumed our hike, the Vista Loop Trail becomes a little wider and much less steep.

Vista Loop Trail
Vista Loop Trail

It then comes to a junction and the triple-green-on-white blaze marks the start of the Halifax Trail.

start of the Halifax Trail
start of the Halifax Trail

The Halifax Trail gradually descends through the woods and crosses a wide gas pipeline cut. When we got to the pipeline cut, we had to stop and look for blazes. None were visible, but a footpath just off to the right, caught my eye. Once we started walking on the footpath, the blazes became noticeable.

Halifax Trail
Halifax Trail

At the base of the descent, the Halifax Trail turns left onto a woods road which passes through Havemeyer Hollow. We had now hiked about two miles.

Halifax Trail - Havemeyer Hollow
Halifax Trail – Havemeyer Hollow

The trail was swampy in some spots so we walked along the edge of the road/trail.

Halifax Trail - Havemeyer Hollow
Halifax Trail – Havemeyer Hollow

There are several abandoned cars along this trail, but they were so far gone that there was not much left of them. We did not encounter any other hikers along this stretch of trail.

abandoned car
abandoned car

In about 1/4 mile, we reached a junction with the purple-blazed Havemeyer Trail. This was the way we were going, but first we took a short side trip. We wanted to check out a set of ruins just ahead on the Halifax Trail, but we had to cross Havemeyer Brook to proceed on the Halifax Trail.

Havemeyer Brook - Halifax Trail
Havemeyer Brook – Halifax Trail

The brook was running strong and we didn’t want to get wet. This seemed to be the place to cross, but it is also the widest point in this area. We walked up and down a few feet, but it was knee deep in some areas. Luckily, my hiking partners had trekking poles, so I borrowed one and we rock hopped across Havemeyer Brook. There was another car a few feet past the brook crossing that was mangled beyond recognition.

abandoned car
abandoned car

A few feet past the mangled car, there is a stone wall and just beyond, is the Halifax ruins.

Halifax ruins
Halifax ruins

They weren’t that impressive and not really worth the side trip, but it is listed on the map, so here we were. I even walked up the trail a bit just to make sure that this was indeed the ruins we were looking for………they were.

Halifax ruins
Halifax ruins

We then retraced our steps back to the brook and crossed back over. We didn’t get wet so in hindsight it was kind of fun.

Havemeyer Brook - Halifax Trail
Havemeyer Brook – Halifax Trail

We then turned right and began a steep climb up the Purple-blazed Havemeyer Trail. This was probably the hardest part of the hike, in part due to dirt bikes creating a rut in the trail along some of the steepest sections.

purple-blazed Havemeyer Trail
purple-blazed Havemeyer Trail

We kept a pretty steady pace up, only stopping briefly to catch our breath. A pair of hikers passed us on their way down, but we did not see anyone else on this trail.

purple-blazed Havemeyer Trail
purple-blazed Havemeyer Trail

At the top of the hill, the White Trail comes in from the right and joins the Havemeyer Trail. The purple and white blazes run jointly for about 500 feet on a mostly level route, passing more stone walls on the right.

joint Havemeyer Trail and White Trail
joint Havemeyer Trail and White Trail

When the purple blazes depart to the right, we continued straight ahead on the White Trail, which soon begins to climb very gently.

Havemeyer Trail and White Trail junction
Havemeyer Trail and White Trail junction

Walking along the White Trail, we could hear dirt bikes/ATVs motoring through the woods. We didn’t encounter any, but they weren’t too far away. No other hikers on this trail but us.

White Trail
White Trail

After a steep climb, it was enjoyable just strolling through the woods knowing that it was all downhill from here.

White Trail
White Trail

We came to the route of the same gas pipeline that we crossed earlier, picking up the White Trail on the other side.

White Trail
White Trail

The White Trail ends at a t-intersection with the Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail, which comes in from the left. We veered slightly right and were now following the yellow blazes.

White Trail terminus
White Trail terminus

In about 500 feet, the Blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail joins from the right. We now followed both the blue and yellow blazes as they led us downhill.

Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail/Blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail
Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail/Blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail

In about another 500 feet, the trails split and we turned right and followed the Yellow-blazes up the hill. I saw a unmarked footpath to the left and we took it to a rock outcrop that is known as the Ridge Overlook.

view from Ridge Overlook
view from Ridge Overlook

When we got to the overlook, there was one guy sitting enjoying the view. In a few minutes about 20 people came pouring out onto the rock outcrop and we headed out.

view from Ridge Overlook
view from Ridge Overlook

Another nice view of New York City can be had from here on a clear day.

view from Ridge Overlook
view from Ridge Overlook

We retraced our steps back to the Blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail and turned right heading down the hill.

Blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail
Blue-blazed Ridge Loop Trail

We spotted a small Garter Snake slithering close to the trail.

Garter Snake
Garter Snake

At the base of the descent, the Ridge Loop Trail reaches a wide woods road, with blue blazes going in both directions. We turned right and followed the Ridge Loop Trail uphill for about 650 feet and crossed a bridge over a stream with some nice cascades.

bridge over a stream
bridge over a stream

Almost immediately after crossing the bridge, we turned left onto the Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail. Now on a footpath in the woods, we walked along the stream which had numerous cascades.

Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail
Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail

Since we were walking downstream, we had to keep looking over our shoulder to view the cascades.

cascade
cascade

The trail then turns left and crosses the stream on a wooden footbridge.

wooden footbridge
wooden footbridge

Right after crossing the bridge, we turned right onto the Green-dot-on-Orange-blazed River Trail which runs close to the Ramapo River. As we neared the river two hikers that were coming from the opposite direction told us the trail was flooded. We then turned around and returned to the Yellow-blazed Vista Loop Trail and turned right. We followed the trail back to the parking area. Along this stretch of the trail, it was jam packed with people. I wanted to relax by Scarlet Oak Pond and decompress a little while before driving, but there were people at every turn. When we got back to the parking lot, people were waiting for spots. Not wanting to get right in the car and start driving, we stood around enjoying a beverage after a rigorous hike. At least six people asked me if I was leaving so they could take my spot. I was feeling tired, but no worse for wear.

I hope that you enjoyed the hike and please don’t forget to follow my blog. See you next time, now get out there and take a hike!

Pros: Scenic vistas, streams, cascades, ruins, well marked trails.

Cons: Way too many people the closer you get to the parking area.

Take a hike!
Take a hike!