Tag Archives: Appalachian Trail

The Fahnestock Special (again and again)

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

-Nhat Hanh
“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet”
-Nhat Hanh
 

One of the best things about hiking this time of year is you get to see the woods come back to life literally right before your eyes after a long winter. If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I have a 2.7 mile hike in Fahnestock State Park that I enjoying doing when I don’t have much time but have the need to get out on the trail. In the last couple of weeks I have done this hike several times and the change I have witnessed is nothing short of remarkable!

This is why I hike!!!

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The Appalachian Trail

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When thru hikers go to cross route 301, they will see this sign.

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A waterfall after almost three inches of rain four days ago.

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Quite simply-a dandelion.

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Compare this to other pictures from the hike a couple of weeks ago. What a difference!!!!

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The AT headed back to Route 301.

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More of the AT.

 

The Calm Before the Storm

The A.T. calls me

Boots on the trail, walking

Lost in thought, my peace

The weather forecast here in the Hudson Valley of NY is not good for the next several days. They are saying we could get several inches of rain from late  tomorrow through Sunday. Knowing that I won’t be able to get out for a hike this weekend, I decided to take yet another trip to the Nose. As you know from previous posts, a hike to the Nose is never disappointing! Here is what it looks like in May.

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Bear Mt. from the Nose in May.

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Northwest from the Nose.

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Looking south towards the Timp.

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Horn Hill Bike Path X2-Walking Meditation

“The mind can go in a thousand directions, but on this beautiful path, I walk in peace. With each step, the wind blows. With each step, a flower blooms.”

-Nhat Hanh
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”
-Nhat Hanh
“Walk so that your footprints bear only the marks of peaceful joy and complete freedom. To do this you have to learn to let go. Let go of your sorrows, let go of your worries. That is the secret of walking meditation.”
-Nhat Hanh

 

Last summer I did a whole bunch of hikes from a book called, Circuit Hikes In Harriman by Don Weise. Today (4/11/17), I was going to do a pretty lengthy hike but when my daughter asked if she could go hiking again today (WOW!!), I decided to do this relatively easy loop in Harriman State Park.

Once again, the difference in what the woods look like from season to season is truly amazing. Five and a half miles later, I think that I got some pretty decent photos.

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The start of the Horn Hill Bike Path. Nice and flat!

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Canada Geese feeding a pond next to the trail.

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The same geese…

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Trees along the trail.

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The Appalachian Trail crosses this trail at two points during the hike.

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The AT headed south towards Georgia.

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Looking south behind us on the trail.

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As you hike along the bike path, the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail crosses its path. Here are some nice stone steps to help you on your way.

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Beechy Bottom Road

 

Hiking The A.T.

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I seek fellowship

On the white blazes of life.

Quiet steps blurred

By the shadows of hikers

Marching on the open path,

Seeking answers to

Everything, finding inner

Peace on the worn earth, 

Each step a reminder of

A fomer life left behind

Skunk + Bear = One Very Interesting Hike

 

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“I’ll call if I break a leg or get eaten by a bear.”
“Play like a rock.”
“Now?”
“No, if a bear starts eating you.”
I thought for a moment before replying. “Do they have screaming, sobbing rocks, ’cause that’s probably what I’ll be doing if a bear is gnawing my arm off.”
“It would be difficult to just lay there and be eaten alive, huh?”
“Ya think?”
― Darynda Jones

Well folks, without a doubt, today’s adventure will be in The Zen Hiker’s top two or three hikes of all time. After looking at the weather and seeing a forecast for severe storms later in the day, I decided to get out really early to beat the storms as well as the heat. Leaving my house at 4:00 am, I got to the parking lot at the Bear Mt. Inn at about 4:45. Even though it was cooler than previous mornings, the humidity was still oppressive enough where walking across the field to the trail had me sweating.

Now before I get into why this will rank in the top hikes I have ever done, I have tell you that the work that has been done rerouting the AT from the Bear Mt. Inn to the road (about 3/4 of the way up) is phenomenal. At Hessian Lake they have added a section that is almost like a tutorial for people who may be new to hiking. As you walk through this miniature AT, an old stone building stands guard as you make your way towards the rerouted section that leads to Perkins Memorial Tower.

 

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Bizarre encounter #1- I will call it-“Seriously? A skunk?”

As I  walked along the edge of the building, the only sound I could hear was my boots scuffing the ground and the click clack of my hiking poles. Approaching the end of the building, I was getting myself mentally ready for the next two miles that I knew were going to be totally up hill. Without warning, and providing enough of a scare that a string of expletives flew from my lips, a skunk of enormous proportions waddled around the corner. Now if the skunk could have screamed, I am positive that it would have.

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To the right of this beautiful old stone building was were the skunk and I had our brief but memorable encounter.

Instead, unintentionally and without malice, I happened to be so close to Mr. Skunk that I kicked it right in the head, scaring the crap out of me as well as my new friend. Obviously luck was with me because as I took off running in one direction, the skunk took off in the other. When I stopped running, my mind was racing because I thought for sure that I had been sprayed and that at any second the not so pleasant odor of skunk would overwhelm me. For whatever reason, be it the shock of the surprise of literally running into each other or just dumb luck, I had been spared the horror and discomfort of the skunks primary defense system. Heading up the trail, thankfully the only somewhat bad odor that I noticed was me.

The work done by the trail crews is really unbelievable. Carefully manicured, the trail led to stone steps that quickly and steeply zig zagged its way up the side of the mountain.

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The wonderful thing about the trail now is that although the climb is steep, the space between each step is just about perfect and after each climb, the trail levels off for a period to give you a chance to recover.

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One of the things that I wanted to make sure that I captured on this hike was the sun rising from other side of the Hudson. For once, you will be able to see the nose from Bear Mt., instead of the other way around. Something new!

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Anthony’s Nose as seen from Bear Mt.

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Bear Mt. Bridge and Anthony’s Nose

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The morning sky 

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The whole reason for doing this hike was to get to Perkins Memorial Tower. On any weekend day during the summer (and some weekdays as well), this entire area will be filled with people. Cars fill each parking spot, hikers appear and disappear from the myriad of trails that intersect in and around the area of the tower and the level of solitude is zero. I would not recommend this hike if peace and quiet are what you are looking for.

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Perkins Memorial Tower at Bear Mt. Elevation 1284 feet

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Bizarre animal encounter #2 which I will call-“Is he really coming after me?”

Ok. Now for more fun stuff. As I was returning back to the Inn on the AT, part of the trail goes down a stretch of road. Since it was still early, the only sounds I could hear were the Metro North trains ferrying the sad masses to the city to their jobs. Shortly after coming out of the woods and onto the road, I heard clapping and yelling. My first thought was BEAR! Since the commotion was coming from the direction I was headed, I slowed down and kept my eyes on the woods. No more than a couple of minutes passed when I looked to my left and saw this:

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Granted, this may not have been the biggest bear, but it was a bear nonetheless. Now, in my many years of hiking, I have encountered probably every other type of animal you would expect to see. I have even seen numerous rattlesnakes! But I have never, ever encountered a bear. Not until today. As I snapped the pictures above, I was happy because the bear seemed spooked and was moving away from me. To keep him hopefully heading in a direction away from me, I put my camera away and slowly made my way down the trail. As I did, I noticed my second new friend of the day turn and head directly to where I was walking.

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He found his way up to the road and started following  me. Needless to say, I wasn’t that thrilled to have a bear stalking me. Of course my mind was now racing again with thoughts on what I would do if he actually came after me. Do I lay down and play dead? Do I yell and make noise like the guy I heard just a few minutes ago? (Obviously whatever he did had him moving directly towards me.) Do I run for my life and hope that he isn’t that hungry? I wasn’t really sure. All I knew was I would rather almost step on another rattlesnake instead of deal with this guy! Luck was with me again as the bizarre cat and mouse game only went on for about fifteen minutes before he turned into the woods again and headed towards the tower.

Was I really that nervous when I initially saw the bear? Not really. My trepidation came when I thought that he had decided to turn me into his next meal. Of course as I think about it now, that probably wouldn’t have happened, but at the time, I was picturing myself being seasoned by my furry friend. Time to get some pepper spray.

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Looking north on a hazy morning.

Happy hiking everyone!!!!

 

 

The Nose in Black and White

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

-John Muir

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
–Aristotle

“Details of the many walks I made along the crest have blurred, now, into a pleasing tapestry of grass and space and sunlight.”
–  Colin Fletcher

Today (8/2/16) I went to Anthony’s Nose again. Since I have written about my travels to the Nose several times, I am finding it more and more difficult to find ways to describe and chronicle just how great this hike is. As you may or may not know, my hikes to the Nose are what I use to get my mind straight. It doesn’t matter that I have traveled from South Mountain Pass to the Nose countless times, the anticipation and eventual hike are always physically demanding but at the same time mentally soothing.

In order to give you all a little bit of a different perspective of the hike to the Nose, all of the pictures that I took today are in black and white. I will admit that I do have a preference for B & W photos, so I look forward to seeing what you think.

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South Mt. pass at the start and end of the hike.

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The AT headed up to the Nose

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The view off of the AT into the woods.

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More climbing as you make your way up.

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Just to the right on the road is Camp Smith, a National Guard training facility. It is clearly marked as being “Off Limits.” You will be arrested if you are caught trespassing!!!!!

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On your return from the Nose this will be your final climb of the hike.

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One of the things that I really have not mentioned in any of my posts is that there is a viewpoint almost at the Nose where you have this incredible view looking north on the Hudson River.

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Although you can’t see it, West Point is located on the left side of the picture.

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Sugar Loaf Mountain (another excellent hike)

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A wider view taken from the same spot as the first picture.

Five minutes away from this viewpoint is Anthony’s Nose. Here are some pictures taken of Bear Mt., Iona Island, The Torne and the Bear Mt. Bridge.

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The Bear Mt. Bridge is obviously to the right with Bear Mt. to the left of the bridge and the playing fields are all of the way on the left of the picture. 

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The Torne

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A hat without a head.

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Looking south towards NYC

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A final view of Bear Mt.

So another excellent hike to the Nose ends. I hope that you enjoy the pictures, as different as they may be.

Happy hiking!!!!!!

 

 

 

Another take on the Nose

Since I have written about my love of Anthony’s Nose and you have seen many, many pictures of it before, I will only share  with you the new pictures that I took this time (7/15/16). I can tell you that I didn’t see anyone on the way up, on the top or on the way down. It was bliss!

I usually don’t get up to the Nose early enough to catch its silhouette as the sun rises behind it. Today, however,  although it was somewhat hazy, it wasn’t bad enough to ruin the picture.

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Even though people have been flying the American Flag at the Nose for years, this is the first time that I have seen a Marine Corps flag flying with it!  I wish that the wind had been blowing the other way because I couldn’t get to the other side of the flag without risking life and limb. Very treacherous!

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If you have some time, research Hessian Lake, which is located at the bottom of Bear Mountain.

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As you look to the right of the Nose, you will find another excellent hike that will take you to the “Torne.”

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And finally, this huge cairn that has made an appearance since the last time I was here. This had to have taken hours to complete!

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And of course the cairn with my signature day pack pose:

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If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again-You gotta love the Nose!!!!

Happy hiking everyone!