Tag Archives: Circuit Hikes in Harriman

The Promise Of Summer Hiking

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Summer at its finest in the Hudson Valley.

“Only by going alone in silence, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.”

-John Muir

Since my hiking last summer added up to an incredible almost 118 miles, needless to say, I have bigger plans for this summer. My first plan and goal? Not to do anything stupid that will end my hiking excursions in literally a second.

With that said, I am planning hikes all over the Hudson Valley. Bear Mt., Harriman State Park, hikes East of the Hudson, West of the Hudson and Fahnestock State Park. Anything and everything is fair game once the summer gets started.

I remember two years ago when I based many of my hikes from a book by Don Weise entitled, Circuit Hikes in Harriman, 35 Loop Hikes, and Trail Runs in Harriman and Bear Mt. State Parks and 50 Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley by Stella Green & Neil Zimmerman. I had carefully planned out each hike carefully according to what is listed in the book. Filled with awesome views, each of the hikes that I completed were worth every step. This year, I can leave the book with either the page number or the number of the hike so folks know where I am.

Obviously, I still have several hikes from both books that I have not done so with the exception of a very few, I am going to try and do all new hikes.

And of course I’ll beat that dead horse again: My primary goal will be overall safety and hydration. I am way too old to do a repeat of last summer.

So what are the first five hikes am I looking at this summer?

  1. Anthony’s Nose-Only in the very early morning and on a weekday. Any other time and it becomes an overcrowded nightmare of city folks and small children. (Not that I have anything against these folks, but I do my best to stay away from the Nose on Friday’s and weekends.)
  2.  Parker Cabin Mountain-Chapter 10 in Circuit Hikes. Although I haven’t done this hike, the book boasts five summits and 1,640 feet of vertical climbing in a relatively short five miles. This could be a tough one.
  3. Pine Swamp Mountain-Chapter 18 in Circuit Hikes. Another hike I haven’t done, this six mile easy to moderate hike promises views of the remnants of several large iron mines.
  4. Hasenclever Mine-Yet another hike from Circuit Hikes that I have not done, this one offers a shorter hike and a longer one with views of rock formations, a Civil War Cemetery, and of course, Hasenclever Mine (chapter 19).
  5. Second Reservoir-Chapter 32 in Circuit Hikes, this falls under the category of Trail Runs and Walks. At almost nine miles, the book says you will see scenic lakes and wetlands on this hike.

Of course, the objective is to do many more than the five listed above,  but these are ones that caught my eye from reading the descriptions in the book and that I would like to do first.

As always, HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

Lake Wanoksink (13)

‘Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…”
― John Muir

Starting at the Lake Sebago boat launch, the blue blazed Seven Hills trails begins as soon as you cross Seven Lakes Drive. Like many of the hikes in this area, as soon as you enter the woods you begin a punishing climb. This one happens to go on for approximately half of a mile. The pictures below show the steepness going up and down the trail. On the left is the climb up. Since this is a loop hike, the picture on the right is the hike down.

The trail continues moving downhill until you begin another ascent where the Seven Hills Trail veers sharply off to the right  and for a brief time becomes Woodtown Road West. After about a quarter of a mile, you make a sharp left turn and begin walking on Pine Meadow Road West.

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The point on the Seven Hills Trail where it becomes Woodtown Road West.

Although this sign is pretty big and prominently placed where it can’t be missed, people still drop water bottles, trash and yes, even diapers on the trail and the side of the trail.

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You would think that this sign was self explanatory…

Stay on this road until you intersect with the end of the yellow blazed Buck Trail and then make a right turn onto Pine Meadow Road East. Although the Harriman-Bear Mountain Southern Trail Map 118 is pretty detailed about where you need to go, these roads are unmarked and some trails and other roads veer off to the left and right all along your route. At one point I did make a wrong turn but with good results. I stumbled upon these ruins and I took a short break to rest and take some pictures.

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After doubling back to the correct trail, I eventually got to the shores of Lake Wanoksink where because of  the weather, the views weren’t that great. It’s still an interesting picture!

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Lake Wanoksink

Once you head around the lake, take some time to walk across the earthen dam where if you look to your left, you see this bridge that you will soon cross over.

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Happy hiking!!!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

7/25/17-7.1-65.72

Second Reservoir (10)

“One step at a time is good walking.”
–   Chinese Proverb

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

-Henry David Thoreau

For today’s hike I went back to Don Weise’s Circuit Hikes in Harriman. Last summer I tried several of his hikes and I really enjoyed the variety of what he had to offer. This hike, starting at the Lake Sebago boat launch, stayed primarily on woods roads. Despite a steady ascent right after you turn on to the road from Seven Lakes Drive, the rest of the hike spent more time rolling through the woods rather than climbing unreasonably steep hills.

Along with some walking in the general area of the lake, this hike measured 10.1 miles.

Since it is covered in detail in chapter 32 of Don Weise’s book, I won’t spend much any time going into the logistics of the hike.  Instead, take a look at the pictures that I took along the way.

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Pine Meadow Road

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An awesome sign about a mile into the hike.

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Cranberry Mountain Trail

 

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Another view of the Second Reservoir

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A snake on the trail.

Summer 2017 Mileage:

7/17/17-10.1-50.92

 

 

 

A Variation on the Doodletown Bridle Path (2nd Attempt)

***I received several messages yesterday saying that the pictures associated with this post could not be viewed. I am reposting the hike from yesterday and hopefully they will come out. If they don’t, please leave me a reply. Thanks to everyone who let me know yesterday!

“In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.”

-Henry Rollins

We are enjoying another beautiful day here in the Hudson Valley. It appears as though winter has left us and spring will take hold until summer crashes down upon us (in a couple of days!) So, a great day means a great hike. Today, my daughter and I went into Bear Mt. and did a variation on one of the hikes in Circuit Hikes In Harriman. I got to spend some quality time with my daughter and got some fantastic pictures. Spring continues to be an awesome time to hike and get recharged for summer.

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A Variation on the Doodletown Bridle Path

“In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.”

-Henry Rollins

We are enjoying another beautiful day here in the Hudson Valley. It appears as though winter has left us and spring will take hold until summer crashes down upon us (in a couple of days!) So, a great day means a great hike. Today, my daughter and I went into Bear Mt. and did a variation on one of the hikes in Circuit Hikes In Harriman. I got to spend some quality time with my daughter and got some fantastic pictures. Spring continues to be an awesome time to hike and get recharged for summer.
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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

 

Lake Sebago and Skenonto-I Dub Thee…Solitude…

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”
― John Muir

“In solitude there is healing. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.”

Dodinsky

WOW!!! All I can say about this hike is solitude…If you are looking for hike where after being on the trail for less than a mile you pretty much don’t see or hear any signs of civilization, then this is your hike. Of course this is just another quality hike that I got from Don Weise’s book, Circuit Hikes in Harriman-35 Loop Hikes and Trail Runs in Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks. (I completed this hike on 7/13/16).

If you look at this hike on the map, it resembles a melting lollipop!

Starting off at the end of Johnsontown Road (which is a circle), the beginning of the trail is clearly marked with horizontal white bars.

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The beginning of the trail immediately starts heading uphill, although slightly and for a short period is, at first, a mixture of dirt and road. As you move deeper into the woods and away from everything, the trail goes through many variations and runs the gamut from dirt to rocks to a fine grassy surface.

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A pleasant surprise that I had on the trail today was the wildlife that I encountered. Usually I don’t get to close to many animals, but today, I could have reached down and touched the rabbit that you see in this picture. It was truly amazing!

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I am not going to lie, I love rabbits!

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The trail, meandering its way through the woods, continues to move uphill ever so slightly and at times you don’t even notice that you have been gaining any elevation until you turn around and look at where you have been.

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Although you do spend time on trails at the start, you also find yourself traversing a woods road that is easy to walk on. As I have noted on other hikes, this is also one in which you could introduce small children to the joys of hiking.

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One and a half miles into your trip you will pass the Dutch Doctor Trail on your right. You will also encounter this shelter again on the return trip, this time on your left side.

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One of the other scenic wonders that are in abundance in this area are the isolated and stray boulders that just appear to be cast throughout the park. These boulders seem to have just been placed where they are by some unseen force.

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Continue to follow the white bar trail for 1.75 miles where you will see the start of the yellow triangle trail. This, and the victory trail (later) will signify the head of the lollipop. Stay to your right and now follow the yellow triangle trail.

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One of the more unique things that I did notice after I moved on to the yellow triangle trail was the almost immediate change in the terrain of the trail. The triangle trail represented a calmer, more meditative and deliberative approach to this hike. Notice how the lush woods seem to envelop you as you become one with the terrain. It is more earthen and the sound of your boots striding along the trail signifies the solitude that I was seeking.

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At almost three miles, you will be able to see Lake Sebago on your right. I decided at this point to stop for a water and picture break.

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The trail becomes a little tricky at this point as you should continue on to the right along the shores of Lake Sebago. The markings aren’t that clear, but even if you follow what looks like what should be the obvious trail, you will end up back on the yellow trail triangle trail shortly. Staying on this trail, you will eventually come to the shores of Lake Skenonto.

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After you spend some time at Lake Skenonto, a short walk will bring you to the Blue “V” (victory) trail (this is a woods road for the time you will be on it). As it was another incredibly humid morning, it was a great relief to find that when I turned onto this trail, a strong breeze began to blow. Luckily and thankfully, this breeze stayed with me for the rest of the hike.

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After walking on this road for almost a half of a mile, you will see the familiar markings of the horizontal white bars that you had left to go on the yellow trail. Turn left here and you will now stay on this trail for the remaining three miles of your hike.

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Please note that once you turn back onto the white bar trail, it begins a nice uphill climb that will get you breathing pretty hard! As you move up the hill, feel free to periodically look to your right to enjoy the views.

After you crest the hill, you will start a descent that takes you to the end of your hike.

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Another interesting rock formation.

As I noted at the start of this post, this is an excellent hike if you are looking to get away from everything for a few hours and still get a good workout. During this hike I heard nothing but birds singing, chipmunks and squirrels running through the woods and the distant sound of freight trains. The breeze, which I gladly welcomed on the latter part of the hike, provided its own mystical soundtrack as I moved through the woods. There were no car horns, trucks, anything that resembled the civilized world.  To say that it was bliss would be an understatement.

That is why I dub thee…solitude.

Another awesome hike!!!