Tag Archives: Harriman State Park

And The Winner Is…The Rocks!

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There once was a guy named Mike,

And boy did he like to hike.

Into the woods and onto the trail,

Walking and walking so he could tell a good tale.

Then came that morning, on a hot day in June,

When he strapped on the pack and it ended too soon.

The rain had come heavily, the whole night before,

It seemed that the rocks had to settle a score.

As he walked on those rocks, and he breathed in the air,

The hiking was good, and he had not a care.

Then all at once, he started to slide,

With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

His foot then then got caught and he heard a strange snap,

Oh what had happened? Was it some kind of trap?

As he lay on the ground, the situation was grim,

He knew it was bad, his head started to swim.

One short week later, after the surgery was done,

It was obvious and true that the rocks, they had won.

Happy Hiking!!!

 

 

 

I Learned My Lesson The Hard Way…

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I learned the hard way last week the importance of staying hydrated while you are hiking. At the age of 53, I have been hiking for over 40 years and you would have thought that with that much experience out in the woods, I would have known enough to stay adequately hydrated.

Before my backpacking trip began last Wednesday, I went on a couple of short conditioning hikes on Monday and Tuesday just to keep my legs loose for what I knew was going to be three pretty strenuous days of hiking.

Thinking back now, I remember that the days weren’t that hot, and since I knew the hikes were not that long, I didn’t drink that much water. Feeling fine on Wednesday morning, I drank several Nalgene bottles of water and a bottle of Gatorade before I even left the house.

Since it was so hot and humid, I knew that I would be sweating heavily and would have to take appropriate measures from becoming dehydrated. Although I did drink several bottles of water over the course of the day, it wasn’t enough.

Ok. Why am I telling you this? As expected Day One was very warm and humid. I know that I did not drink enough water during the day to replenish the fluids that I had lost. I was exhausted when we reached the shelter for the evening and set about getting more water. That night it did rain quite heavily and we were lucky enough to trap enough water off of the roof to keep three hikers satiated for the day (and more).

As I found out later, however, in my case the damage had already been done. Despite having consumed 128 ounces of water prior to starting Day Two, I knew something was up as soon as I began hiking. I was dizzy and I had some difficulty at times maintaining my balance. Unfortunately, I attributed this to my being tired as well as the weight of my pack.

Approximately one mile into the hike, disaster struck. I hit a wet spot on a glacial rock, lost my balance and slid into a v-shaped rock, snapping my left ankle. Immediately I became dizzy and incoherent, Even the most simple tasks proved to be impossible. Knowing that I wasn’t walking out of the woods, my friends called 911 and we waited.

While we waited for the Park Rangers, I tried to drink water and couldn’t keep it down. I vomited several times and actually lost consciousness. When I finally got to the hospital they ran blood tests and it was determined that I was in Renal Failure.

Luckily, after 5 days of IV’s and copious amounts of water, my kidney functioning returned to normal and I was able to have surgery.

What is the moral of my story?? Even if you think you  have consumed enough water on a hike or if you are on an extended trip, drink some more. As I look back now, my kidneys were already starting to fail even before I began my three day backpacking trip. Drink, drink and drink!

To supplement my tale of woe, I am including the links to three articles that directly deal with the subject of staying hydrated.

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hydrate.html

https://northcountrytrail.org/7-tips-to-stay-hydrated-while-hiking/

https://www.thehikinglife.com/health-safety/hydration/

Happy Hiking and Happy Reading!!!

Day Two-Trouble Ahead!

Knowing that water may be hard to come by for the nine mile hike on day two, my hiking partners rigged up a pretty simple water containment system to catch as much water as possible. Over night we did have several hours pouring rain and thunderstorms which made capturing the water that much easier.

When all was said and done, we collected and purified around 5 gallons of nice cold water!

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Collecting water at the Bald Rocks Shelter.

Now the fun begins! Leaving the shelter at around 10 am, we got back on the Ramapo Dunderberg trail and began our day! The terrain in this part of Harriman is just spectacular. Geologists believe that millions of years ago this area of New York may have been part of South America. It always amazes me that rocks end up where they do and stay there!

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Beautiful scenery a half mile into the hike.

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A couple of tenths of a mile from disaster!

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Although the rocks shown in these pictures are dry, when you got the end of one and it turned back into trail, the rock proved to be very slippery.  As I was coming down off of the rock in the third picture from the top, I began sliding and I lost my balance. My left foot became wedged between two rocks as I stopped, my forward momentum kept me moving.

End result? A fractured left ankle and a subsequent surgery to repair it.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #21-.9-117.85

Ramapo-Dunderberg Day One

The start of the my short shakedown hike (6/27) was as humid as you would expect for the end of June in New York. Temperatures in the mid 80’s with humidity almost equally as high guaranteed an early soaking. Since my son had a job interview that morning, we had him drop us off at the Tuxedo RR station at 6:30 am.  Starting early would also put us ahead of the heat and the humidity. The station marks the start of the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail.

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The view after the first climb.

The plan for the day was a simple one. Hike just a little over six miles and then spend the night at the Bald Rocks Shelter. Even though it was only six miles, I hadn’t hiked with a full pack in awhile and coupled with difficult terrain and weather, it was a long day. According to our GPS, we gained just about 1500 feet of elevation! Obviously the views were great.

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The Bald Rocks Shelter is an interesting one.  This blurb was taken from MyHarriman.com:

  • Bald Rocks (Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail).  Massive local granite stones make up his walls, with a nice fireplace inside and a firepit outside.  The surrounding area is grassy, with trees close enough to allow hammocking, but not too tight to make you feel like you’re in the woods.  Because you’re not — you’re in a lovely grassy field on top of a hill. Great views, too!  The trails you’ll use to get to Bald Rocks are some of the best in the park, too, and you’ll be camping near some of Harriman’s coolest sights: Bowling Rocks, Ship Rock and the spine of Hogencamp Mountain.  Nice.
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The Bald Rocks Shelter

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Inside the shelter

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The fireplace inside the shelter.

 

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #20-6.25-116.95

Keeping It Light Until The Time Is Right

“Hike more, worry less,”

-Anonymous

Today was the first hike of the summer break!!! I am going to keep the distance short today and tomorrow since I will be out backpacking Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. Twenty three miles of fun on the trail!

With that said, this morning it was pretty humid and you could tell that the thunderstorms that rolled through last night had dumped a ton of rain on the trails.

Even with the humidity it was still nice to get out and get a hike in. I’m looking forward to our trip to Harriman!

Here are some photos from this mornings hike:

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A stretch of the Leatherman’s Loop that was especially beautiful today.

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A stream that runs underneath the trail.

 

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Same stream as above.

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A connector trail just before the Red Trail.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #18-4.7-106.6

Shakedown #1-Ramapo-Dunderberg

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A while back I made a decision that when I retired I would hike the Appalachian Trail. Even though it is almost two years away, I am glad that I have that time to plan for this six month adventure. As I have watched videos of thru hikers, I have come to one conclusion. You have to know what gear you need/want and you have to know whether it works for you or against you.

On Wednesday of next week I will be heading out to Harriman State Park with two friends to backpack the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. Running a little over 21 miles, the trail begins at the Tuxedo RR station and ends on route 9W on the opposite side of the park.

I am considering this my first shakedown hike in preparation for the AT. A shakedown hike is described by Brian Lewis as a “…longish backpacking trip where you try out your gear and associated process to find out if there are things you can improve (in either) before your thru-hike. And hopefully it will also confirm that hiking somewhat longer distances is something you really want to do.” My first shakedown will be three days and two nights.

Will I like the gear that I have? Will I want to do another trip, maybe longer before I make any final decisions? I don’t know. Only time will tell!

Over the next few days I am going to post some of the new gear that I have as well as the tried and true that I am pretty sure I will use on the AT.

Please feel free to leave your comments!

Happy Hiking!!!

Please read more about shakedown hikes here:

https://thetrek.co/why-shakedown-hikes-important-new-backpackers/

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/shakedown-hike-gear-review/

https://sectionhiker.com/shakedown-hikes-arent-just-for-backpacking-beginners/

Which Way Photo Challenge-(CCW)

For this challenge I chose three photographs that I have taken while hiking. The first denotes where vehicle travel ends and foot travel begins on a trail in Harriman State Park. The second and third were taken in Bear Mt. State Park along the Appalachian Trail. 

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