Tag Archives: Upper Hudson Valley Hiking

Back On The Trail, Again…

“Got a blank space where my mind should be, Got a Clif Bar and some cold green tea, Got clouds that seem to follow me, Got strange demands piled up on me,
Got memories, Got memories, Memories of being free.”

-Trey Anastasio

 

After a week of blistering heat, rain, and thunderstorms, it was finally nice to get back out on the trail again. Just to refresh everyone’s memories, I made the choice to not hike, even in the very early morning based on my fear of becoming dehydrated. Temperatures were in the 90’s with the humidity just as high. In the mornings when I would start my hikes, temperatures were already in the mid to high 70’s to low 80’s. So every day with the exception of yesterday I rode my stationary bike to keep the legs moving.

 

Being outside was a welcome respite from the days of oppressive heat and humidity. I think that this morning was the first time it has been in the very low sixties with practically no humidity in a couple of weeks. It was outstanding to feel the air on my face and hear the sound of my boots hitting the moist trail with every step.

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Looking down on a connector trail.

 

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This entire area is famous for rock walls that are in the middle of nowhere. These rock walls were used as property boundaries by farmers and landowners.

 

As you can see by the pictures, the woods are as green as they were in April and May. I have seen summers where by this time on July the woods are a barren brown from the lack of rain. But not this summer. We are being treated to something relatively rare for this area of the Northeast in late July-a lush green landscape.

 

Since the humidity was as low as it was, the sun actually felt good when you actually encountered it as it rose through the trees.

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As always, Ward Pound Ridge offers excellent hikes and the loops I have been hiking this summer have offered me the solitude and silence that I have been looking for.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #21-7/24/19-4.1-94.2

Reverse Green

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

-Lauren DeStefano

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Another beautiful autumn day means another day to get out and hike. Since it’s the end of a work day and daylight is dwindling, that means a shorter hike than usual. That’s no problem however, because it’s just good to get out into the  woods, no matter what time of day!

Today I did the Green Trail again and instead of going in the direction where I would end my journey on a steep downhill, I reversed directions and went up the steepest portion first. Even when I do the Red and Green Trails (they are together for the first 2.4 miles), I usually go in one specific direction. The opposite way proved to be much challenging than I am used to. That’s ok though, sometimes you need to get the old ticker moving!!!

Happy Hiking!!!

2017 Mileage:

10/3/17-3.6-260.62

St. Elias GTX 200 Mile Review

As I close in on 200 miles with my Vasque St. Elias GTX boots (197.62), I can happily report that they are holding up very nicely. They remain very comfortable and with the aid of my awesome merino wool socks, I haven’t had one blister or hot spot. Also, one of the biggest issues that I have had with every pair of boots I have owned the laces always had a tendency to come undone. This would drive me crazy! With these boots, I have not had this problem. They stay laced and they also stay tight.

As I have noted before, these boots are outstanding medium weight backpacking boots that I use for day hiking. With my weak ankles and knees, I need all of the support that I can get when I am traipsing through the woods.

In terms of the wear and tear, they also doing well. I haven’t seen any noticeable wear on the soles, top or tongue of the right or left foot.

I said it when I first got these boots-they are outstanding! They have proven to be all around excellent and would continue to recommend them to hikers who either backpack or day hike. You won’t be disappointed!

Happy Hiking!

For Your Viewing and Hiking Pleasure-The Cornell Mine Trail->Bald Mountain

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
-John Muir
“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
-Jack Kerouac
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My love hiking in the Hudson Valley is well documented. One of the things that you will learn about hiking here, however, is that many of the hikes in this area start with a long, lung busting and thigh searing climb. This is a given. Some of them happen to be mildly torturous  and some of them make you wonder why you are hiking there in the first place. But remember, with these sometimes murderous climbs (perception is everything), the payoff of a magnificent view makes it all worthwhile.
My friend Jaime and I decided to meet pretty early on the 4th to do a hike in Bear Mt. A nice loop in the area is the Cornell Mine Trail to Bald Mt. and then down and out through Doodletown on Pleasant Valley Road. Parking proved to be pretty easy as we both found space to park just across from the trail head and around 50 yards from the entrance to Iona Island.
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The Bear Mt. Bridge as seen from sea level at the parking area on Route 9W.

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As you cross 9W and enter the woods, the trail immediately turns to the left and then you begin a relatively steep climb. Don’t worry, because after about ten minutes, the trail levels off and you are able to catch your breath as you continue to move steadily towards the most serious climb of the day.
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Jaime on the Cornell Mine Trail-I’ve been hiking with this guy for over twenty years!!!
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As you hike towards Bald Mt., you will notice that the terrain is pretty diverse in regards to what it has to offer. At one point you may be hiking on what appears to be a well manicured trail, and on others you will have to keep your eyes on the ground in front of you due to large amount of loose rocks laid out in front of you.
After a little more than a half an hour of hiking, you’ll notice the huge and imposing figure of Bald Mt. directly ahead of you. Even though it looks much more imposing during the winter months when the trees have no leaves, even now you certainly know that it is there, waiting for you. Trust me, it is going to suck the life out of you if you let it! As you approach this part of the climb, it appears relatively flat. Don’t be fooled by this because the most challenging part of the climb awaits you. The trail quickly begins a steep and unrelenting climb up to the view-point. To ease the pain, you will find some switchbacks on the first part of the climb that offer a modicum of relief. Remember that you will be climbing a vertical distance of 500 feet in less than half a mile.
A quick word of caution to all hikers regardless of experience-The footing on this, the most difficult part of the hike, is pretty treacherous. Please be very careful based on the fact that loose dirt and rocks combine to make for what could be a bone busting experience!
After you have climbed about 80% of the mountain, the trail will take a very sharp left. Before you head up and finish the Cornell Mine Trail, turn around for a stunning view of the Bear Mt. Bridge.
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After soaking in the view and taking a well earned rest, turn back around continue to head the trail. In just a few minutes, The Cornell Mine Trail ends at a junction with the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. Make sure that you turn right onto the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and continue climbing. Although you are still moving up, it is nowhere near the intensity of the rest of the climb. After leaving the intersection, you should reach the summit of Bald Mt. (Elevation 1,080 feet), in about ten minutes. As you get closer, you will continue straight ahead on an unmarked path to reach the summit. At this point you will have climbed more than 1,000 vertical feet from the start of the hike on route 9W to the summit.

 

Even though there was some haze in the air, the views were magnificent and I believe that I was able to get some good pictures. To give you some perspective, Anthony’s Nose is the mound on the right side of the bridge.

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Bear Mt Bridge with Anthony’s Nose to the right.

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Bear Mt. Please note the tower about 3/4 from the right.

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Perkins Memorial Tower as seen from Bald Mt.

 

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After relaxing for a while, you can take the red on white trail markers on your right and start heading down. Once again, the trail down has some pretty loose dirt and rocks and  with the first descent being quite steep, you might want to be more cautious than you normally would be. After a brief leveling off, you continue heading down the trail, eventually coming to an almost tunnel of Mt. Laurel.

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When you reach the stream, you will make a quick right turn and shortly after that the Ramapo Dunderberg trail continues to the left. For our purposes, we decided that instead of heading to the Timp, we would continue down on a woods road into Doodletown. This woods road soon becomes the 1777 trail.

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As you come down a final small hill, the trail levels off and crosses a stream. To the right, stone foundations and a trail shelter can be seen. You have to make sure that you look quickly because if you aren’t paying attention, you may miss the shelter!

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As you continue ahead on the woods road, you will soon enter and move through the former settlement of Doodletown. This settlement thrived in this area for two centuries until it was acquired by the park in around 1960. But before you get to Doodletown, keep looking around to make sure that you don’t miss these views.

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This sign below represents a walking tour sign to help guide you through the area.

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At this point you will have been walking on paved roads and will continue to do so until the hike ends.

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A stone wall from one of the many houses at Doodletown.

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We kept hiking along the 1777 Trail, which is also known as Pleasant Valley Road, and as you make your way down the road, you will pass the remnants of the many homes that formed Doodletown. You will see markers like this all along the trail to show where each of the houses in the settlement were located.

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One of the more interesting sights that you can see in the Doodletown settlement is the remnants of their garbage. Apparently they used to bury their garbage and from time to time, you can see garbage that has “floated” to the top through erosion of the land. A good example is this broken milk bottle:

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 Shortly after I took this picture, the grade of the road dipped steeply and we were back on Route 9W where we started. This is the last sign you will see as you finish the hike and If you decide to do this hike in reverse, it will be the first.
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The hike ended up being about 5 1/2 miles with just over 1,000 ft in elevation gain. With stopping to rest and taking pictures, it took us about 3 1/2 to complete. Based on its level of difficulty as well as numerous viewpoints and other worthy sights, this is definitely a hike you don’t want to rush through. Take your time to soak it all in, it’s worth it!
Now, with all of that said, although I would never discourage anyone from taking a hike, if you want to take animals small kids on this one, you need to be really careful.The steepness of the climb as well the loose dirt and rock on the climb could prove to be too much for a smaller child or a dog.
Any adults, however, who want to do this hike, I say GO FOR IT!!!!!