Saturday, March 11, 2017

Bald Rocks Shelter loop, Harriman State Park, NY

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
3/5/2017 6.2 miles

Map: NYNJTC Harriman North
Parking: Seven Lakes Drive, between Lake Skannatati and Lake Askoti
Directions: Take turquoise blazed Long Path (on same side of road as parking area). Turn left on yellow blazed Dunning Trail. Take side trail to Bald Rocks shelter. Walk behind shelter to get to red and white blazed Ramapo Dunderberg Trail. Turn right on Ramapo Dunderberg trail and follow it to Times Square. Turn right onto turquoise blazed Long Path and follow it back to the parking area.

I switched to a different physical therapist in the same office. This one is okay with me hiking. He said the only time I'm allowed to feel pain when exercising is when hiking (i.e. if any PT exercise causes pain, don't do it). He told me just don't go 12 miles. To celebrate, we went to Harriman. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was so excited to spend it outdoors. The trails were free from snow as well. I decided not to go crazy and hike 11.9 miles (yes I was tempted), but to continue to gradually increase mileage.

We got "lost" in the beginning of the hike. Well, not really lost. We started out on the Long Path, which hugs Lake Skannatati for a little bit. Except the Long Path veers away from the lake, but Trek kept following a herd path next to the lake. Trek is a superior trail finder, but when there is water nearby, all bets are off. So, we lost the trail, because we just blindly follow Trek. Ha! We eventually noticed there were no blazes and had to walk over a bit to find the Long Path again. Sorry Trek!

I'm hoping to do some easier overnight backpacks this year. Last year I finally persuaded Glen to do some backpacking. We bought a bunch of equipment, and then ended up doing none since I developed hip pain. I figure Harriman would be a good place to get started. We are beginner backpackers, so choosing a place close to home makes sense. We have done a lot of hiking in Harriman, but I never get tired of the Ramapo Dunderberg Trail. I love hiking on the rock faces and seeing the glacial erratics and grasses. My camera battery died during the hike, so I missed out on some photos near the shelter. I've been thinking that a camping trip to the Bald Rocks shelter would be nice, so we decided to do this route there and check it out. I was hoping this might be a route that Moxie could do, but I decided it would be rough on her. There are areas near the shelter with fire pits, so I figure those are areas where you could pitch a tent. I haven't seen many tent campers in Harriman - usually I've seen people just in the shelters themselves.

I did feel some hip irritation during the hike. In addition, a bone spur in my toe joint was flaring up. It hasn't bothered me in a couple years, but this past week it has, causing my gait to be off. The day after this hike I woke up feeling around 90 years old. By Tuesday I only felt 70 years old. And by the end of the week I felt back to normal. I'm sure me walking funny due to my foot didn't help at all. It's now a week later, and my toe is doing much better. I'm no longer limping from it.

Parking area

Ward Pound Ridge - Deer Hollow Trail, NY

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
2/26/2017 3.5 miles

Map: Available where you pay for parking.
Parking: $10
Directions: Deer Hollow loop

Glen was off if Oregon this weekend. I wish I could have gone with him, but it wasn't a good time to take off work. In addition to visiting a CPS camp that his grandfather ran during the war, he got to go on the Pacific Crest Trail. So jealous! He texted me photos during his trip so I could live vicariously through him.

Trek and I headed out to Ward Pound Ridge, and chose a slightly longer trail than we did last weekend. Despite my PT's complaints, I'm trying to gradually increase mileage. I hate just "resting". We did the Deer Hollow Trail. I don't think we've done this trail very often, which is odd. We've hiked so much at Ward Pound Ridge, but big portions of this trail seemed unfamiliar. Even though Ward Pound Ridge is not the ideal place to take dogs on a weekend (it gets crowded), we did okay. There were very few hikers on this route. I still kept Trek on leash, as I usually do at this park. Finally the mashed potato slush was gone! Trails were mostly clear, making for a nice hike. I'm focusing on taking smaller steps when hiking uphill, as this reduces the amount of flexion in my hip joint. It slows me down, but I'm hoping this will reduce post hike inflammation.

Ward Pound RIdge - Green Trail, NY

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
2/19/2017 3.1 miles

Map: Available where you pay for parking.
Parking: $10
Directions: Green Trail loop

This hike was longer than my PT wanted me to go, and I got scolded for doing it later. Ugh. The trail conditions were again a mess. Just slushy mashed potato snow. Slow going. I was happy to get outside even so.

Ward Pound Ridge - Yellow Trail, NY

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
2/18/2017 2.6 miles

Map: Available where you pay for parking.
Parking: $10
Directions: Yellow Trail loop

I really wanted to hit the Catskills, but it seems crazy to drive 2.5 hours for a 2.5 mile hike. So we did a short loop at a local trail. The snow was like "mashed potatoes." Wet and slushy.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Old Croton Aqueduct - Croton Gorge Park to Quaker Bridge Road

Date Distance Time Elevation Gain Average Moving Time Year to Date Miles
2/5/2017 6.1 miles 2 hours 8 minutes 17:30/mile 7.6

Map: Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park Map & Guide (
Parking: Croton Gorge Park
Directions: From the parking area, get onto the access trail behind the restrooms. The trail zigzags until it reaches a sign for the Croton Aqueduct Trail. We turned left here, and walked over to the bridge which crosses the dam. We walked back and continued along the Aqueduct Trail, passing 3 ventilators. We continued on to the next crossing of Quaker Bridge Road (no parking available there), and then retraced our steps back to Croton Gorge Park.

This trail is the distance of a marathon, but we've only done a small portion of it near Rockefeller State Park. My physical therapist is encouraging me to hike on flat trails, and there is nothing flatter than this! I figure since its so flat, I can go on longer walks. I'm itching to go out to the Catskills and western Massachusetts though! This trail is super easy - more of a walk than a hike. We of course are the only ones with backpacks on! This hike is very popular with dog walkers. Almost everyone we saw had one or more dogs. Many dogs were off leash. We knew this walk would be this way, so we brought Moxie instead of Trek. Moxie just ignores the dogs that run up to her, even when they have their hackles up. Let's just say this is a place to take your dog that has excellent social skills. Glen has decided he wants to complete the whole Aqueduct trail, so we'll work on that this winter while I'm supposed to be limited to flat hikes.