Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hiking below the Palisades

Palisades shore trail

J and I joined the Ramblers for part of their hike today, heading across the GW Bridge and then up the Shore Trail below the cliffs of the Palisades. It was a gorgeous day for a hike, with sunny blue skies. We opted out early (we had been up kind of late the night before), heading up the cliff at Huyler's Landing and catching a ride back to the city.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Inwood Park in late fall

I hadn't been up to Inwood Park for a while, so I stopped by this weekend.

You'll never forget you're in the city; even when you can't see buildings, you can hear the roar of traffic.

Despite that, it is more spectacular than most of the city's parks, because it offers some great vantage points. Here you see the Henry Hudson bridge over Spuyten Duyvil. From other places, you can see the Bronx, Washington Heights, or New Jersey.

Spring flowers are great, and fall foliage is lovely, but the smaller details really show up this time of year.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Insects in the park

Saw this sweetie in Van Cortlandt Park's vegetable garden today. The garden was being taken apart for the season, but the peppers and swiss chard were still standing, with this mantis hiding in the chard.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Revisiting Overlook


I had hiked Overlook Mountain just over a year ago, when the fall colors were splendid. This time, they were slightly past peak, but it was a nice clear day, if chilly.

The parking lot was full when we got there (and even more full when we left, although that didn't seem possible). Because the hike is a well-maintained gravel road, it's relatively easy climbing - it's still steep, but not at all technical. And view from both the overlook and the tower aared spectacular, plus there are the ruins of the Overlook Hotel to see. The photo above shows a view from the fire tower.

J now has four of her five Catskills fire towers done - only Hunter remains - while I am excited to have only two 3500 peaks left.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hiking Balsam in the fall

Between the electoral excitement and the academic conference I'm at, hiking hasn't been at the forefront of my mind. Last weekend seems like eons ago. Balsam Mountain But this time a week ago, I was hiking Balsam Mountain with the 3500 Club. J went to go hike Balsam Lake in pursuit of her fire tower patch, which I have hiked twice previously. Actually, I've hiked Balsam before, but in winter - it's one of the 3500 peaks that needs to be done twice. We took a different approach than on my winter hike, coming up from the east. The leaves were mostly but not completely fallen, making it pretty but very loud to hike through. This route is mostly straightforward hiking, with little to no scrambling, although it is steep in places. There is no view at the actual summit, just a rock cairn, but a short distance past that is a nice overlook, shown in the photo above - a very Hudson River school kind of scene.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hiking Black Creek Preserve

Black Creek Preserve

J sent me an Instagram photo of a pretty bridge and suggested we go there on our way up to the Catskills. I had never even heard of the Black Creek Preserve in Esopus, but it had an easy 2.5 miles of trail. We decided to stop in on our way up to Tannersville this past weekend.

The forest is pretty, especially at this time of year - autumn makes everything look better. The bridge, seen above, runs over the creek near the parking lot and is one of the highlights. (I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to figure out the name of the creek.) The other highlight is the far end of the trail, which runs along the Hudson River. This far north, you are well past the cliffs of the Palisades, so the view is substantially different than it is near the city.

The hike is worth a stop. It would be great for kids; there are hills but they are mostly gentle.

Note: You can find a trail map here; they also have them on site.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Torrey Memorial without the Torrey Memorial

Torrey Memorial The Ramblers, like many New York-area hiking clubs, does an annual hike to the Torrey Memorial in Harriman State Park. Raymond Torrey was a local journalist and trails advocate, and a memorial is carved to him on top of one of the park's mountains. I was to lead this year's hike. We started from the Bear Mountain Inn and went up to the top of Popolopen Torne, as seen in the photo above. The fall colors were lovely but the air was unseasonably warm. From there, we proceeded to Queensboro Pond, and then realized we were running out of time. There is only one bus back to town - and rain was rolling in. (Just as we were discussing it, thunder started rumbling.) At Turkey Hill Lake we decided to turn around and follow our return route, the 1777 trail to the Suffern-Bear Mountain trail. Then the rain started. At the junction with the SBM, the group voted to take a different, flatter, trail back - one I don't know well. This worked fine until at a confusing trail junction we made a wrong turn and headed south instead of north. We had to turn around and retrace our steps. The good news is we made our bus. It sure would have been nice to have time for a cup of hot cocoa at the Inn, not to mention a chance to try off, but at least we had an adventure.