Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hiking the AT in Massachusetts

AT Berkshires hike

The Ramblers have done a Memorial Day weekend trip to the Berkshires for the past several years, as one member has a vacation home there. This was my first year there, and in fact my first time ever hiking in Massachusetts.

On Saturday, we did a 13.6-mile chunk of the Appalachian Trail, from near Upper Goose Pond to Pittsfield Road. It made for a very long car shuttle, so it might be better as a key swap. But it was a very pleasant hike that passed by two large ponds, a farm or two, and some pine forests. While there were definite ups and downs, there were no large peaks with views.

I was complaining about the heat, of course. The weather hasn't remained consistent enough for my body to acclimate yet.

While the hike didn't have any charismatic megafeatures, it did have lots of nice (and varied) scenery.

AT Berkshires hike

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Walking the OCA in NYC


The plan for the weekend was to camp in the Catksills, but the weather rendered that an unpleasant idea, so J and I cancelled our trip. Since we were both taking Friday off, we decided to go for a hike - it would be the only nice day of the weekend. We decided to do some part of the Old Croton Aqueduct in the city, starting at the main library. I figured we'd get 5-7 miles in. Instead, we kept going all the way to Sedgwick Ave., just shy of Van Cortlandt park, for a total of about 13 miles. And since I did the rest of the NYC portion in March and the Westchester portion in January, I've now done the entire OCA.

I didn't get a lot of photos of the beginning in Midtown - I'm there for work every day already. Above, you can see where the path of the aqueduct runs along the east side of Central Park, before it cuts over to the west. Until one reaches Highbridge, there are few to no signs of the aqueduct itself; the towers and weirs are gone.


There are more remnants of it in the Bronx. There is a good chunk of it that is a slightly run-down linear park, seen above. Then there is Jerome Reservoir, where I had reached on my previous visit. From there, of course, the trail goes into Van Cortlandt and you can start to see artifacts such as weirs. Overall, the entire OCA was more interesting than I had expected (although, frankly, Midtown is still Midtown).

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Nurian trail clean-up

Nurian Trail

Last weekend I headed up to Harriman State Park with the Ramblers to do trail maintenance on our adopted trail. There was a little bit of trimming back overgrowth, but mostly we were removing downed logs from the trail. So, while we only hiked two miles in and out, there was a great deal of sawing and dragging. Afterwards, the bus never came, so we ended up walking an extra four miles to Tuxedo to catch the train, so we did get a bit more hiking in.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Wawayanda backpack

Last weekend was my first backpack of the season. It wasn't a particularly strenuous trip, although I'm out of the habit of carrying that much weight. Day 1 was tough because it was the first warm day of hiking, and my body always freaks out. (You would think it would remember "warm" from, like, every other year of my life, but no.)

We started near Greenwood Lake, in sight of the New York state line, but within Jersey. From the State Line trail, we detoured on the Quail and Ernest Walter trails to get the high, rocky views of the lake. We then descended and followed the Appalachain Trail west to the Wawayanda shelter.

We did a few side trips that evening, once to get water at the park office and another to look for the mines north of the shelter, which we didn't find.

During the night it started raining. While it wasn't unexpected, I still grumbled at having to put away a wet tent. Still, the cooler temperatures made the second day easier going. And wet weather brought the young newts out.

We followed the AT back to the Ernest Walter trail, but this time we turned south and followed Bearfort Ridge out to the road.

It was a great warmup backpack for the season. I have a big trip coming up in a month, so it's time to start getting ready.