Trail Map – I used these. And they are EXCELLENT.
Hike Distance: 7.8 miles
Mountains: Island Pond Mountain, Surebridge Mountain, Hogencamp Mountain
Trails: Appalachian, Arden-Surebridge, Lichen, Ramapo-Dundberg, White Bar, Dunning, Stahahe Brook
Two weekends of hockey trips, a short work week, but it felt like two weeks of work, and I was ready to get back on the trails. This trip, as fun and as awesome as it was, was more about getting out, recharging, and finding some quiet. All of those boxes were ticked.
The last time I hiked Harriman State Park had to be in the middle to late 80s with my scout troop. I have no idea where we hiked; I remember a winter hike to one of the shelters, but I couldn’t tell you which shelter – it was a long time ago. The park is huge.
I left at my usual time, traffic was light; I was headed for the Elk Pen lot – which I later read was used to house Elk from Yellowstone at one point. I missed the turn for Arden Valley Road, GPS took me to Arden Road – which is NOT what you want. Arriving at the lot, I found it FULL, and this was before 8:30. I couldn’t believe it – though fortunately, someone was leaving; so I waited five minutes and took their spot. At the end of the day, cars were parked on both sides of the road to the lot, AND on the road TO the lot. Get there early. And, note to self, start getting up even earlier.
In this case there were at least TWO large groups of hikers, which I would see numerous times throughout the park.
I jumped on the Appalachian trail and was off.
It’s not long before I came to the first junction.
For the most part (in this section) trails were nice and flat, dirt, with only nominal amounts of rocks and roots. Obviously, that would change.
The first stop was Island Pond. This is no ordinary pond, to me it seemed much bigger than a pond, more of a lake. This seemed bigger than Surprise Lake or Terrace Pond. Because it was warm, with no wind, I could have stayed at this spot for quite a while. But, I had places to be, with things to do.
Right after the pond I crossed a spillway which was built for an unfinished dam.
Soon enough, I encountered the Lemon Squeezer.
This was a lot of fun and an interesting workout. Upon going through the opening, you’re greeted with:
I really had to shimmy through there to get through. Completing that, you are presented with a scramble up a good-sized rock. There is a route around it, if you so choose, but I came here to at least give it a try. I had read that it was pretty difficult, but I found a foot hold, pulled myself up, then realized it wasn’t as bad as I had read.
I went back downhill, around the Lemon Squeezer to jump on the Arden-Surebridge trail.
This, I took to the Lichen Trail, which I had read is one of the under-rated trails in the area. This climbs to the top of Hogencamp mountain and has some amazing views.
Heading towards the junction on top of Hogencamp, I came across these Half Scented ferns.
At the top of Hogencamp, I looked for Ship Rock, and it wasn’t hard to find.
On the Ramapo-Dundenberg, there was an interesting water crossing.
All along the trail were lots and lots of blueberry bushes. It was a little early in the season, so nothing worth eating. I’m sure the bears have a field day.
Coming down the Dunning trail I came across the Boston Mine. This was a really neat site, though not easily explored. You can see in the first picture that there is easily six inches (maybe more) of mud in the entrance. Fortunately (for me) someone had laid branches and rocks along the left side of the entrance in order to peek in. The mud was deeper the farther you went in, with full on water of an undetermined depth. I could hear water dripping, but I couldn’t tell you from where.
Right after the mine I came across Green Pond, which is a pond in all senses of the word. I couldn’t find access to it, but the sky clouded up (for a few minutes) and I didn’t want to stick around and test the weather.
Around this area the Dunning and Nuran trail intersect at times. I don’t think I followed Dunning to the proper end, I think I jumped on Nuran early. It’s not hard to figure out why.
I noticed many blowdowns on this hike.
While coming down the Nuran, and descending some rocks, I almost stepped on this guy. Fortunately (for me) he got out of the way quickly. I’d guess he was about three feet long.
Next, I descended Nuran farther into the Valley of Boulders.
Just before getting back onto the Arden-Surebridge trail, there was a watercrossing at a cascade.
After that, it was smooth sailing back to the parking lot.
Harriman is huge. I did a real small section. I plan on coming back for more. Due to the number of blowdowns, the Nuran and Dunning trails get confusing. And the junction of the Ramapo-Dunderberg and Dunning trail is very difficult to find. I got lucky and happened to spot a marker. I came across two other hikers that were looking for it, and they totally missed it. I had read that there was to be a cairn at this intersection, but I did not see one.