Posts Tagged ‘hiking trails’

Mohonk Mountain House and the Highest Point in Connecticut

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Garden at Mohonk Mountain House

Garden at Mohonk Mountain House

If you love outdoorsy resorts and climbing to new heights then you’re going to want to check this out!  This time around, I decided to take in two different views, in two different states, in two very different locations.

The first location is called the Mohonk Mountain House, which is a castle-like hotel on a cliff, in front of a lake.  It’s a really fancy resort and there are trails all over the place, but the views you can get of the hotel and cliffs are amazing.  It’s quite the hidden gem in Upstate New York.

But the second location is found on a backroad in Connecticut.  Oh yes, I tackled yet another state high point, and this one goes by the name of Mount Frissell.  It was a confusing high point, and you don’t actually go to the peak of Mount Frissell (because that’s in Massachusetts), but it was an interesting challenge that I’m glad I went through.

But take a few minutes and watch the video below to see what treasures await you at these two locations…

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you want to check out the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York, then CLICK HERE for directions to where I started my hike.  The green arrow points to the parking lot for people who have purchased a day pass, in order to check out the resort’s grounds.  If you are staying at the hotel, you will of course be parking a lot closer.  There are also shuttle buses that will take you closer to the hotel, if you don’t want to hike.

If you want to check out Connecticut’s high point in Salisbury, Connecticut, then CLICK HERE for directions to where you should park.  The green arrow points to the parking lot, off to the right of the gravel road.  If you turn on the satellite view on Google Maps and zoom in to just above the state line, just north of where the green arrow is, you can see where the trail starts, off to the left of the road.  In fact, you can pretty much follow the trail all the way up to the rocky top, with the satellite view.

HELPFUL TIPS

I just want to warn you that it does cost $25 (at least when I went) to hike around the Mohonk Mountain House, and if you think that’s bad then check out the room rates.  But I honestly think it’s worth it, because there is so much to explore, on land and in water.  And they will provide you with a map, so that you know where everything is, and you can ride their shuttle for free.  Some trails are difficult, but the main trails are really easy to hike and you’ll love seeing all the views, bodies of water and gardens.  And an interesting rumor is also floating around that this hotel was the inspiration for the hotel in The Shining, since Stephen King is said to frequently stay at the hotel.

And, to help dilute some of the confusion about Connecticut’s high point, you first want to start just north of the state line, right after you see the concrete marker.  It’s hard to miss and your trail starts off to the left, which is marked with red blazes.  There is more than one way to hike to the top, but this is how I made it there.  Now, not far down the trail, you will want to make another left and continue to follow the red blazes.  The trail will slowly start climbing and then you will have to scale some rocks, so make sure you have some sturdy boots that have traction.

You will eventually make it up to the top of a rocky mountain, see some great views and possibly think you’ve made it to the high point… you haven’t!  What you are on at this point is called Round Mountain, and you will need to continue on the trail to the right.  Yes, the trail does actually go downhill, but you have a longer climb ahead of you soon.  Once you tackle the second rocky climb, you will come to a fork in the trail.  If you go to the right, you can sign the log book and think you’ve made it to the high point… you haven’t, yet!  Go ahead and sign the log book, then head back the trail the other way (as if you turned left at the fork), and before long you’ll come upon a pile of rocks and a metal pole, stuck in a rock.

This is another Connecticut/Massachusetts border marker, but it also marks Connecticut’s high point.  It’s odd that they don’t mention anywhere on the marker that it’s the high point, but it definitely is.  And sadly for me, as you can see in the video, it started raining hard by the time I got to the top.  So, I feel bad but the log book got soaked before I could get it back in the box, but it happens, and I made it through all of the confusion so that you don’t have to be so confused.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then check out the official site for the Mohonk Mountain House, here: http://www.mohonk.com/

And if you’d like to check out the instrumental video, while avoiding my face popping into the picture, then check out that video below…

And here are some more pictures…

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted in Connecticut, Getting High on Mountains, New York, Views | No Comments »

Golden Eagle Trail

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

View near Raven's Horn

View near Raven’s Horn

If you love taking long hikes to awesome mountain views, then you’re going to want to check out this trail!

Now, this trail has been called “the best day hike in Pennsylvania” and, while I would probably give that title to the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park, this is one trail you should definitely explore.  In fact, this was my second time attempting to hike this trail, because the first time my friend and I ended up hiking up someone’s driveway, instead of the trail.  So, the first time, we only managed to hike a small portion of trail, but the second time I was a bit more successful.

I went alone, I saw slithering creatures, came across many hikers and saw some amazing views.  But you can tap into almost everthing I saw by watching the video below…

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you’d like to hike the Golden Eagle Trail in Cammal, Pennsylvania then CLICK HERE for directions to where you’re going to want to park.  Once you park in the parking area, just cross the road and you’ll see a big sign for the start of the trail.  Parking is free and there’s usually plenty of room.

HELPFUL TIPS

The Golden Eagle trail is a little bit over a 9 mile hike, so you’ll definitely want to be wearing some comfortable boots, have plenty of water and probably bring some food with you.  Depending on what time of year you come, you might have to cross a small “run” of water, but I went in the late summer and there really wasn’t much water to been seen.  But, I would recommend that you hike the trail in a clockwise pattern, so that you can get your legs warmed up  for the steep incline and save the best view for last.

And you will want to watch for snakes, because I came across a timber rattlesnake and a garter snake, neither of which did me any harm.  The timber rattlesnake was down in the lower part of the trail and stayed curled up as I walked by.  It didn’t rattle, move or anything, so don’t worry about them trying to attack you; they will more than likely make some noise and try to get away.  And the garter snake was almost up near the top of Raven’s Horn, just slithering down the trail beside me… nothing to worry about with this one.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you, then check out the site that feels it’s the best day hike in PA, here: http://www.pahikes.com/trails/golden-eagle-trail/119-golden-eagle-trail-best-day-hike-in-pennsylvania

And if you’d like to travel the trail through the magic of video, without my face popping up, then watch the instrumental version below:

And here are some more pictures:

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted in Pennsylvania, Views | No Comments »

Highest Point in New Jersey and Manitoga

Friday, July 20th, 2012

 

Looking up, from the bottom to the top of the 220 foot monument at the Highest Point in New Jersey (1,803 feet)

Looking up, from the bottom to the top of the 220 foot monument at the Highest Point in New Jersey (1,803 feet)

If you love summiting high points or walking through calm, wooded areas then you’re going to want to check this out!  This time around, I managed to check another high point off my list (New Jersey) and to check out a man-made forest, constructed by Russel Wright.

Since I started out my hike on a section of the Appalachian Trail, I came across many hikers on my way up to the 1,803 summit.  It was a rocky and strenuous climb but the views are always worth it, even if I did climb 290 steps (after the hike) to see things from the top of the monument.

And I’m glad that designer Russel Wright, took it upon himself to restore his 75 acres, which had been ruined by logging and quarrying, because it’s such a peaceful and protected area today.  Other than a few sets of stone stairs or walkways, you probably won’t even realize that Wright had a hand in bringing things back to life, in a natural way.

But, why don’t you watch the video below and tag along with me on my trip?

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you want to check out New Jersey’s high point, in Sussex, by hiking up to it then CLICK HERE for directions to where you’re going to want to park.  You can park here for free (avoiding the entrance fee) for about 12 hours, and there are bathrooms and drinking fountains right next to the parking lot.  In fact, you’re parking next to the state park office, which is only open from 9 AM to 4 PM, so it’s probably a good idea to move your car before 4 PM.

And if you’d like to check out Russel Wright’s Manitoga, in Garrison, New York, then CLICK HERE for directions to the driveway you want to drive up.  There is a sign along side the road (pictured below) which will let you know that you’re turning up the right driveway, and there’s a parking lot at the end of the drive.

HELPFUL TIPS

When hiking to New Jersey’s high point, you’re going to want to be wearing some sturdy boots, and have some water with you.  It’s only about a mile to the summit, but the trail is really rocky and it can take a toll on your feet.  As to be expected, when summiting a high point, there’s also a bit of an incline, especially at the end.  And there is a trail at the viewing platform on the Appalachian Trail that goes to the beach… you want to ignore that trail and continue on the trail just a little farther until you see a trail that is marked with green blazes: that’s the trail you take to the monument.  And the actual high point marker is in front of the monument, past the pavement, attached to one of the rocks in the open area.

But if you really want to climb up into the 220′ monument, at the high point, then you’re going to want to come at the following times…

  • Memorial Day weekend to June 24th: 8:30 AM – 4 PM (weekends and holidays only)
  • June 25th to Labor Day: 8:30 AM to 4 PM (daily)
  • Labor Day to Columbus Day: 9:15 AM to 4:45 PM (weekends and holidays only)

But in all honesty, all you can do at the top of the monument is look out some small, closed windows and the view isn’t much different from up there.  So, if climbing about 290 steps isn’t too appealing to you, or you just came at the wrong time, then don’t worry; you didn’t miss much.  But there are some historical displays in the base if you want to check them out.

And the three trails at Manitoga are pretty easy, and not too long, so you might be alright without hiking boots or water bottles there.  I’d recommend you check out the Lost Pond and the second view up top, and be prepared to see some wildlife along the way.  There really isn’t a fee to hike here, and it’s open daily (during daylight hours), but there is a suggested donation of $5.  So, do what I did, and hike the trail first and if you enjoyed yourself then feel free to donate.  And you can also purchase tickets for guided tours through Wright’s home and studio, which are beautifully designed to merge perfectly with their natural surroundings.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you, then check out the official site for New Jersey’s high point: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/parksandforests/parks/highpoint.html

And check out the official site for Manitoga: http://www.russelwrightcenter.org

And you can even check out the instrumental video, without my face popping up in the screen:

And here are some more pictures:

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted in Getting High on Mountains, New Jersey, New York, Views | 1 Comment »

Finger Lakes Waterfalls

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Hector Falls (165 feet high)

Hector Falls (165 feet high)

If you love waterfalls then you absolutely HAVE to head to upstate New York and check out the waterfalls around the Finger Lakes!  I had already seen the waterfalls at Letchworth State Park and Watkins Glen but I soon realized that there were quite a few waterfalls that I had missed.

And I’m not talking about tiny trickles of water, here and there, I’m talking about a handful of full-on raging waterfalls, that fall from heights taller than your house!  So, I had to go back up and see them all in one shot… which isn’t that hard to do, since they are all within 20 or so minutes of each other.  And after this trip, I can honestly say that if you love the climate of the northeast and you love waterfalls then you should think about moving to the Finger Lakes region.

I think you’ll soon agree, after you watch this video of my trip:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you want to check out Eagle Cliff Falls in Montour Falls, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that shows you exactly where to go.  There are plenty of places to park in that loop, and there are also bathrooms, playgrounds and places to have an outdoor feast.

If you want to check out She-Qua-Ga Falls in Montour Falls, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that shows you exactly where to go; I told you they were close together. 😉  You’ll have to park along the street to see this one, but even on the weekends it doesn’t seem hard to find a parking spot.

If you want to check out Hector Falls in Burdett, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map of where you can park.  You can pull into the place shown on the map, or park along the road, but be careful; it’s a busy road!

If you want to check out Taughannock Falls, from above, in Trumansburg, New York then CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you to the overlook.  There’s a huge parking lot here, where you can see the falls from above.

If you want to check out the Upper Falls in Taughannock Falls State Park then CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you to the overlook.  There’s a smaller parking lot here where you can see the falls from above.

But if you want to hike the Gorge Trail, and see Taughannock Falls from the base, you’ll want to CLICK HERE to see a map that will direct you where to start.  There are big parking lots on either side of the road, bathrooms and signs that will direct you where to go.

If you want to check out Buttermilk Falls in Ithaca, New York then CLICK HERE to see where to park.  There’s plenty of parking, vending machines and bathrooms here.

If you want to check out Lucifer Falls in Newfield, New York then CLICK HERE to see where to park.   There’s plenty of parking, vending machines and bathrooms here too.

And if you want to finish out your trip like I did, and check out the Lower Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park, then CLICK HERE to see where to park.  There’s plenty of parking, camping, vending machines, bathrooms and even swimming is allowed at the base of the falls.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you’re going to check out Eagle Cliff Falls, then wear some waterproof boots or your swimming suit.  Even though they say you’re not allowed to swim at the base of the falls, you can get up close and personal with the water and wetness shall be had.  It’s a pretty short hike to the falls though, and it’s a relaxing spot to hang out, but it will cost you $2 to park here.

She-Qua-Ga falls is right along side the road, so there’s nothing to hike to… there’s a sidewalk right up to where you view the falls, benches along the way and a fence right in front of it.  So, this one might be a good waterfall to check out on a stroll after you go out to eat.

You’re going to want to be careful at Hector Falls though, because it’s right on a busy road.  You’re not supposed to park right on the bridge, where the waterfall flows beneath, but you can park alongside the road, and it’s busy.  Just stay clear of traffic and you’ll be golden, but you’ll only be able to see the top section of the falls from the road; to see the rest you’d probably have to be in the lake.

It’s nice to check out Taughannock Falls from the overlook, and the parking’s free, but you really ought to head down to the Gorge Trail to see it from below and really appreciate its size.  Parking in the lots at the start of the Gorge Trail is $7, but the trail is only 3/4 of a mile long.  And if the water’s low, like it was when I came, then you have the option of walking on the flat, rock bottom of the creek bed, the whole way to the falls, or the trail itself.  If you opt to walk in the creek bed then bring some waterproof boots because some places are a bit deep.

But don’t count the Upper Falls out; it’s 100 feet high and worth checking out before you go see Taughannock Falls.  It’s a really short hike from the parking lot and a worthy distraction from the main falls.

It’s supposed to cost $7 to park at Buttermilk Falls as well, but if you come later in the day, like I did, then they’ll just wave you through.  From May to June 18th, and from September 11th to October 18th they only collect the fee on the weekends.  But if you come sometime between June 19th and September 6th, and it’s between 10 AM and 6 PM, then they will be collecting the parking fee as well.  And I opted to not hike the whole way up the Gorge Trail here, because all I really came to see was Buttermilk Falls, but there are some other waterfalls to check out, farther up the trail.  Oh, and it appears that the pool at the base of the falls is a popular place to go swimming on hot days.

And it’s supposed to cost $7 to park at Lucifer Falls and Lower Falls as well (they’re in the same park) but no one was collecting money when I came in and I didn’t see a sign telling me to pay.  So, either I missed the sign or you don’t have to pay later in the day.  But, unless you plan on walking the whole trail to see both of the falls at once, then you’ll want to check ahead and make sure that the full Gorge Trail is open near Lucifer Falls.  It wasn’t when I was there and it ruined my plan of avoiding climbing a bunch of stairs.  But, if the complete trail is open, then plan on parking in the lot for Lucifer Falls, hiking the Rim Trail and then walking DOWN the stairs to the base of Lucifer Falls, then hike back the Gorge Trail to the parking lot (about 1/2 a mile round trip).  It will be a lot easier on you, and there are some great views from above.

And then you can drive to the parking lot near the Lower Falls, in the same park, and possibly take a dip in the deep pool at the base of the waterfall.  You can even drive over/through a waterfall of sorts, if you want to go into the camping area.  Oh, and if you want to get a drink from one of their vending machines, then I hope you have those Presidential $1 coins because I tried 6 different $1 bills and it wouldn’t take any of them!

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then here’s the official site for Taughannock Falls State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/62/details.aspx

Here’s the official site for Buttermilk Falls State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/151/details.aspx

And here’s the official site for Robert H. Treman State Park: http://nysparks.com/parks/135/details.aspx

And you can also check out the instrumental version of my trip, without my face popping up in the video, right here:

And here are more pictures:

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted in New York, Waterfalls | No Comments »

Highest Points in Pennsylvania and Maryland

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Mount Davis - The Highest Point in Pennsylvania (3,213 Feet Above Sea Level)

Mount Davis – The Highest Point in Pennsylvania (3,213 Feet Above Sea Level)

If you like mountain views and challenges that bring you to new heights then you need to check this out!  There’s something fulfilling about going to the highest point in your home state, or some other state, and looking over the surrounding area.  Now, this isn’t my first highpoint, but Ohio’s is nothing compared to these two.

Pennsylvania’s highpoint (Mount Davis) has a really nice view, but you have to climb up on top of a 40 foot tower to really appreciate it; there are too many trees to really see the view from the ground.  The tower might toy with your fear of heights, if you have one, but the tower is very sturdy… there’s nothing to worry about!  You can drive right up to the highpoint if you want or take a short (.8 mile), flat hike to the tower, the official highpoint marker and all the plaques there.  And once you make your way up the tower steps, you’ll soon realize it was very worth the climb.

Speaking of climbs, there is actually an uphill hike you’ll have to take to get to the top of Backbone Mountain (Maryland’s highpoint AKA Hoye Crest).  It’s only a mile-long hike, but you’ll have a 700 foot increase in elevation, during that hike.  And hey, that’s not much to ask, considering you’ll end up 3,360 feet above sea level!  And I liked how this highpoint had a little log book you could sign, and a certificate to prove you had been there; Pennsylvania was slacking on that one!  The view’s not too shabby up there either, and you don’t need a tower to see it.

But instead of reading this boring text and trying to picture it in your mind, watch this video so you can see all of what I’m talking about:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you’d like to check out Mount Davis in Fort Hill, Pennsylvania then CLICK HERE for a map to where I parked.  The green arrow points to where you’ll pull in and park; there are bathrooms and picnic tables here.  To head toward the High Point Trail, just head to the right, to the far end of the open field.  There’s a map that will show you where to go, in fact, if you switch to the satellite view on Google Maps, you can see the trail I’m talking about, Southwest of where you pull in.

If you’d like to check out the Hoye Crest in Oakland, Maryland then CLICK HERE for a map to where I parked.  Yes, you will be parking in West Virginia, and you’ll want to look for a spot on the side of the road that you can pull off on and park.  The trail starts on a turn in a road, and there is a green sign that points toward the trail, telling you it’s the highpoint trail, but if you’re coming from the north, and you pass that sign, then you’ve already passed where you want to park.  I parked right at the trailhead, there’s enough room for maybe two cars.  I wouldn’t recommend driving up the trail, as it’s pretty rough.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you take the High Point Trail, to Mount Davis, then be sure to stay on it! Don’t be like me and get distracted, just before you get to the highpoint, by a trail called the Mount Davis Trail.  Yes, that’s what the highpoint is named, but this trail goes off on it’s own and is pretty dang rocky and narrow.  You don’t really need hiking boots for this one, even though there is one muddy patch, but other than that it’s smooth sailing and it’s free to enter the park.

The trail up Backbone Mountain, to Hoye Crest, is clearly marked by orange blazes, so you shouldn’t get lost or distracted.  You’ll probably want to wear hiking boots, bring water and put on the bug spray for this trail though.  There are a few muddy spots, and a rocky section, so the boots will come in handy.  And with moisture comes gnats and other bugs, so be aware that they will be in your face during some sections.  In fact, I would be walking along and hear hundreds of crickets jumping all around; that was actually kind of cool.  But, since it will take longer to get to the top, you’ll probably want some water along to way.  In fact, bring a lunch with you; there’s a picnic table right at the highpoint, so you can eat and enjoy the view.  Oh, and it’s free to hike to the top of this one as well!

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then here’s the official site for the Maryland highpoint: http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=154

And if you’d like to see an instrumental version of the video, without me butting in all the time, then here you go:

And here are some more pictures:

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