Fall 2019 Social Hike? DONE! Today some of my bravest friends met me for the first social hike ever planned by Salvi Nomad. Some were friends I have hiked with several times before, and others who would be joining for the first time.
It was a difficult task deciding which trail to do. I wanted to give everyone enough of a challenge by having a little scramble and elevation. But not be too difficult to discourage anyone from joining in on future hikes. My other concern was knowing there was a good mix of athleticism and not wanting anyone to be slowed down or pushed too hard.
So after going through my pictures to recollect which hikes kicked my butt just enough, but not too badly, I came across the answer. The group would venture onto Storm King Mountain. And it was perfect for today’s group.
We took 2.5 hours to hike 3.0 miles and reached and altitude of 1,339 feet. The beginning of this hike really gets your heart rate going with some steady climbs. And you have a couple of descents where you can catch your breath before another steady climb. I’m also glad to report only one person fell took an unplanned seat (extremely graciously I might add lol).
I followed Hike the Hudson’s guide because he has a great 3.0 mile loop. Make sure to check his page out HERE if you’re venturing into the Hudson Highlands!
Click HERE for the coordinates to the parking lot. And below are the spark notes version of the trails we followed today:
From parking lot follow ORANGE
Continue on ORANGE past ruins
RIGHT onto Yellow/blue (NOT LEFT)
RIGHT to Stay on blue/yellow (when blue/red intersects)
LEFT to stay on yellow/blue (when blue blaze intersects from right)
Follow BLUE/YELLOW down until WHITE.
Follow WHITE (sometimes BLUE/WHITE) all the way back to car
Eat snacks you left in car 🙂
Below is a picture of my favorite type of hiker, the four legged kind. We saw at least three of them today and it makes my day every time! You can also see there’s still a lot of green left on the mountains. I was hoping there would be more red and orange. That just means I’ll have to come back again soon to make sure I don’t miss it.
Overall I would say this was a successful hike. We even went into town to have lunch afterwards. There are several places to sit and dine or grab a quick bite at a deli. And maybe I’ll see you out on the trail for the next social hike: Winter 2019.
Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.
I have biked different parts of this trail and completed different distances per visit. I love this place for it’s location, access and options. Want to walk hand in hand with a loved one? Want to fish without having to take the boat out? Want to bike 20 miles? Want paved or dirt paths? Want to hang out with the resident swans, ducks, geese, fish, etc? It’s a versatile trail with a little bit for everyone.
My brother and I went for a bike ride Sunday. This time we started on Sunrise highway, unlike last time where we started on Merrick Rd. The good thing is that there are several different places you can park along the way. I’ve parked in Plainview and headed south on the trail too. You can essentially choose to start the trail wherever you find an entrance. Just please park responsibly and be courteous to the neighboring residents when deciding where to leave your vehicle.
The trail begins in Cold Spring Harbor and ends in Massapequa. Here’s a screenshot of my google maps so you can get an idea of the trail and it’s location.
There’s a few things you should pay attention to when biking this trail.
1. Always stay to the right and be courteous to the pedestrians sharing the trails.
2. There are dirt paths as well, but pay attention to fallen trees (my brother was almost taken out by one as he likes to pedal fast).
3. Bring bug spray, especially if you’re going in the later afternoon.
4. STOP at the stop signs when crossing roads or ramps. The cars are supposed to yield, but wait until they come to a complete stop before crossing (better safe than sorry).
5. As expected, bring enough water. Especially in the summer months.
There isn’t much else to say about this trail… So I’m going to share pictures from different parts of the trail below. These pictures are compiled from the different times I’ve gone throughout the years. My hope is that if you haven’t gone to this park yet and live locally, that you would take advantage of this backyard space we all share. It may not be a crazy mountain or have spectacular 360 views, but it’s a great place to forget we live in a densely populated suburban area for a while. And if you have gone, maybe I’ll see you there sometime soon!
[UPDATE: OCTOBER 2019]
I’d like to thank one of my readers for expressing some frustrations that can be experienced on the trail. It’s an unfortunate thing to experience while enjoying the outdoors, but a reality for some.
In an effort to prevent any animosity on the trail for a hiker/biker visiting my blog, I’ve very diligently researched and collected information for you below. I hope you find this useful and informative for your next outing. Especially because it is impossible very difficult to find one full map for the different biking/hiking sections without paying a fee and becoming a member. But fear not, I have done the leg work for you and saved us all some money!
Beginning at the northern-most portion of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail you’ll find a trailhead specifically for hikers. There is a parking lot across the road from the Billy Joel Park and Boat Ramp (I can’t make these names up). And this trail runs the length of the Cold Spring Harbor State Park.
Once you reach Stillwell Woods Park there will be a plethora of bike paths. If you’re biking these trails, be aware of the different skill levels and the fact that they are single track trails. Wouldn’t want you to collide with other mountain bikers at those speeds! If hiking you’ll want to stay on the Trail View/Nassau-Suffolk LIGTC.
Between Stillwell Woods Park and Bethpage State Park you’ll find Trail View State Park. After crossing under the train tracks (not over the train tracks! this is dangerous!) there will be two parallel trails that run along most of this park. The western trail (Blue Bike Bath and CLIMB Bike Path) is for biking and the eastern trail (Nassau-Suffolk Trail LIGTC) is for hiking. They will generally overlap when crossing roads or bridges as shown below.
When you reach Sunnyside Blvd there are a couple of options depending on what method of transportation you chose for the day. If you’re biking/hiking you can find a way to SAFELY cross the street at the crosswalks at Fairchild Avenue and head south on the Bethpage Bikeway (BB). Or you can ride south on Sunnyside Blvd and make a quick left back onto CLIMB Bikeway. I have not gone onto the CLIMB bikeway here and so therefore I’ll leave that for another post another day. For now we will follow the BB south.
The BB -which is the paved trail, NOT the dirt path- will run parallel to the 495/LIE N service road until you make a right on Washington Avenue. The bike trail is very easy to follow south all the way to Massapequa Preserve.
It is imperative I mention this in this post. The BB begins just north of and runs south of Bethpage State Park. According to the DOT.NY.GOV website the southern-most section of the trail is for biking, skiing, horseback riding and walking. It is a Shared Use Path as described by their caption below. There are dirt paths that intersect the BB but I couldn’t find anything clarifying whether they were specific to bikers or hikers. For now it is clear that the paved path is a shared path to be used by the allowable uses listed below. If anyone can impart some wisdom on the dirt paths it would be highly appreciated. Otherwise I’ll provide an update the next time I’m out on the trail.
I hope this update has clarified the different uses in the different areas of the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail. Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to discuss and I’ll do my best to research and inform! And if you’ve made it this far into the update, you’re today’s MVP. Thanks for reading 🙂
On one of my most recent trips to the southwest I was asked this very question. It was not asked with malicious intent, but genuine curiosity. The couple was only the second one we’d seen on the trail after hours of being there and we’d struck up a fun conversation. She was surprised to see how far we were from New York and even more surprised to learn I had just been to the Pacific Northwest the previous month. She followed the question with, “I mean, I assume you work.” Followed by a look in her eyes that just wanted to understand how.
Truthfully I get a chuckle out of it. I’M not even sure how I do it either. When I stop and analyze the how, it’s actually very simple. I have always been very frugal, especially with travel. I didn’t have the greatest jobs in college and I yearned to see more of the world. So my first couple of trips were promoted flight specials sent via email. And I always travelled in groups to save on the shared expenses like car rentals and hotels. I even ate fast food where I could, dollar menu please! Back then my stomach could handle anything lol.
From the moment I researched my very first trip, to the next one I have coming up in a week, I have always tried to spend less than the average person. This isn’t the method in which I book every trip, but for Las Vegas it was perfect. I learned I could fly there for $11.50 and I was all over it!
Did you just say $11.50?!
Yes I did! I’d like to begin by saying this is not an ad. I repeat, this is NOT AN AD. I DO NOT get paid for writing/posting this on my blog. BUT! If you’d like to contribute to my adventures and don’t have an American Express yet, I would really appreciate you using my link below…
Do your due diligence as I did and read the fine print. If this seems like something you’re interested in then please, use my link and tell a friend 🙂
Anyways… a very good friend of mine referred me to this card three years ago and I received a total of 60,000 bonus miles with Delta Airlines for spending $3000 in the first 3 months. I love to shop, so that wasn’t hard for me to do. Not to mention I threw as many bills as I could on there to help.
I also got married last year and that was a great boost in miles as well. Unfortunately, some vendors only accepted bank transfers or Visa/MasterCard. But we paid as many vendors as we could with the Amex and was happy to see the miles accumulating at the close of each monthly statement.
So after having my Gold Amex for a few years I had accumulated more than enough points for my husband and I to travel to Las Vegas. Here’s the thing though, Vegas is now our third destination we’ve purchased with miles. I have really worked out a system to pretty much pay for everything with my Amex, and then pay off the Amex to not carry a balance (or get charged interest). But seriously though, I mean everything.
So how did you actually pay $11.50?
My friend and I have mulled over the idea of having a road trip through Utah and Arizona for a while. We have even watched documentaries and done a ton of research. So when her 30th birthday was approaching she decided she wanted to pull the trigger. She came over and we started looking up flights. Not happy with the costs associated with flying to Las Vegas in April, I recalled a post by The points guy.
I’m going to let you in on one of my secrets. I religiously follow a twitter page @thepointsguy I even have text notifications set up for new posts because this page is amazing! He’s consistently posting about mile deals and all sorts of travel gold. Gold I tell you! And he is in large part the reason why I thought about looking into using our miles the first two times. My friend also has the Amex Gold card and had miles available to use.
So I went into my Delta app (apple or android), clicked on “book” and selected “Show Price In: Miles.” I put in the dates I wanted to travel and after messing around with dates for a while was pleasantly surprised. I found round trip flights from La Guardia to Las Vegas (returning to Newark) with a price tag of $11.50 and 25,500 miles. These flights had a 1.5 hour outbound layover and a 1 hour inbound layover in Minneapolis and Detroit respectively.
Would I have preferred to fly direct? Duh -_-
But honestly, for that price! I did not care about the layovers. Nor did I care about finding my way home from Newark as I have done many times before.
So like I said, it really is that simple. I would say it’s a matter of consistently using your card to accumulate miles. You get 1 mile for every dollar you spend. That way when you least expect it, you can pay with points and not with cold hard cash. Also the responsible adult in me is screaming to add this as well: please be responsible if you do get the card. It’s very easy to spiral into debt and that’s the last thing I would want to come out of this. Swipe responsibly ; )
If you found this at all helpful and are considering getting the card, please don’t forget to use MARIANA’S AMEX LINK. I get some bonus miles thrown my way for referring you and every mile helps.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Jennifer Lee
It’s been so long since I’ve done a local trail! So I was really happy to drive up to the Bear Mountain area and tackle this one. It took us 1H 48M but that includes time we used to take pictures and hang out on the money spot. I’m going to have to go back and do it start to finish without picture breaks to give you a real hike time. I’ll make sure to update this post when I do!
We parked right on the road on 9D and walked up to this trailhead.
Here’s a close up of the Appalachian trail map from the Hudson River to Connecticut. HERE’s a great website for an interactive map for the whole thing. I have to admit I think it’s pretty cool we have the ability to hike a small portion of this hike. Maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll do one of these long trails start to end…
So awesome to spot this trail marker 🙂
So… up we go. The first section is a bunch of “stairs” that are essentially very well placed rocks. We climbed for a little more than half a mile following the white trail blazers.
Afterwards you’ll come across this tree with three blue trail blazers. Make a right here and go up the now much easier portion of the trail. You can see Nicole and Kelly below stopping to wait for me to take my pictures 🙂
It’s pretty easy strolling from here on out. In the picture below you can see the trail heading towards a small pond. More on that later!
I totally forgot to take a picture of the junction where you need to make a right to get to the money spot. So here’s a picture from my favorite hiking blog Hike The Hudson to show you where to make the right. This junction will be where the blue trail makes a left but you’ll be making the right.
And then Boom! The money spot! Nicole took this awesome picture of me and Bear Mountain bridge. To the left of the bridge is the zoo and to the right of the bridge is the Rte 9W bridge that goes over Popolopen creek.
Here’s what the view looks like facing south. Kelly was in perfect position for a very patriotic picture. I love how American flags are erected at most hikes around the Hudson River.
Also, doggy! Really wish I would’ve been able to pet him. Doesn’t he look majestic posing for the picture?
So on the way down we just retraced our steps. This time we stopped at the little pond we walked past on the way up and took some time for important stuff: being very silly .
And then I spotted something.
I could not believe I found frog eggs. I wasn’t even sure that’s what I was looking at. But then a bunch of tadpoles swam around and we were certain they were. HERE’s a quick link for reference with pictures. We even spotted salamanders today.
Like I said, retrace your steps all the way down. Or up lol. The trail goes up and down until you hit those “stairs” again. Then it’s down to the trail head and your car. I had two bananas waiting in there for me. I hope if you go you have snacks waiting for you too.
I follow this awesome blog for hike ideas called Hike the Hudson. If you’re interested in reading his version of this hike, click HERE. Otherwise, here are some awesome pictures we took while hanging on Anthony’s Nose. I’m looking forward to doing it again this summer.
Let me tell you about my first hike of 2019! (Please feel free to skip this and scroll directly to the hike info below). We saw about a dozen people throughout the hike, and half of them with four-legged friends. I will pet any dog that let’s me, and two big fluff balls did just that. So pups on the trail are always a plus for me!
I am also a fan of running water during hikes. It’s so soothing. I had read that there are several creeks along this hike and was excited to see more water than usual. It rained the night before and drizzled on our way there. Little did I know that precipitation was going to be a pretty big theme for this hike.
I experienced something at Black Rock Forest that I have never experienced anywhere else in New York. Lake Effect! As we walked further into the trees we could hear precipitation falling. However, since it rained the night before we three assumed it was rain. I stuck my hand out to confirm the rain because it sounded a little different as it hit the ground. I caught a couple of teeny tiny hail-like snowballs. And just as quick as it started it would stop intermittently.
When we reached the summit what we saw in the distance and assumed was fog, was in fact a storm rolling in. FAST! I was posing for pictures for my IG and then it hit us in the face! You can see the video on my page HERE [WARNING: I curse in those videos] #sorrynotsorry
Go up the Stone Staircase and walk right past the green gate on the gravel road.
Cross Mailley’s Mill Bridge.
Cross the second bridge.
Follow the trail upstream (Blue Trail).
The Blue Trail ends where you cross the stream. If it rained the night before or that morning, be prepared to get wet. The water flowed right above the top of my Palladiums. Luckily they were tied tightly and close to nothing got in. The top of my socks got a little wet, but it was fine. Way better than squishy toes if you ask me. I was impressed and very happy about it considering we were just starting our 6.58 mile day.
The rocks looked like they would be high enough to keep me out of the water.
But then my right foot drops right into the water!
Back on the gravel road make a right uphill (Yellow Trail). Stay left at the fork and walk to the reservoir bank. Appreciate the stillness for a moment like my best friend Nicole does.
Continue walking on the road next to the reservoir.
After the “No Trespassing No Swimming” sign (facing away from you as you approach it) walk between the two yellow posts up ahead. But if you pass the yellow gate you’ve gone too far.
Turn right to continue on the Blue trail. It will be marked with three blue blazes on a tree and a couple of stepping-stones. We retraced our steps a couple of times here looking for the blue blazes. Trust me, just walk past those two yellow posts and in less than a minute you’ll see a tree with the blue blazes.
Ignore the white trail and stay on the blue trail until you reach the gravel road. Turn right on the gravel road and stay on it briefly.
Turn left at the wooden gate (it was closed so we walked around it). Keep walking and you’ll come across another reservoir. Walk around the right side of the reservoir. If it’s rained then you’ll definitely hear the water. So pretty!
Cross the bridge over the bottom section of the spillway.
Continue to walk up the small hill alongside the reservoir until you are standing at the bank.
Directly behind you there is a tree with two Yellow and two Teal blazes you’ll follow into the woods.
Once again ignore the white trail and continue following the Yellow/Teal trail. Soon after the white trail blazes pay close attention to the Yellow/Teal trail as it turns sharply to the right. You’ll see the gravel road to your left (don’t go that way!).
You’ll emerge onto Black Rock. Look at the view! No, seriously, look! That is lake effect heading my way. I thought it was a fog to be honest. And then in minutes we were all hit in the face by snow! Check out my post HERE to see videos of it coming in and surprising us all!
Ready to head down? Look out towards the view and then go left. You’ll see Yellow and Teal markers on the rocks.
Follow the trail all the way to the gravel road and turn left.
When you get to the intersection there will be a podium with a map. Make a left.
In a moment you’ll come across another intersection with a huge tree in the middle. Make a left.
In about 10 minutes you’ll come across two boulders. Walk between the boulders and hop onto “Buster’s Bend.”
After a short walk find the Yellow and Teal trail again. Make a right onto the trail towards the reservoir.
Follow the Yellow/Teal trail carefully as the White trail makes an appearance again.
Cross over the spillway bridge again.
Right after the bridge jump onto the White trail on the left.
Climb the stairs when you get to them, this is the White trail continued. We were on this trail for 15 minutes.
When the White Trail ends, which is marked by three White blazes, you’ll make a left onto the Blue Trail (this area is close to the first bridge you crossed earlier in your hike).
You’ll cross “Ben’s Bridge.”
Immediately after crossing the bridge, start following the Red Trail.
The Red Trail is going to meander for a while until you get back to your car.
The guide we read and followed HERE stated the hike was 5.4 miles and 3.5 hours long. However, with taking pictures and retracing our steps a few times, we did a total of 6.58 miles in almost the same amount of time!
I hope this post is helpful. Even if it helps one person have an better hiking experience, it’ll have been worth it. Until next hike!
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. — John Muir
I had received a text from my friend Nicole asking if I would be interested in going for a hike. Without hesitating I said yes. I had gone hiking before in Cold Spring Harbor in Huntington. Cold Spring is 1.8 miles long and has an elevation gain of 377 ft. This however, was not going to be easy….
We parked the car on the side of the road of 9D near the trailhead. During the summer months there is a table set up for hikers with volunteers handing out trail maps and information. They are so helpful and answer so many questions. There are also a set of port-a-potties set up near the trailhead.
So we started this hike at 10:00am and it took us 4 long sweaty hours to complete. We took a dozen breaks while scrambling and perched on several rocks. Thank goodness for the water we brought with us because it was much-needed. Gotta stay hydrated!!!
Right away the hike starts gaining elevation. The trail goes over the 9D tunnel and the white trail begins. This is the Breakneck Ridge Trail. You’ll follow this trail all the way up to the first lookout. There are areas where the white trail goes left or right (marked by white arrows). We went left because we were told it was the easier way up. Upon return trips however, we’ve taken the right side. The right side is definitely scarier as it’s exposed to the sheer drop offs, but better views for sure. I’ll add some of those additional pictures from other trips at the end of this post.
Ever so often you should take a look over your shoulder when you need a break. You could miss some pretty neat views of the Hudson as you make your way up.
You will need both your hands and feet for the scrambling. I suggest taking off any rings you don’t want to bang up too badly.
We took a rest and got this nice pano with Storm King across the river to the left. I’ve done that hike as well and I’ll make sure to write a post about that fun hike soon!
Just keep climbing.
Some markers will be nailed onto tree trunks, others will be white rectangular blazes spray painted onto trees or rocks.
Luckily for us the trail was dry on this first attempt. It takes longer and demands more efforts when it has rained or still has ice on the ground.
Finally you get to the flag you can see when driving north on 9D. Stop and take in the scenery, it’s nice up there!
There are plenty of people swapping phones for photo opportunities. So Nicole and I snagged this picture at the flag with the Hudson in the background.
I was feeling particularly brave that day and decided to head down to a better vantage point. Fair warning though, jumping down was pretty easy. The climbing back up was not. It took some momentum and jumping to reach the ledge I’d so willingly jumped down from lol. Lesson learned!
Pretty views though!
After letting all the sights sink in for a bit, we continued our hike. The white trail is met by the yellow Undercliff Trail pictured below. We made this right and bid the white trail goodbye.
The yellow trail has undergone many changes since we first hiked there. Markers have been moved and “stairs” have been put in place. There are areas where you gain elevation, but overall you are now heading down to complete the loop. We did see a snake that we believe to be a milk snake while on the yellow trail. He was way more scared of me than I of him and he quickly slithered away. I didn’t have time to snap a picture but here’s exactly what it looked like and a quick description.
There’s a green trail you can take to make the loop shorter. But we continued on the yellow until we got to this Murray’s Bridge.
Here’s a picture of Nicole slipping on the rocks around the creek. It is very slippery. Shortly after I fell as well because why not? LOL! I saved my phone from ending up in the water, which was in my hand on the way down.
While walking the yellow trail you’ll encounter the red trail which is called the Brook Trail. This is the trail that will later dump you out onto 9D to your car.
It’s very well-marked and hard to miss.
The Cornish Estate lies between the red and blue trail (Brook Trail and Cornish Trail respectively). There’s some pretty neat ruins throughout the area.
Finally when you make it to the road, make a right. It’s just a quick walk to make your way through the tunnel and back to your car. And you’re done!
Like I said, the first time we did this hike it took us four hours! We have done this hike several times now. It takes us approximately 2 hours now to do start to finish. As promised, here are some pictures from the other times we’ve done the hike. Enjoy!