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.
Selvallafoss, also known as Sheep’s Waterfall, is located off of Road #56. It’s a lesser known waterfall you can walk behind. Surprisingly when we got there only one other car was in the lot. There are picnic tables to help you spot the area and trailhead. I’m using the word trailhead loosely here because it took us less than five minutes to find it and the loop we did isn’t the most difficult.
The GPS coordinates for the parking lot are: 64°56’29.9″N 22°54’15.7″W. In the picture below you can see the worn trail to the left just above the left-most pillar.
Stay on the path from the picnic area for a couple of minutes. Enjoy the views, there are mountains in every direction. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling with family, you’ll spot some crazies too!
As you approach the waterfall, the sound of rushing water will get louder. Follow the sound and find the waterfall to your left.
Don’t be afraid to explore the different paths in the area. There are some great photo opportunities within short walking distances. Just remember to be careful as the rocks, mud and moss make the area very slippery. You can walk to the foreground to capture the tiers as my cousin did below.
You can also walk behind the waterfall all the way to the other side. Standing next to this waterfall gets really loud. Even standing where I was in the picture below I was getting wet from the mist of the falls. A waterproof jacket is perfect here if you’re crossing to the other side behind the falls.
Fair warning though, there is VERY low clearance on the other side of the falls. And it is extremely muddy. Do not wear shoes you do not wish to have covered in mud. My cousin can be seen crossing at the beginning of the video below.
Once all six of us made it to the other safely, we continued following the trail for a couple of minutes.
We made a hard left off the trail and climbed to the top of the hill. Essentially climbing to the top of the waterfall. This portion of the hike didn’t seem like it, but was very steep.
We followed the water up stream to the road and crossed back over. Below you can see Jessica in her beige jacket leading the group to the road. I prefer to do loops than in and out hikes. So this was a perfect way to get back to our rental car.
Here’s an amazing panoramic image of the area while we were trying to figure out which way to get back to the car.
Overall I would say that if you’re in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula this is a great spot to add to your itinerary. In the small amount of time we were there, we didn’t encounter many other tourists. We freely enjoyed the waterfall and didn’t have to break out into a hardcore hike sweat session to get back to the car. All in all, a wonderful waterfall option!
“I have fantasies of going to Iceland, never to return.“
Sometimes you think you know where you’re going and what you’re going to do when you get there. That was me. After all my research, I thought I knew for sure that Forrest Gump point was going to be the perfect place to take that iconic picture. Turns out we were close, but a little off.
Now don’t get me wrong. You can get some pretty awesome pictures from that viewpoint, but if you look at the picture below I’ll share a secret with you: The better viewpoint, at least in my humble opinion, is just down the road.
There were no other cars there, no other tourist and plenty of road to get just the right pictures we wanted.
Taking these pictures was the closest I ever got to playing frogger in real life. Kind of fun and kind of scary at the same time. It is super important to pay attention to the road. It’s easy to get distracted trying to get that perfect shot. Remember the cars have the open road and don’t want to stop because they are avoiding a pedestrian. We were lucky because we had one subject, one person on the camera, and one person yelling “CAR!” It was a system where we rotated and it kept us all safe.
Below I’ll share some of our awesome shots from that second viewpoint. You can see Monument Valley is closer in the background.
And for those of you who scrolled this far, I’ll show you some behind the scenes and bloopers 🙂
While researching for my trip to the southwest I read all about the limitations monument valley has regarding hiking. How there’s only one hike you can do unaccompanied and everything else must be hiked with a Navajo guide. I think guides are important to meet the locals and learn things not otherwise noted. However, I’m an advocate for also being able to explore at my own pace. So I came across Valley of the Gods and was pleasantly surprised to see you could walk right up to buttes and not need a guide. Just make sure when traveling to Valley of the Gods that you’re prepared. There are no facilities and no source of drinking water. And remember to carry out your trash.
We turned onto the 17 mile-long dirt road just north of Mexican hat. It’s a bumpy ride and we were in an SUV. I saw sedans on the road as well so I don’t think an SUV is necessary. But online it states that when wet the area is impassable, even in an SUV. So check the weather and enter at your own risk!
There were tents at the base of some of the buttes. I’m sure people who had stayed the night had an awesome experience there. It’s so peaceful and quiet.
The buttes have names and it’s fun guessing which ones are on the list. We found a very informative map Here. The one that struck me as the easiest to see was the lady in the tub. I couldn’t unsee her in that tub! It totally personified the butte for me.
After we drove the 17 miles we headed over to Moki (Mokee) Dugway. It’s also a dirt road and there are warning signs at the base before entering. Impassable during rain and 10% grades made for an interesting ride in the passenger seat.
But so worth it. The views were a bit hazy and the pictures don’t do it justice. Atop the dugway you can see the Valley of the Gods below. Can you spot the lady in the bath tub? On clearer days you can even see monument valley from there.
Overall Valley of the Gods and Moki Dugway are areas for people to explore with less crowds. You can have a real personal experience here in solitude if you wish. And that’s hard to come by in the ever growingly popular south west.
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
I have to start this post by saying the the Earth Trekkers blog was super helpful in completing this hike. We could have very easily gotten lost without their great posts with corresponding images. And on that note, let’s get right to it!
We drove east on route 12 from Bryce National Park. It took us about 2 hours to get to the trail head. According to my offline Google maps it should have taken us 1.5 hours, but we slowed down considerably when we hit the dirt road. The dirt road is just under 8 miles long and it’s called Hole in the Rock Rd.
We passed the cattle guards (pictured below) and made sure to count them. We knew from reading Earth Trekkers that the trailhead and parking lot were just after the third one. We were in an SUV and it was a bumpy ride. I don’t think you need an SUV but it wouldn’t hurt if you have the option.
We arrived at 11:00 am and there was still plenty of space for other vehicles. I cannot express how important this is: apply sunblock and bring plenty of water! Yes it’s April and summer hasn’t actually started, but dehydration is inevitable even in these conditions if you’re not prepared. It’s a long walk and you don’t want to be caught without water, trust me!
From the trailhead we started out into the desert. The trail is easy to follow at first. It’s worn and even if you accidentally follow the drainage, it’ll bring you back to the trail as they both eventually lead to the same wash. While you stroll along you’ll come across diverse rock patterns.
Tony wanted to further explore the rock formations on the sides of the trail. It’s hard to tell, but the rock is actually steeper than it lets on.
You’ll come across a gate. It’s perfectly fine to cross. The gates easily swing open when pushed. I had already crossed the gate and was waiting for Tony to cross too.
This is where you need to pay attention. There are false trails from all the hikers that get lost here. We followed the instructions we found online and made sure to stay left when the trails split off.
There was a nice big rock formation we decided to stop on for a water break/photo opportunity.
Making sure we stayed left in Harris Wash we finally found the entrance to the slot canyon. (Thank you Earth Trekkers!)
I found this neat little moqui ball as I walked into the canyon. There’s an interesting read HERE. Pay attention as you walk in because you’ll see some of them still stuck in the walls.
Soon enough you’ll start squeezing your way through. Your back pack won’t stay on your back much longer. I resorted to keeping it over my head many times.
And then this…
I had such a hard time getting through here. I have shorter legs than my three co-travelers and couldn’t extend the way they could. I tried multiple ways and angles until I finally managed to do it. Whereas Tony used his feet I used my knees.
Here’s a better picture of how to cross the narrower parts of the canyon where your feet don’t fit in the canyon below. CJ is taller than me and needed to go higher in the canyon. He also used his feet on the opposing wall. You can see me deeper in the canyon using my knees on the opposing wall instead of my feet.
I wouldn’t lie to you about the parts where I struggled. It wasn’t easy. But hiking that desert wasn’t easy either. And I wasn’t leaving there until I made it into the canyon to see the zebra portion.
TA DA! We made it to the zebra slot portion!
How amazing are these lines though???
The hike back to the car was long and hot. Now that I’ve done the hike I’m glad I’ve crossed it off my list. I think everyone should see and experience it at least once. But I’ve seen so many other places in Escalante that I would hold off on a repeat hike until exploring the rest of the area. Until my next adventure, I have so many gorgeous pictures of wave like rock structures and zebra stripes to reminisce with. : )
“In the desert, the line between life and death is sharp and quick.”
We were done with the strenuous Angels Landing and took a nice stroll on Riverside Walk that day. However, it was early enough in the day where we could fit in another hike and still make it to our AirBnb in a decent time.
Having done so much research I had yellow stars scattered all along my offline google maps. So I started clicking around and found Kanarra Falls. It was perfect. Short enough to complete (the section we wanted to do is only 3.2 miles long RT) and on the way to our next destination for the night. I was also bewitched by the idea that we’d be alone in a narrow canyon and it’s awesome waterfall. When we arrived there were only two other cars in the lot and one was pulling out.
There’s a $12.00 per person fee at the trailhead just up the stairs from the parking lot. I had my first red flag disguised as a pleasant surprise when we saw the permit station employee. He was getting ready to close and saw that we were on the fence about paying $12 per person ($48 total). So he did us a huge favor and told us to pay $12 for parking and all four of us could get access to the trailhead. He must have known we wouldn’t make it all the way as the water was rising. Instead of questioning his decision to hook us up I took it and ran with it. He gave us a small map and it looked pretty straight forward.
At the entrance there are also signs to warn hikers about the rattle snakes. More on that later…
Excited to potentially do three hikes in a day we started our trek. The first 10 minutes of it are on a road. At the top of the hill there are facilities. And just past the facilities is the first encounter with water. Be prepared to wet your shoes, socks and pants. We crossed and were on our way. Below you’ll see Nicole leading the way and CJ and Tony behind me. We walked next to the creek the whole time.
Soon after however, we realized there aren’t any trail markers. That wouldn’t have been a problem where the ground is worn and the trail is easy to follow. We obviously know from high school geography that this creek leads into the falls. The problem arrises when there are false paths intersecting the creek and trail and you’re not sure which way to go.
We crossed the creek three or four times. We made it to what I believe is the portion where the rest of the hike is done in the creek. But at this point the water was really cold and the current was strong. The water was above knee level in certain spots for me (I’m 5’5″) and I was uncomfortable with the idea that it would only get deeper. We stopped and talked about the pros/cons of continuing for a while. Preferring to be better safe than sorry, we decided to turn around.
I realize as I write this that I don’t have video of the deeper creek crossings and I know exactly why. I was more scared concerned with not getting swept away by the current than taking pictures or videos for “the gram.” It was not worth risking a steady foot placement.
Now let me tell you about the snake. At one point on our way out I was walking right next to Tony. He said something along the lines of “what is that?” and immediately we heard a rattle. If you’ve never had the experience of hearing it in person, here’s a LINK. We were out of there so fast! I could not believe how close it was to the trail itself. That sound was ONE BIG NOPE! Almost running to the car, I made sure to stay away from the shrubbery at the sides of the trail.
Then we arrived at the first creek crossing we had at the trailhead, which was also the shallowest of them all. It was ankle deep when we started. By the time we were leaving it was just below Tony’s knees (he’s 6’1″). And the crossing itself was much wider than we initially saw it. The pictures below are screen grabs from a GoPro video I have of everyone crossing at the trailhead on the way out.
By the end of our trip we named this the hike that shall not be named. Between the lack of trail markers, rattle snake and strong currents I felt defeated.
Finally in the car and out of our wet shoes, I pulled out of our parking spot. I couldn’t believe that just across the road, not even 20 ft. from us, there were three very large deers making their way down. After what felt like a very rough afternoon, it was calming to see them walking. Side by side, unbothered by the presence of our vehicle. It reminded me why we were out there in the first place.
I’ve said it in other posts and I’ll say it again. I can become so concerned with the destination of a hike that I forget about the actual hike itself. The journey that afternoon was adventurous! It gave us higher water levels to really concentrate balancing in, adrenaline from hearing the rattle snake, and conviction to complete every hike thereafter.
For the future, when I attempt this hike again, I will make sure to check out their website first. It looks like they are attempting to update hikers on a more daily basis. This would be super helpful for day-of hikers looking to check water levels and currents.
And yes, you read that correctly. When I attempt this hike again. It’s the first time I’ve prematurely turned around on a hike. Maybe it won’t be the last either. But I haven’t crossed it off my list and when I’m in the area again I’m determined to conquer it.
“The will to conquer is the first condition of victory.”
After hiking Angels Landing Wednesday morning, I wanted to continue exploring without completely exhausting my last bit of energy. I had a list on my phone of easy hikes that had been posted to Zion’s website HERE. So we opted for a stroll in Riverside walk. We took the shuttle to the last stop called Temple of Sinawava.
I’m a huge fan of trails that form loops vs in and out trails. Riverside Walk is supposed to be in and out, but you can walk the path in and then walk along the Virgin River in the sand for the most part coming out (or in reverse). I was curious to see what it looked like as this trail leads into the narrows. One day I would love to do that hike. It’s on my ever growing list of hikes I wish to complete.
This trail is wheel chair friendly for a pretty decent portion. Once the paved path starts to have too many inclines there’s a sign that identifies the end of the wheelchair friendly portion. The changes in elevation are minimal, but enough to make it difficult for a wheel chair to continue on the path.
There is a warning about the flash floods at the entrance of the trail. When I was there in April the Virgin River was impassable and the Narrows were closed. I had seen many videos prior to visiting Zion of what flash floods are and how quickly they can occur. So when you visit, make sure to do your due diligence and check on the potential of a flash flood during your visit.
Not far from the entrance we were greeted by a waterfall.
Being the ever so curious person I am, I had to check how deep the water was here.
Sometimes I can get caught up in the destination portion of the hike. But knowing this was more about the hike itself, I put my electronics away until I got to the end. As you walk through remember to look up and enjoy the hanging gardens. We even stopped at some point on a large rock to watch the river go by. It was probably the most relaxing thing I did that whole trip.
Once we reached the entrance of The Narrows, I was determined to dip my feet into the water. I may have been wearing a tank top and sweating from the heat, but the water was unaware of the warm weather. I stood in the water for about 10 seconds before I had to remove my feet. The water was so cold that I felt pain shoot up into my knees.
I know that doesn’t sound appealing but I took a seat and waited for the feeling to return to my toes. Clearly, I was going to do it again, but this time I knew what to expect.
When I did it again I committed to staying in for at least 30 seconds. I’m not a masochist I promise! I just know my feet had been through many miles already that day. And according to Google:
“Immersing tired joints and muscles in ice water stimulates blood flow and reduces inflammation. It causes the veins to constrict, removes toxins from the blood, and alleviates the delayed on-set of muscles soreness.”
I still had so much hiking to do that trip. Reducing soreness and inflammation was worth 30 second stings of ice cold water. I use ice on my knees and achilles when I’m home, so this was no different for me. Not to mention, the rebel in me wanted to know I stood in the water at the entrance of The Narrows.
Thanks for reading about this very easy, leisurely stroll on Riverside Walk! If you’d like to read about my hike to Angels Landing from earlier that morning, click HERE. Or if you’d like to see what other hikes I’ve completed click HERE.
“Stillness as a technique is still really captivating to me.”
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.