STORM KING MOUNTAIN

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:

  1. From parking lot follow ORANGE
  2. Continue on ORANGE past ruins 
  3. RIGHT onto Yellow/blue (NOT LEFT)
  4. RIGHT to Stay on blue/yellow (when blue/red intersects)
  5. LEFT to stay on yellow/blue (when blue blaze intersects from right)
  6. Follow BLUE/YELLOW down until WHITE.
  7. Follow WHITE (sometimes BLUE/WHITE) all the way back to car 
  8. 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.

– Unknown
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NASSAU SUFFOLK TRAIL

[OCTOBER 2019- UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST]

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 🙂

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”

– Gary Snyder

BREAKNECK RIDGE – OPTION 1

GPS: 41.443263, -73.977531

TIME: 2H

LENGTH: 3.7 MILES

ELEVATION: 1,442 ft

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!!!

HIKE INFO

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Just keep climbing.

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Some markers will be nailed onto tree trunks, others will be white rectangular blazes spray painted onto trees or rocks.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Pretty views though!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It’s very well-marked and hard to miss.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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