I joined five hikers at Harriman, most of whom I had hiked with previously with the Jewish Outdoors Club. Whereas the week before, I had seen a lot of snow on my drive to the park, this Sunday I saw very little. The temperatures had been above freezing for most of the week, and I thought it possible that all the snow had melted from Harriman.
It was not a bright sunny day like the Sunday before. While again in the mid-40s, it was very foggy. Our group met in a parking area at the intersection of Route 9W with the road to Jones Point, southeast of Iona Island. The intent was a loop that would have us hike about 5 miles on the Ramapo-Dunderberg trail to a scenic outlook called The Timp, and then to return about 3 miles on the Timp-Torne trail, for a total hike of about 8 miles, with elevation change of 1500′.
10:13 a.m.: We began our hike with some confusion. A sign near the parking lot indicated there were footpaths directly behind the lot, but we did not see any blazes directing us to the red-blazed Ramapo-Dunderberg trail. We learned at the end of the day that the trail exits the woods about 50 yards south of the parking area. But early in the morning, we wandered around aimlessly for a while. Two of the ladies had beautiful red hair, and at times their hair seemed to match the vegetation:
10:30 a.m.: We finally found the red blazes and began ascending the R-D trail. Here a couple of trees had fallen across the path, though someone with a chain saw had already been there to clean up part of the mess.
10:35 a.m.: My fellow hikers, at lower left, round a curve in the trail from behind a tall hill.
11:34 a.m.: The fog was denser in some places, but remained a constant throughout the day. The weatherman had said that it would clear, but it did not.
11:47 a.m.: We learned that there was indeed some snow remaining in Harriman.
Soon after this we stopped for a break at a tree, and then we continued straight.
Moss peeking out from the snow:
After about 1/4 mile, we realized that there were no blazes. We had unintentionally diverted from the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail and were on the Bockberg woods road. We backtracked, and discovered that the R-D trail had turned right at the tree where we had taken our break. We continued on the R-D trail.
1:23 p.m.: With the snow and fog, some of the photographs were so monochromatic that they almost could have been black and white.
1:27 p.m.: Some areas were covered with snow, and others were clear.
1:52 p.m.: We reached a stream. One hiker safely crossed on logs bridging the stream, while the rest of us crossed about 30′ away, on stepping stones.
1:54 p.m.: Another monochromatic image.
1:57 p.m.: The heartwood of this small tree was so light in color that we suspected the tree had fallen very recently.
We reached the intersection with the red-blazed 1777 Trail, but continued on the Ramapo-Dunderberg trail.
Finally, we reached the intersection with the blue-blazed Timp-Torne trail. We knew that the fog made it impossible to enjoy the scenic views, and it was also getting late. Nevertheless, we decided to continue the short distance to our original goal, The Timp. Therefore, we turned right (west) onto the Timp-Torne trail.
2:37 p.m.: Here, another large fallen tree appealed to me.
2:44 p.m.: At The Timp. We imagined the beautiful view that we would have had on a clear day. I hope I’ll be able to return on such a day.
We turned around and headed east on the Timp-Torne trail, which would complete our loop back to the cars. On the way back, we saw a young deer, but it scampered away before I was able to take a photo.
3:27 p.m.: We passed another fallen tree.
3:40 p.m.: More fog.
3:53 p.m.: A boulder beside the trail.
It became too dark for more photos. I broke out my headlamp, but we made it back to the parking lot by around 4:45 p.m., after sunset but before it grew very dark.