Nachi suggested a short hike in High Tor State Park, and ten of us participated. It was not the prettiest of days, with gray skies and temperatures in the 40s, and obviously no green vegetation.
Rather than starting the hike in the park, we met at a parking area about 1/2 mile outside the park, off Old Route 90 (Haverstraw Road), east of County Road 23. Our route was on maps 111 and 112 of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference “Hudson Palisades Trails” series. The parking area is not marked on map 111, but is at GPS coordinates 41.1771, 73.9604.
Nachi called the meeting for 10 a.m., but some drivers were late, got lost, etc., and as a result we didn’t begin hiking until around 10:40. We began walking a short distance west along Haverstraw Road, following the aqua blazes of the Long Path, which turned north into the woods shortly after the intersection with Country Road 23.
10:47 a.m.: The Long Path soon passed an old stone wall and began a gradual climbing. The road was at 200 feet in elevation, and the high point reached during the day would be 830 feet, at High Tor.
By 10:57, we had already entered into High Tor State Park, on map 112, and we passed the white-blazed Spur Path. We continued on the Long Path.
11:03 a.m.: Around 500′ of elevation, the path turned northwest, skirting around a hill.
11:09 a.m.: While there was no greenery, the hikers provided more than a touch of color.
11:13 a.m.: The Hudson appears in the background:
11:14 a.m.: The group gathered for a moment just below the peak of High Tor.
We then climbed the remaining 20′ for an unobstructed 360 degree view, but it revealed an ugly quarry below, and I think the obstructed view presented above is nicer.
We resumed our hike to the northwest, at a leisurely pace, stopping when we reached Little Tor, at about 710′ elevation, where we stopped for lunch.
12:11 p.m.: The scenic view here was a little nicer. Instead of the ugly quarry, we had a nice view of the western part of Haverstraw, as well as the Hudson.
The area has a lot of history. High Tor was used as a signal point by colonists during the Revolution. Benedict Arnold met an English general at a beach in Haverstraw and offered to sell plans to West Point. And in the late 1800s, Haverstraw was the leading center of brick production in the United States. The property was at risk of being quarried for its trap rock, but locals rallied to save it, and it was purchased and made a park in 1943.
In Haverstraw, a water tower in the town is owned by–or advertises–the local hospital, which is named for the famous actress and philanthropist, Helen Hayes.
After lunch, we explored another little side path which took us around the west of Little Tor. The view here was of a different character, as we were now looking toward the western part of High Tor State Park (and perhaps also toward South Mountain County Park), and thus away from the residential areas of the surrounding towns.
We began hiking back. There was no loop path here, or at least not to our knowledge, and thus we retraced our steps on the Long Path.
1:35 p.m.: I pose for a photo with Yitz, one of my apartment mates.
1:50 p.m.: On the return path, I spotted a place where the Long Path has been rerouted, taking a short cut. While the other hikers retraced their steps on the path that we had followed earlier, I decided to follow the partially-obscured blazes that marked the old route of the trail.
1:51 p.m.: The old route paralleled the new route, but at a higher elevation to the north. I could see my fellow hikers moving below me:
1:53 p.m.: The old route ended at the top of a steep hill, which I had to descend with a hand and foot scramble, rejoining the others below. The photo doesn’t reflect how steep the scramble was. It was safe enough in the dry conditions of that day, but perhaps the path had been rerouted with wet or snowy conditions in mind.
After only a few minutes on the old route and scramble, I soon rejoined the rest of the hiking group.
2:12 p.m.: When we reached the white-blazed Spur Path, we detoured on it to the west, visiting a small pond for a few minutes.
We then returned to the cars, having completed a roughly 5.5 mile hike. It was not very strenuous, as we were moving at a slow pace and did not have a great deal of elevation gain.
While not a pretty day, I am always happy to get out and exercise, and the company was nice. This was also the first time I visited High Tor State Park, and I am glad to add it to my list.