My hiking partners today were Suri, Greg and Malky. We went to the southwest corner of Harriman, a part of the park I had never visited before. From Route 17, we turned east onto Seven Lakes Drive, and parked at the Reeves Meadow Visitor Center.
We began hiking east on the red-blazed Pine Meadow trail, but after about 200 yards turned south onto the white-blazed Reeves Brook trail, which paralleled a small brook. Small trees provided plenty of shade.
In one place, the trail passed over two inclined ledges of bare rock. We probably could have scaled the rock itself, but discovered that there were narrow gaps between the rocks in two places, and that at least one of the gaps was wide enough for hikers to pass through.
A Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata) resting on a downed log:
When I took this photo, I only saw the leopard slug (Limax maximus), and didn’t notice the spider until I reviewed the photo on my computer. I wonder if they are friends.
After 1.4 miles, we reached the intersection with the blue-blazed Seven Hills trail and turned right (southwest) onto that, which led out of the tree cover.
We reached the scenic Torne View:
A fused HDR image from Torne View:
At Torne View, I heard something move through the grass behind me, and turned to see the tail of a black rat snake slithering out of sight beneath a rock. He didn’t stick around long enough for me to take a photo. In another spot on the hike, I saw a chipmunk or squirrel scamper under a rock, and he also was too shy to allow himself to be photographed.
A tree growing from a rock seam:
The elevation of this hike varied from around 600′ to 1100′, but included a lot of ascents and descents. Here, Suri and Greg descend the trail:
I gave Greg my camera, and he photographed me sitting on a rock a few feet from a vertical wall, while Malky contemplated how to best descend the trail:
I don’t know if there are really seven hills on the Seven Hills Trail, but there are a lot of them. Here, having just descended one area, we were immediately faced with a steep climb up a hill of broken rock:
I scrambled up the rocky hill first and then photographed the others following me:
I thought this was a very nice scenic view, and yet it wasn’t shown with a star on the NY-NJ Trail Conference map:
After 0.7 miles, the blue-blazed trail intersected the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail, and for the next 0.2 miles both trails continued together. The trails then split, and we turned left (southwest) onto the orange trail. Here, we found Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) in bloom:
After 0.4 miles, we reached the scenic view Ramapo Torne, where we stopped for lunch. The view was marred by an electrical substation (not visible in the photo), and power lines crossing through the photo, as well as by U.S. 87 on the right, and the strange landscaping in the middle (we didn’t learn what that was):
After lunch, we backtracked 0.4 miles over the orange-blazed trail and then 0.2 miles over the jointly blue and orange-blazed section. We then continued on part of the orange trail we hadn’t seen yet, moving toward the east.
This part of the trail included areas without heavy tree cover, and there was also bare rock to appreciate:
A fallen tree:
The trail crossed through a grove of slender trees:
The trail began a steep climb of about 200′, to a scenic view known as the Russian Bear. I did not find the view to be so scenic and do not have any photos. The Russian Bear formerly referred to a large boulder at the top, but it fell in 2004. The trail turned north at this point.
After 1.0 mile, the orange trail intersected the black-blazed Raccoon Brook Hills Trail, and we turned left (west onto that). In one spot, the trail was not well blazed at all, and we followed a couple of cairns. We were planning to turn north onto the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail, and beside a footpath we saw a cairn with a white blaze on it. But was only a single blaze, and not the three blazes that we would expect at the end of a trail. Also, there were no corresponding black blazes to signify an intersection with the black trail. Nonetheless, not seeing any other blaze or trail, we turned onto the footpath, and before long came to black blazes proving that we had remained on the black trail. So that cairn should have been blazed black instead of white.
After 0.4 miles on the black trail, we did finally come to the three blazes signifying one end of the white-blazed Reeves Brook Trail, and we turned north onto that, heading back to the car.
Another fallen tree:
A stagnant pool off the Reeves Brook Trail:
A tiny waterfall on Reeves Brook:
This was about a 6.2 mile hike. While there was only about a 500′ difference between minimum and maximum elevations, I estimate that with all the hills, we ascended about 1700′ and descended the same amount.