Harriman State Park, Rockland County, New York

Jon, Nachi and I drove to the Lake Sebago boat dock in Harriman. We were supposed to be joined there by another man, which would give us two cars with which we could do a shuttle hike beginning at the park’s southwest corner and leading back to Lake Sebago.

Unfortunately, the other man was confused about where to meet us, and the absence of cell phone service meant that we were not able to get a message to each other. After waiting 45 minutes, the three of us  decided to do a loop hike from Lake Sebago, and we later learned that our missing friend had gone to the Visitor’s Center, and ended up doing a solo hike from there.

10:54 a.m.: We began hiking south on the blue-blazed Seven Hills trail, which climbed 400′ in the first 1/3 mile. At 0.6 miles into the hike we crossed Diamond Creek, at which point the Seven Hills trail joined an old woods road, shown on the map as Woodtown Road. After another 0.1 miles we turned right, departing from the woods road but remaining on the blue trail. This intersection is shown on the map as having a point of interest, “Monitor Rock.” I did not look too closely, but do not remember anything too exciting there.

11:19 a.m.: However, soon after we made the right turn off the woods road, we walked past this unnamed glacial erratic, the first of a number of large boulders deposited by glaciers that we would see on this hike:

Glacial erratic on the Seven Hills Trail, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Glacial erratic

After another 0.6 miles we came to a very nice scenic view to the north. We passed the area again at the end of the day, and that photo is better, so I’ll present it toward the end of this post.

Then 0.1 mile past the scenic view we turned left onto the yellow-blazed Diamond Mountain Tower Trail.

12:08 p.m.: After 0.45 miles we hiked past a rather ugly concrete structure that Jon climbed onto; I have since seen it described in other blogs as a septic tank. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps was active in Harriman, constructing Pine Meadow Lake and intending to construct cabins and campsites around it. This work included constructing a water system and presumably a wastewater system. In the end, few of the camps were built and none remain. I speculate that this abandoned structure relates to that CCC project.

Abandoned septic tank, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Abandoned septic tank

12:23 p.m.: In another 0.3 miles we had turned right onto the red-blazed Pine Meadow Trail, crossed Pine Meadow Brook, and arrived at the Pine Meadow Lake:

Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Pine Meadow Lake

12:47 p.m.: We hiked clockwise around the perimeter of the lake, here encountering a ruin on the northern shore:

Ruin at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Ruin at Pine Meadow Lake

The interior of the ruin:

Interior of ruin at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Interior of ruin at Pine Meadow Lake

1:40 p.m.: After 0.7 miles (and a lunch break), we reached the eastern end of the lake. The red trail continued toward the east, but we turned off it, and for just 0.1 mile followed the white-blazed Conklin’s Crossing Trail, which led uncomfortably over a pile of large rocks:

Hiking across large rocks, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Hiking across large rocks

1:45 p.m.: We then followed an unmaintained trail that hugged the southern shoreline of the lake for 0.6 mile. There were many of these concrete box structures around the lake, associated with the abandoned (waste)water system.

Abandoned water works at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Abandoned water works at Pine Meadow Lake

1:52 p.m.: In many places the abandoned pipes were visible above ground, as in this case:

Abandoned water works at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Abandoned water works at Pine Meadow Lake

Abandoned (and broken) pipe:

Old water pipe at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Old water pipe

I guess there’s no budget to remove these abandoned structures, which I generally felt were an eyesore. We also saw an immense amount of trash around the lake — it is disgraceful that people come to visit a park and then leave it trashed!

The unmaintained trail ended at an old woods road, the Torne Valley Road. We followed this about 0.15 miles north toward the lake, where I hoped to find and visit the Conklin Cemetery. The map shows the cemetery about 0.1-0.2 miles from the woods road, and I followed unblazed footpaths in that direction.

2:04 p.m.: I found another nice glacial erratic:

Glacial erratic at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Glacial erratic

2:08 p.m.: I also found an impressive chimney that was engraved “CAMP-18 / CCC Co 201 / PINE MEADOW”:

CCC campsite fireplace at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Civilian Conservation Corps campsite fireplace

We did not find the cemetery, though Dan Balough has photos available on his blog.

2:12 p.m.: It then began to rain. While we had brought raingear, Jon suggested a better solution, as he had discovered a shelter near the lake:

Inside a shelter at Pine Meadow Lake, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Inside a shelter

After a few minutes, the rain subsided, and we were able to leave the shelter. It may have sprinkled once or twice after that, and the wet leaves continued dripping on us, but we managed without raingear.

We backtracked south the short distance on the Torne Valley Road, then continued another 0.2 miles until it intersected another old woods road, Pine Meadow Road West. We followed that around the west end of the lake for 0.4 miles, arriving back at where we had first encountered the lake. We crossed Pine Meadow Brook once again, turning left on the red-blazed trail that paralleled the brook.

3:18 p.m.: After 0.6 miles we reached a spot on the brook adjacent to Go-Nus-Quah Rock, where Jon demonstrated how to cool off in the brook.

Cooling off in Pine Meadow Brook, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Cooling off in Pine Meadow Brook

One website states that Go-Nus-Quah Rock is named for a man-eating giant of Seneca folklore.

Admiring Gonusquah Rock, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Admiring Go-Nus-Quah Rock

Another view:

Side view of Gonusquah Rock, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Side view of Go-Nus-Quah Rock

3:38 p.m.: Not too far away was another boulder that offered a shelter underneath it, though perhaps one appealing more to a bear than a human!

Boulder, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Boulder

We continued west on the red trail for another 1/4 mile, until it reached a bridge over the brook. At this point we stayed on the northern bank of the brook, following the white-blazed Kakiat Trail for 0.35 miles to the intersection with the orange-blazed Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail, onto which we turned right (northeast).

4:14 p.m.: We soon encountered a scenic view, of which I have prepared a fused HDR image:

Scenic view on Halfway Mountain, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Scenic view on Halfway Mountain

There were a number of nice boulders on the orange trail:

Boulders on Halfway Mountain, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Boulders on Halfway Mountain

 

Glacial erratic, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Glacial erratic

This wood frog was probably alarmed by our presence:

Wood frog, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Wood frog

4:34 p.m.: Another fused HDR image, of a short scramble on the orange trail:

Scramble on the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Scramble on the Hillburn-Torne-Sebago Trail

After 1.1 miles on the orange trail, we returned to the blue-blazed Seven Hills Trail with which we had began our hike.

4:59 p.m.: After 0.2 miles we returned to the scenic view that we had enjoyed earlier in the day. As promised, here is the photo from that viewpoint, using High Dynamic Range imaging:

Scenic view on Seven Hills Trail, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Scenic view on Seven Hills Trail

As we returned to Lake Sebago, we passed by two eastern salamanders, which I find to be very hard to photograph. They are also called red efts, though they look orange to me. A salamander begins as a tadpole, then as a juvenile is a land-based eft as seen here, then as an adult is back to being an aquatic creature.

Red eft, Harriman State Park, Rockland County, NY

Red eft

We returned to the parking area at 5:45 p.m., after a hike of 8.2 miles.

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