Suri and Greg joined Batya and me as we drove up to Beacon. It had been four years since I last enjoyed this same hike, but it was new to the three of them. The parking lot at Mount Beacon Park was full, but we parked on the street just outside the parking lot, next to a non-native Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana):
After stretching for a few minutes, we entered the woods, soon arriving at the foot of the staircase:
We climbed 800′ along the stairs and the steep switchbacks of the red-blazed Casino Trail, arriving at the ruins of the powerhouse of the incline, which is slowly disintegrating. Here is part of a brick from the local Denning’s Point Brick Works, from which the powerhouse was constructed.
What’s left of the powerhouse:
The silenced massive gears of the Mount Beacon Incline Railway:
We continued our hike on the red trail. Here, the fire tower on South Beacon Mountain comes into view:
Someone went a little overboard on building cairns. I’m not even sure why one cairn would be needed here, as the trail was well-marked:
We detoured from the red trail to visit the fire tower, following an unblazed trail that runs along bare rock. The fire tower is looking good! The flag is a new addition that hadn’t been there at my last visit. Also, there were many plaques of dedication mounted to the stair treads:
A panorama of the Hudson Highlands, from the top of the fire tower:
A panorama of the Hudson River, from the top of the fire tower:
The hiking newlyweds:
The tower is 60′ tall. I forgot to take a shot from the top platform looking down, but this is from about 45′ from the ground:
We ate lunch at the base of the tower. I saw a number of blueberries there and elsewhere on the hike, and while most were too small, I ate a couple of larger ones, which were suitably sweet:
After lunch, we returned to the red trail, which soon ended at the yellow-blazed Wilkinson Memorial Trail. We turned left on that trail. Whereas the red trail had been a former woods road, the Wilkinson Memorial Trail was a foot path. In many cases it moved through wooded areas, though every once in a while we came to a clearing with a scenic view.
The Beacon Reservoir:
I believe this is Glassbury Court at Cold Spring, a subdivision for seniors:
The yellow trail ended, and we turned left onto the very short blue-blazed connector trail. This took us to Dozer Junction, where we took turns posing on the Caterpillar D2 tractor:
Dozer Junction was practically at the end of the short blue trail, and we turned left on the white-blazed Fishkill Ridge trail.
A pretty bed of haircap moss (Polytrichum):
Another scenic view of the Hudson River:
A tone-mapped image, showing Greg and Suri as they descend a trail, with the Hudson below:
Another view of the Hudson River, the City of Beacon, and the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge:
It was nice hiking among the trees:
We saw a Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula), with a very vivid orange color. Unfortunately, he was very skittish, and other than this backlit silhouette which barely shows any color, I could not get a good photo of him.
The yellow trail led back to the red trail at the first switchback, and we walked down that and then descended the stairs to Mount Beacon Park and the car.