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Tag Archives: Westchester County
On my third trip to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, I brought my girlfriend, Batya. Unlike my first two hikes in the park, which were hot, this day was cool, overcast, and it was also drizzling a bit. Thus, I wasn’t taking as many photos or recording as complete a description of the hike as I had previously. See my previous blog post for this park, here, for a more complete description of this hike and the trails.
This day I hiked on the Camp Smith Trail, with temperatures in the 50s, which was much warmer than my prior visit in January 2012.
This was my second visit to this park. The last time the parking fee had been $8, but no one was there to collect it. This time, it was up to $10, and there was an attendant present to collect the fee.
It was a very cold day, but I hadn’t been hiking in several weeks and the sky was bright and clear, so I decided not to be deterred by the cold weather. Before I left home, it was around 10 degrees at Bear Mountain. I don’t know what the temperature was when I was hiking in the area, though I’ll guess it was fluctuating between the teens and 20s.
Mountain Lakes Park, with 1,082 acres, is the northernmost county park in Westchester County, located primarily within the Town of North Salem. There is a summer camp there for disadvantaged children, and other cottages and campsites are available year-round for the general public. The park is described as having a rugged landscape, native hardwood forests, rock outcroppings, meandering streams, beautiful views and the highest mountain in Westchester County. There are also five lakes in the park. It sounds great, but I was not especially impressed. I enjoy overlooks, but there was really only one significant overlook in the park.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the largest park in Westchester County. Native Americans built a fenced-in enclosure into which they drove deer; this provided the “pound” in the name of the park. The park supposedly has 41.9 miles of trails, though I wonder if that includes the ones that aren’t on the map. (More about that later.) The park charges $8 admission for a car, but no one was there to collect the fee, so I got in for free.
I joined a group heading for Blue Mountain Reservation for what was supposed to be a 5 mile hike. Unfortunately, the leader took a right when he was supposed to take a left, and when I attempted to point it out to him he waved me off. Half an hour later he admitted that I was right, but as we were now almost back at the entrance, he decided that was enough of a hike for the day. So our 5 miles became more like 2 miles. I was not happy about that.
Another source for learning of hiking locations is the Nature Conservancy. Its website is not that easy to navigate, but if you keep drilling through it you might find a list of places worth visiting.
I wanted to do a moderate hike, and checked the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference website for suggestions. A contributor named Jane Daniels had suggested this 7.6-mile route in northern Westchester County, New York, that visits two sanctuaries. I decided to give it a try.