Appalachian Trail in NY - NY-17 to the Hudson River - March 30-31, 2008

Trip theme: "Complete from Shenandoah to the Hudson"


Judy, George, Tim, Dave and Mark ready to leave NY 17. This was an official Wilmington Trail Club backpacking trip on March 30-31, 2008 along the AT from NY-17 to the Hudson River. I chose this section because it was the last piece in my near term goal to complete the AT from the southern end of Shenandoah to the Hudson river. The club had backpacked this section several times in the last few years, but never completely across Harriman State Park. This section starts along NY-17, traverses Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks, and ends up at the Bear Mountain Inn just short of the Hudson River. The section is 18 miles roughly broken into half each day. This was a banner trip for me as I had 4 people sign up!

George rode up with me and we got there an hour and a half early. Primarily because I wanted to complete the section from the Bear Mountain Inn parking lot to the east side of the Hudson River. We set out and quickly were thwarted by the fact that the trail goes through a small zoo which was closed. Drat. We walked around the zoo and over the bridge on the river where we were repeatedly reminded that life was worth living and that if we were considering jumping that we should call an 800 number. No jumping today. Walking back across, we discovered that the gate on the far side of the zoo appeared to be open. So we decided to see if we could get through. An angry zoo keeper scolded us for cutting through when it was closed, but undeterred we hopped the fence on the far side and finished the missing piece. Who the heck routes a public trail through a zoo any way?

Later Judy, Dave & Tim showed up and we shuttled over to the parking lot just east of NY-17. The AT through this section does not have any really big climbs but it seemed to rarely be level. We were either going up or down most of the time. The 1st day was generally easier than the second day for hills. 2 miles in you come to the famous feature on this section of trail, the Lemon Squeezer. In keeping with AT tradition, they routed the trail through a notoriously skinny crack in the rocks instead of taking the obvious easy way around the whole big rock. We all made it through unscathed. Too bad there wasn't any snow/ice to make things more interesting. We camped for the night at the William Brien Shelter. My information told me there was a well for the water source, but when we got there it was not obvious that this was the case. However if you look straight out from the shelter there are 3 blue blazes on a tree. Follow the blazes and you'll find a small stone well. We found the well to be full of water and leaves. The water tasted a little funny but it was far superior to walking way way down the yellow trail to the alternate water source. Tim slept in the shelter while the rest of us set up tents. George built his obligatory fire and by 7 o'clock it was getting too cold to stay outside and I bed down for the night. I stayed pretty warm while it got into the 20's that night.

Next day we set off with numb fingers and toes into a pretty cold, but bright and sunny morning. Today had the two bigger climbs in it. One is immediately after crossing the Palisades Parkway, and the other is the final climb into Bear Mountain. Both are relatively short but typically steep for the AT. As the day wore on, the weather just got nicer and nicer until finally it was just down right nice atop Bear Mountain. There were a ton of people on top Bear Mountain. Way more than I would have expected to make the hike up there on the last weekend in March. The trail down is pretty steep in places and a different knee this time decided to complain about it. So now I'm complete on the AT from 6 miles south of Shenandoah NP to just on the east side of the Hudson River. Roughly 548 miles. I've still got a ways to go.
Cruising through the lemon squeezer
Hey George, try and stay on the trail
Tim tells us how warm he's going to be in the shelter tonight
Yea, I think I'll go ahead and sleep in my tent
It was pretty cold in the morning. Fingers and toes were numb for a bit
The day warmed up nicely and had several nice views
We came from that-a-way
Dave's leg is numb right here
Had to go for the My Space shot
The tower on top of Bear Mountain is the last of the uphills
Would you believe I actually got sun burned on my face while waiting for these guys?


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