Saturday, March 29, 2008

Storm King

So this morning we go up, lazed around for a bit and decided that such a beautiful day should not go to waste, so we would go hiking. Having made the wonderful discovery of before last weekend, I had a number of thoughts on where to hike in the area, and decided to spend the afternoon hiking around Storm King (the mountain in the state park, rather than the Art Center in Cornwall).

We headed north on the Sprain Parkway, and made our way across the Bear Mountain Bridge and after stopping in a few incorrect dirt lots, came upon the parking area we were looking for. The view from the lot itself was tremendous, overlooking the Hudson river to the west, you could look out and see the Hudson Highlands, and I could even see the trail I had hiked just the week before. During that hike I had looked over at Storm King and thought it look magnificent, so I was psyched to have the opportunity to climb it and even happier that Aviva had decided to join me.

The Stillman trail (which is supposed to be marked in blue and yellow swatches but is not in fact marked in orange) started with a rapid ascent up the hillside next to the parking lot, and we very quickly made it to the top of a smaller mountain (hill really) next to Storm King, called Butter Hill, which is around 1,300 feet up. We stayed close to the marked trail, as the guidebook commented that there was unexploded ordinance around (i.e. potentially live ammunition). The trail rose quickly, and soon we were looking down over the road we drove in on.

Once on top of Butter Hill, the rest of the hike seemed to go very quickly, as we a bit then made our way around to the north face of Storm King. The trail got very steep, scrambling over rocks and boulders on the way to the far edge of the mountain. The view here was the best of the hike, allowing a wide, unobstructed view of the northern Hudson and the surrounding valley. We gawked a bit at the view, and as we continued and came around the mountain, we looked out over the Hudson Highlands and down at Bannermans Castle on Pollepel Island.

After turning south from this viewpoint, the hike seemed to conclude very quickly, as we dropped down off the edge of the mountain and continued down into a valley and then moved up to the parking lot where we started. As we were leaving, I noticed a beautiful fall of icicles on the opposite side of the road. After taking a closer look, we got back in the car and drove back across the Bear Mountain Bridge and home to the Bronx.

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