Last Thursday I decided to finally realize my multiple threats (or should I say requests!) for a mid-week overnight backpacking trip between work shifts. I don’t know yet when I will be able to go back out in the field for work, and since there’s not really any open A.T. sections in my area that I haven’t done yet, I decided to find another great hike nearby. I have been tossing around the idea of Harriman State Park in New York since my previous two hikes on Connecticut’s Regicides Trail. This is mainly because they are very reminiscent of each other in ways. I did research some other overnight sites in Connecticut but most were in state forests or parks that were not open. There were some options, but Harriman was at that point just calling me back. I did a solo overnight there in 2015 over the Timp and West Mountains. That was a scorcher! Well of course I became so pre-occupied since then with the A.T. and my various trail jobs on it as well as local Connecticut trails that this park just fell off my list.
But as I began to ponder and plan something there, I began to recall all the fantastic scenery that is to be enjoyed. Having done all of the A.T. in New York, we were also treated to another long section of trail in the park, including the famous “Lemon Squeezer.” This loop would take me within less than a mile of that feature, and was extremely reminiscent of the bear-troubled Fingerboard shelter and mountain, just north of where I camped. While this shelter did have a bear activity sign, being OFF the A.T. means a LOT less traffic and use, so I wasn’t too worried and didn’t have any issues. I am experienced in these matters and practice proper food storage and preparation guidelines and i know that helped. In fact I had the place to myself which was just what I needed out of this hike. I did encounter many people day hiking, even a couple backpacking, but no one but myself stayed here.
Wow, was I right in my recollection of the scenery here. And I’ve only explored a tiny fraction of this park to date. I had some issues with one of my trekking poles on this hike, and my tent is trekking-pole supported. So when I got back I ordered some new poles which are on the way, and also a book of 35 circuit hikes in Harriman. Happy to give money to a great organization like NYNJTC (New York New Jersey Trails Conference) and I spend so much time on the computer, sometimes Its just nice having a book. I would print out maps for the hike and not bring the whole book along, but it’s also easier than scouring 100,000 web page reviews of best hike options for an overnight.
Mountainhopper helped me at the last minute decide which of several loops to do, as he had been doing this one (or a slightly longer version) the last few days and knew which roads and lots were still open from the Covid closures. The weather was glorious, even the rain overnight was no big deal. Though I’m much more tolerant of and accustomed to rain now! All part of the fun, embracing the suck.
Amyway, I made a video. Pictures are of course below, but if you want to see the video click here. I liked it so much it’s now my header image (using the panorama feature on my phone).
Miles total: 7
I don’t think we’re in NYC anymore Toto
Starting the climb up Hogencamp Mountain
Lone tree on Hogencamp Mtn
Plenty of scrambles
Rock and vapor trails
Bald Rocks shelter
Hey there Boo boo!
Looking west over camp
RIding the mountain’s spine
A bit more sunset
Sunrise from camp
Hiking out on a soggy morning just past sunrise
“Bowling rocks” just after sunrise
Morning fog over a lake
An old entrance to the Hogencamp Mine
Hogencamp Mine. This is zoomed, Stay far away, if you fall in you are probably not getting out alive, seriously. This is the main shaft and VERY deep with walls as slick as slime