October 5-6, 2013, Harriman State Park
So we left in a fog on Saturday morning – and the weather wasn't so great either. We have been making an effort to get to the east side of the park where the trails are new to us. We parked off Rte. 202 in Ladentown at the trailhead of the Tuxedo-Mt Ivy trail.
We took the T-MI trail and then the Red Arrow Trail up to the S-BM trail and then turned south on the S-BM. It was hazy the whole way in so there wasn't much to see, and we were climbing through the woods anyway. Once on the S-BM, it was more open. We set up camp on Circle Mtn. (not named on map) about two miles into the hike. The site was a bit off-trail and was in a small rocky clearing. We were hoping for a sky view that night –but were not quite that lucky. After setting up camp, we took off once again southbound on the S-BM to check out the viewpoints on Panther Mtn. There are two vista points on the map and we hit the more northern one first (of course) By now the day had cleared nicely and we could see the towns below and out to the Hudson River, and actually some detail on the far side of the river. I could imagine how great it could be a on a crystal clear day. We stretched out on the rocks and after a brief nap (we think it was brief, but we both drifted off quite easily), we hiked a little further to the next vista. This one had a much wider view, but more pointed toward the east (southeast) so we couldn't really see the river but we could see much more of the land below us and just a small portion of the Palisades Pkwy through a gap in the hills. We could also see the power lines that paralleled the start of the T-MI trail.
Once back at camp, we relaxed for a while, and then cooked up some yummy Mountain House dinners. As it was getting dark, we wandered over to the trail, which had a limited view not very far from our site, to see the towns below light up, but it was once again a little hazy so we did not stay there long.
Well then, it was time to partake of "the good stuff", so we sat and watched the clouds roll in – no stars tonight! It’s been a long time since we built a campfire; partly because we don’t have extra water and partly because we camp in wilderness spots and do not want to disturb the site any more than we have to. But the advantage to this is an increased sense of night vision. It is amazing how well you can see in the darkness if you allow your eyes to adjust to the night. The stars are simply more visible (when the sky is clear, of course).
I'm not sure what time the first raindrop hit, but before we could react, it was raining very nicely. Fortunately, we had set up my 5x7 tarp beforehand, so we quickly retreated under that. It has just enough room for the two of us - and the 'refreshments' - so everything important was dry. The rain didn't last long but it did rain again shortly after we called it a night.
During the night, a dense fog had rolled in, which remained until the morning. We made breakfast under the tarp because even though it wasn't raining, the trees were dropping water from the mist. Not much point in hanging around, so we packed up at a comfortable pace, and started walking out. We chose to go south on the S-BM, instead of reversing Saturday's route. Although it duplicated part of Saturday's day hike, this took us to the T-MI where we turned towards the car. This allowed us to walk part of the T-MI that we had not walked Saturday.
With the fallen leaves, acorns, rocks and roots – all thoroughly lubricated by the rain and fog - we walked carefully, especially since we were going downhill most of the way out.