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Lichen Trail Damage & Bushwack At Harriman - 11/23/12

Hiked three days at Harriman over Thanksgiving holiday. Each hike took about 1/3 longer due to maneuvering blowdown damage. 

So many blows to ramble up, over, through, under and bushwacks around that it really chewed into our time.  In a very dark sense, however, it made for a much more challenging hike what with having to figure out not only how to get back on trail, but in many cases figuring out where the trail was in the first place!

On this particular hike (Lake Skannatati - Pine Swamp - Green Pond - Stahahe High Peak) Friday, we never made it to Shahahe because we were running out of daylight even though we started well before 8:00am. We had to reroute down the White Bar to cut it shorter from what would have been 11mi to around 9.5. Made it back in plenty of time as it turned out, but still glad we didn't take the chance on being held up by more blow maneuvering. 

Trail Description: The short Lichen Trail that connects the Long Path w/Ramapo-Dunderberg after leaving Sandy-ravaged Times Square is a total mess.  Connection right at LP & Lichen is barely distinguishable. No blazes after Lichen's initial blue triple blazes.  If you're not familiar w/trail (as we weren't)  you'll wind up continuing on to your right over tiny creek (as we initially did).   Don't. 

Bushwack around blowdown debis making sharp left at triple "L" blue blaze.  Once around though, we couldn't find where path continued up to RD. DH wound up making very hairy bushwack/climb up, over and balancing on top of huge pile of blows & branches to reach RD connection (up to the right in pic). The pic doesn't do his effort or the situation justice.  There were still more limbs and trunks to manage after it was taken before he finally reached the top.

Only once up top could he see remnants of Lichen Trail connection below.  The pic below was taken from RD looking down at 'trail' after I followed it up.  You can see two right-turn blue Long Path blazes below.  But to make that right turn requires you to go left and around blows in background - if you're heading back to Times Square that is.

In order to continue on from Lichen up to RD connection, however, after making that sharp left at blue triple "L" & around aforementioned blows,  go about 20 ft., then make sharp right,.  You'll still have to climb up, over and through blow debris as I did. But it won't be quite as bad if you miss it and continue on straight ahead leaving you to bushwack off trail as DH did. 

This hiking mini-holiday was our first exposure to Harriman since Sandy.  Unbelievable.  If ever one needed proof and reaffirmation that nothing in nature is permanent... this is it.  Enjoy it while you can, and those dedicated crews clearing the trails are enabling all of us to continue doing just that. 

Linda

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Comment by Daniela Wagstaff on November 27, 2012 at 9:45pm

Wow, I was hiking right next to where you were in Harriman the day before and the trails had pretty much all been cleared except for about 3 blowdowns I had to maneuver around but they weren't bad at all.  I must have just been lucky to have picked the trails I did. Really makes you appreciate open trails and the hard work that goes into getting them that way.  If anyone is looking for cleared route in Harriman, this is the hike I did http://gonehikin.blogspot.com/2012/11/harriman-state-park-ny-parker...

Comment by Linda Frank on November 27, 2012 at 11:30pm

We did seem to just skirt each other's tracks… but on different days.

Honestly, I don't think it's worth the time and effort of some of those crews that can only access certain narrow or steep trails on foot w/o the use of heavy machinery to bring them in to try and clear some of the jumbled masses of ones we had to scramble through, under and over.  So many huge trunks, brambles and branches…it seems better to just reroute the trail around them.  Most hikers will eventually make their own paths anyway, which is what we did for those we could maneuver around.  Or continue to scramble through them.

With that in mind, I'd advise anyone hiking up there to allow extra time for a hike (unless they know beforehand about any adverse trail conditions) just in case they have to contend with some unexpected impasses.  As I noted, we didn't do that and had to truncate our hike. Lesson learned.

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