Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tramping Up to the Timp

Tramping Up to the Timp

Last weekend, Oct. 8-9, I had a Saturday evening Mass and no Sunday assignment. The weather was warm and sunny; great hiking weather. So I packed up my old kit this case, my day pack with sandwiches and granola bars, compass, map, first aid kit, t.p., a long-sleeved shirt in case of strong sun, sunscreen, water, and sundry little things in case of need (small flashlight, matches, a little rope, etc.)

For all the hiking I've done in Harriman and Bear Mt. state parks, there's still a lot of territory I haven't hit. One spot was the Timp, a high granite cliff with grand views to north, west, and south.

There are multiple approaches to the Timp. I considered distance of my hike as well as novelty and decided to ascend from Rte 9W via the 1777 Trail and the Timp-Torne Trail.

You're barely off the road when you meets a historical marker on the trail--quite unusual in Harriman and Bear Mt. We're informed that the 1777 Trail mostly follows the route of Sir Henry Clinton's British Army in its attack on Forts Clinton (there's an irony) and Montgomery, which flank Popolopen Creek and, now, the western end of the Bear Mt. Bridge. In 1777 they guarded the western end of the chain across the Hudson, which blocked British vessels from sailing further upriver, where they could disrupt Continental communications between New England and the Middle States. (Sir Henry's attack was successful, and the Americans had to install another barrier further upriver, and more heavily fortify West Point.)

A short distance further up the trail, and you come to a fine little bridge, solidly built on stones lining a little creek. I'm sure it's not so little in the spring or after a heavy rain.

This bridge has been an Eagle Scout project twice, once in 1987, and as a later restoration. There's enuf water running over different parts of the trail that I wished there'd been more in the way of walkways. It was quite a feat in some places to stay out of deep and widespread muck. Must be really bad after rain.

The trail climbs pretty steadily, and not very steeply. At one point I startled a large flock of wild turkeys. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera out, and by the time I got it out, they were gone.

After about an hour, and a distance of 1.35 miles, I reached the Timp-Torne crossing. It's a pleasant spot, and on this day it was heavily trafficked. I stopped for the 1st part of my lunch, and 2 trios came thru in that time, and I saw another trio further up the 1777, apparently crossing on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. On my return loop, I met more people here or not far from the intersection.

Heading east on the Timp-Torne, the trail was still well shaded. That was good, since it was supposed to be getting to around 80 degrees. I met another lone hiker, and after a little exchange we traveled separately toward the Timp, pausing when we reached the 1st scenic overlooks.

Besides a vast wooded expanse south into Stony Point and beyond, there's this view of the Hudson down to Haverstraw Bay and further.

A half hour or so, and you reach the Timp. There were a couple of nice camping sites just back from the cliff. Near the cliff a large party of Korean hikers was having their lunch in the shade. On the cliff--tremendous views, again down the river, all the way to Manhattan. It was a little hazy, but the skyline was visible. To the west, West Mt. and its fine shelter, and to the north, Bear Mt. and the Perkins Memorial Tower.
In the valley below, a dozen hawks were circling and soaring about. I tried to photograph some without notable success. A couple came up and offered to take my photo, which they did, using West Mt. as a backdrop. And I returned the favor for them.

Here's the female half of the couple on the edge of the cliff, trying to get pictures of the hawks. West Mt. is beyond her, and I'm sure that if you click on the picture and enlarge it, you'll see the shelter clearly. No hawks here, tho.
I continued along the Timp-Torne Trail, which descended immediately. And then, just back of the Timp, this panorama opened up (actually, there was quite a bit more--all the way from the Perkins Tower to Anthony's Nose. But here you see the Bear Mt. Bridge and the Nose.
The trail got very steep and had several turns. I was glad that I wasn't climbing up. I was also worried that I'd miss my intended turn-off and kept checking the map as well as watching carefully to the right for a cairn or other indication of the Timp Pass Road.

The trail finally bottomed out in a watery vale with a lot of sunlight flecking into it. On the opposite side, it evidently began to climb up West Mt. But very easy to see on the right was the road. I'd come 1.2 miles on the T-T.

William Myles writes in Harriman Trails, "The Timp Pass Road really is an ankle breaker!" I could see why. I also saw why it's in the section of the trail guide called "The Stone Roads." It was indeed constructed of stones, big and small and all requiring very careful stepping.

The atmosphere, tho, was delightful. The brook bubbled and gurgled alongside the road most of the way down the pass; sunlight filtered thru the treetops (some of which were beginning to show yellow and orange). I stopped for the rest of my lunch.

Here's a view up the road from near where I ate.

I descended on the road for about .7 mile till it ended at the 1777 Trail (where I saw another couple of hikers before I reached it). The trail climbed steadily, regaining in .65 mile a great deal of the descent I'd just made from the T-T. Parts of the woods were very pretty, like this one, where autumn was beginning to strike.

Just before the great intersection with the T-T where I'd eaten my lunch several hours earlier, I encountered the Koreans who'd been on the Timp. We greeted each other of course. At the intersection, 2 more hikers in view before I got there.

From the intersection, it was all downhill (and a party of 4 ascending, rather late in the day, as it was approaching 3:00 p.m. by then), again carefully navigating the swampy parts of the trail. Back to the car on 9W at 3:30, after 6 hours on the trail, covering about 5.5 miles and really enjoying Mother Nature (and grateful to Him who made her).

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