Iron Mine Hike, Harriman State Park.

This hike is #20 in the book “50 Hikes in the Lower Hudson Valley.” I followed the eight-mile route exactly, and it took me five hours of walking time, just as the book estimated.

Trailhead is at Lake Skannatati on Seven Lakes Drive, I stepped off at 9:15 this morning. No dramatic 800-foot ascents in this hike, but lots of up and downs throughout. I think Dick would find it “vigorous” enough.
Here I am at “Times Square,” where the Long Path (LP), the Ramapo-Dunderberg (RD), and Arden-Surebridge (ASB) trails meet, about one hour into the hike.

On the RD, along the top of Hogencamp Mountain. It’s a very open, rugged, windswept area, lots of exposed white granite-gneiss bedrock.
The same area, on the Lichen Trail. The visible grain of the white gneiss was quite impressive.

A narrow defile on the AT, called the Lemon Squeezer.

The jackpot! All the bedrock in Harriman is metamorphic granitic gneiss, all about the same age (PreCambrian, ~ 1 billion years old). Of course, as we know, glaciers deposited other kinds of rocks all over the place, “erratics” as large glacial boulders are called. About 30 miles north of Harriman is Schunemunk Mountain, which is a much later (Devonian, ~ 400 million years old) sedimentary conglomerate, “puddingstone,” distinctive because of its reddish matrix with large pebbles. I’ve been on the lookout for Schunemunk puddingstone erratics since I’ve been hiking in Harriman. Bingo! There it is.

The Greenwood Mine, one of the many long-abandoned 18th & 19th Century mines in Harriman State Park. Two hundred years ago, the area was filled with working iron mines and furnaces. Smoking, stinking, stripped bare of firewood, muddy, and piles of tailings all over, it must have looked something like Mordor in Lord of the Rings.

The picture at the top of the post was taken at the end of the hike, a view of Lakes Skannatati and Kanawauke, from Pine Swamp Mtn.

To go hiking throught the trails, hills, mountains, forests, and lakes of Harriman is an experience of mind-boggling beauty.