Bear Mountain and a ghost ski jump
Bear Mountain Travel Blog› entry 635 of 1090 › view all entries
If there is one peak near New York City that I have visited often it must be Bear Mountain. I first visited the little giant in August 2008 (see here). Many visits with many guests followed. Bear Mountain has several interesting features. First of all it has a spectacular drive way to the top. So, it is easy to quickly visit the mountain. It has great views on the Hudson Valley as well as on New York City, it has a panorama tower, etc.
With an elevation of 391.6 meters (1285 ft) the mountain is not really that big, but since the hills and mountains around Bear Mountain are smaller it still looks really impressive. Besides that the "feet" of the mountain emerge from the Hudson River at almost sea level. Finally the mountain has really steep parts that make it a tough hike.
After countless trips with the car I decided to finally ascend the mountain on my own strength. I parked the Mazda on the East side of the Hudson and added the magnificent Bear Mountain Bridge to my hike. I started at Bear Mountain state Park at the Hessian Lake. Hessian Lake, formerly know as Highland Lake, also called "Bloody Lake" after the huge amount of dead bodies that were dumped in it during the heavy slaughter battles between the English and Americans that took place here. This site had almost been the site of the Sing Sing Prison. Fortunately the construction was canceled after Mrs. Averell Harriman, donated some land to the park under the conditions that the prison would not be built here.
The trail started rising almost immediately, first moderately, but later really impressively steep with 260 meters in one kilometer. The track led over forest floor and huge slabs of stone opening a view that became more beautiful every climbed meter. Some patches of snow were still visible.
At the top of the mountain I prepared for seeing huge crowds of tourists, like there usually are. But, I was the only person on the top. It was still winter season, so the Scenic Drive was closed for cars. Really weird, like walking on Times Square with no other persons around.
The trail was a loop trail so my descend led over a different route, a part of the Appalachian Trail. A very civilized piece of this famous trail. This is probably the trail that the majority of the visitors take. It was provided with stairs, bridges and other customer friendly facilities. Fortunately the scenery was still beautiful, otherwise it would have been dull.
At the end of the descent I passed another artifact for my collection of abandoned items, a ghost ski jump (!).
More photos below!