Blog by Marlon Smith of Hike Live Love Adventures and Urban & Outdoor Survival, Dec 2022
Pics by members of Hike Live Love John, Mike, Alex and Marlon + Explore Harriman
A frosty morning. The real feel at start was 23 degrees. I added an extra layer to my clothing line up for today's outing—layers is the name of the game in cold weather. It’s plenty easy to remove or add a layer as needed if you feel yourself starting to overheat or becoming chilled. Plus, sweating in cold weather can be a death sentence.
Stockbridge Mountain Shelter sits at the northern tip of Harriman State Park. I arrived at the Turkey Hill parking lot and enjoyed my coffee before everyone else showed up. I’ve come to love these moments. I enjoy the stillness of the morning, watching the world slowly come to life. No calls, no social media, just me and the world. Grounding oneself is a satisfying necessity!
The Hike-Live-Love team and members started pulling in one by one. The Turkey Hill parking lot is a large crescent shaped area just off of Long Mountain Parkway (Route 6)—this was our starting point.
I went through my usual description of the trail and what the members should expect, and we were off. The first part of the hike, before our boots even touched the actual trail can be considered the most dangerous part of this outing. It’s a precarious run across the busy Long Mountain Parkway. Be really careful crossing this roadway as there’s a slight bend in either direction and cars zip through here.
For the first half mile, you’ll actually be on the Nawahunta Fire Road before joining the Long Path (LP). This trail is marked by Teal blazes that start the 4 mile hike in then out, no loop here on this one.
As we made our way, the sounds of the cars along the road began to fade as the LP meanders left and right. The incline for this trail starts at the one-mile mark. There are some steep points but gentle for the most part all the way to the top. Some great views soon emerge—Lakes Te-ata to the north and Lower Twin Lake. On this day, we noticed the temps kept dropping as we pushed higher up the mountain.
There’s one more steep and rocky incline. The base of this area (below) is named “Rock Shelter” which looks like a cave from where we stood.
Tip: It can be dangerous building a campfire in or next to the formations here. Having a fire here, especially in cold weather, can thermal-heat the rock causing a possible crack and collapse of rock down onto you.
A quarter of a mile more and we spied Stockbridge Mountain Shelter which sits on a large rock formation with its tin roof painted in a forest green. I instructed the group to begin picking up downed branches for the fire as we took our final steps to the shelter.
It was a cold morning and who doesn’t love a fire? I chose the “Flint and Steel” fire method, which is more advanced than the Ferro Rod method and great fun to learn.
A boy scout troop planning for a frosty night on the mountain showed up from the opposite direction soon after we got our fire going. After a fun exchange of stories with the troop leaders, our group left the fire for them to enjoy. Though, when on our own, our #1 rule is “if it’s too hot to touch it’s too hot to leave.”
It was time to return the way we came in which was hastened by the cold mountain air and the thoughts of Seven Lakes Station burgers. We paused a couple times, as my team scouted and marked my map with campsites and water sources for future outings. Further along, the sound of running water underground could be heard and we looked for the source. We could see the stream way down in the valley below but no sign near the trail. Two White Tail deer jogged across the trail just a few feet ahead of us. Never gets old for me—I always find these creatures to be majestic.
After descending to level ground it was an easy pace back to the parking lot AND that cross again over Long Mountain Parkway. A kind driver slowed to a stop and allowed us to cross
safely. Now back at the cars, a quick plan to head to the Village of Sloatsburg for lunch at hiker fave gastropub and craft beer house, Seven Lakes Station. Another great hike in the books and another amazing meal!
Please find my groups on MeetUp Hike - Live - Love (Glen Rock, NJ) | Meetup + Urban and Outdoor Survival (Glen Rock, NJ) | Meetup
As always, carry out what you carry in and always carry a tyvek map from the nynjtc.org
This blog is in partnership with Rockland County Tourism.
Harriman State Park, NY
Stockbridge Mountain Shelter via Long Path