Let's start out with the pretty pictures that I posted on FB.
You can click on this to get a better idea of what I saw that was pretty.
Now for the bad part. Warning some of this was gross. You might not want to read the rest of this blog. I'm just warning you.
First, there was a problem getting there. I was looking for Mt. Beacon on Google maps. Instead Google insisted on trying to send me to something called Beacon Mountain in Fishkill. I'm not sure if that was the same thing or not. In any case, Google maps wanted to take me up a road called Mt Beacon Monument Road. I was unable to find this road, only driveways in the area where it wanted me to turn.
I certainly didn't see any "Base Camp Bed & Breakfast," which should have had a sign if it was an extant business. Anyway, I got better directions from this website:
They sent me to a parking lot that I had passed without much thought blindly following Google maps to a dead end on a private road.
It looked like the parking lot had overflowed, but when I went in there, at about 2:30, there were spaces. I guess some people had left.
Now this parking area is very nicely provided with 3 chemical toilets. This turns out to be important. When I'm hiking in NH, we use the woods; but this trail is very heavily used -- being in the NYC metro area -- and the woods are pretty open -- not much underbrush -- so going off behind a bush is not such a great option. Plus, of course, this is a high Lyme Disease area, so going off the trail is not such a great idea. Therefore it's a really, really good idea to have chemical toilets at the trailhead.
But -- these toilets are apparently serviced on a MWF schedule, which is fairly frequent
OK, very nice try guys. UM -- but this is Sunday -- and it's a lovely warm weekend and the place is overflowing. And the fact that the toilets were serviced on Friday is just not cutting it; no toilet paper and ... [you might not actually want to look at this picture. I wish there were a way of making it peek-a-boo on this blog, where you wouldn't have to look at it unless you click on it, but I don't know how to do that.]
And, also, they have very nicely provided a trash can. Again, this is important for a heavily used trail in the NYC metro area. It appears that this trash can is probably emptied on the same schedule.
Now, again, this is a very heavily traveled trail -- and there are a lot of people on it. Some of those people have worn some short cuts and some long cuts: lots of trails all over the place. Sometimes it's hard to see what trail is a real trail and what trail is a short cut.
In any case, near the Overlook, which was my destination -- since I started too late to go up to the fire tower -- there was something that looked like a trail going up to the ruins of the building on top of the old train line. It wasn't really a trail. It was a 'short cut'.
As I got closer to the ruined building, the short cut got quite steep with slippery loose rocks. I put my hand down on a pile of rocks to steady myself. This loosened an object composed of at least two bricks and mortar. This object had originally been part of the now ruined building. This object struck my leg. Even though I was wearing long pants, I got some nasty scratches.
When I got down, I wanted to find out who was maintaining this trail, so I went to the bulletin board and found a QR code
Now, I've gotten a bit savvy with QR codes. I have a QR code on my resume that leads to my updates blog -- and I've got a QR code reader app on my cell phone -- so I was excited to demonstrate my prowess with my QR code app. Unfortunately, the link that this QR code leads to seems to be broken. All I could get, despite trying three times, was
Not very helpful.
Still there were a few useful things on this bulletin board, which I'm going to put here so that I can find them again easily if I need to. As usual, if you want to see these images larger, you should click on them..
A couple more notes.
I could really see what a bad drought we're having. Everything was dry as a bone. I got a fire danger warning on my e-mail last week. I'm not quite sure how I ended up getting weather alerts e-mailed to me, but somehow I get them. I hope we don't end up like northern California.
Also, the website said that the roundtrip to the overlook should take 1.5 hours. Right. As usual, I'm slow and it took me over 2 hours -- though it must be said that I spent quite a bit of time talking to people about my Vibram five fingers hiking shoes, which I love, and which everyone is curious about.