Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bellvale Mt., Greenwood Lake and beyond - LP bypass

Ridge views
NJ Border

September 3 - Met up with Jeff to hike 12 miles of the Appalachian Trail from NY County Road 5 (North of Greenwood Lake) to Long Shore/Brady Road in Upper Greenwood Lake. This is still technically the LP by-pass route I’ve mentioned before (Yes – I’m clearly committed to doing both routes now.) I looked at the map (see below and previous entry) and noticed that after an initial ascent; parts would be flat and easy, alternated by some very rocky and challenging terrain that would slow us down a bit here and there. We decided to walk fast (whenever possible) and try to keep the hours on the trail down to a minimum. We completed it in just under five hours and even took 3-4 breaks of 10 minutes or more. Both of us finished with energy to spare. It was a long cry from my first few outings earlier in the year. We really enjoyed the scenery of the Greenwood lake valley and the pines in the highlands. 

Red quartz conglomerate
We crossed several cuts of a red conglomerate rock that was the most challenging and interesting formations of the day. It kept reappearing at the summits, so it must be some of the harder rock that formed the ridge top as we currently know them in our post ice age environment. 

AT signage for
ammenities in Greenwood Lake area
It was nice to cross the NJ-NY border, as I’ve been hiking in NY for most of the year.  We saw some deer, and other wildlife including a variety of birds.  I think we heard the cry of the Loon as we neared upper Greenwood Lake.  It has a distinguished honking/braying sound like a cross between a mule and a horn yearning for something special (like another loon).  I frankly don’t know what else could have made that distinct sound.  I was running a bit low on water as I approached the car and had conserved it during the journey as I knew I would soon run out.  I kicked myself as I found a spare water bottle in my pack after I got home and thought it’s a dumb mistake to carry water and not know you have it.  It’s only dead weight in that case and I could have benefitted from the extra hydration on the trail.  We stopped in Upper Greenwood Lake and enjoyed a deli / pizza meal as a brief recovery.  Any food tastes super good after a long trail walk. We headed home and I was surprised at how good I felt and how the next few days had little-to-no soreness in my legs.  The idea of walking really fast (for me) where possible materialized as a practical idea, because the time on foot and the time to recovery are both lessened and a longer stride means less overall steps.  This used energy more efficiently over the longer term compared to a slower pace. There is most likely a mileage limit where this practice may crash badly, but I can say without doubt for me it’s over 12 miles and over 5 hours at 3 to 4 mph when walking.  It also gives you more time to take a break at any scenic spots. 
Trail Stats: 12 Miles on the AT/LP bypass
Footnote:  Next Week - Slide Mtn Wildness area on the LP

LINK TO NEXT SECTION: Upper Greenwood Lake to Barrett Rd (Wawayanda)

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