Letterrock Mountain

Letterrock Mountain, Harriman State Park (8/8/2011)

We took the day off from work today to head back to Harriman and hike some sections of trails and woods roads that we hadn't yet hiked. Recently my friend Mike suggested a visit to Owl Swamp using the Red Cross trail with a return that involved (among several other trails), the Bockey Swamp path. Those were two segments we never hiked before, so it piqued my interest.

We parked at the baseball lot on Tiorati Brook Road and took the Red Cross trail north, then east. We barely noticed the turn for the Bockey Swamp path and probably would have missed it had it not been for a cairn placed near the turn. What followed was one of the most memorable segments of hiking we've ever done. Clearly this path is almost never walked! For at least an hour we found ourselves on a barely-detectable path in a sea of blueberrie bushes (thank goodness were blueberry bushes and not something more thorny). There were cairns spaced far apart, but many of them were beneath the overgrown bushes, so we basically stumbled upon most of them. They gave us reassurance that we were sort-of where we were supposed to be!

Needless to say, we were very relieved to get to the AT and Ramapo-Dunderberg which we then took east to the Menomine trail where we headed south. Arriving at the Red Cross we took that east to where it crosses over the stream on a right turn. But instead of crossing the stream we continued straight ahead on an unblazed path to Owl Swamp, visiting a nice series of cascades along the way. At the swamp/lake we visited the bank for a few photos before retracing our steps to the Red Cross which we took all the way back to the car. But before we got to the car, we decided to bushwack up Letterrock Mountain and we were rewarded with some very nice views from the top. We could even see our SUV parked at the ball field.

Total distance hiked today was 8 miles in 5.5 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

The trailhead on Tiorati Brook Road

Tiorati Brook crossing

Tiorati Brook

[photo by Laura]

The distinctive Red Cross blaze

A beautiful patch ...

... of pine trees

Mushroom photography


Swampy section

Cairn near southern end of Bockey Swamp path

Tiny vibrant mushrooms

Nice descent on Bockey Swamp path

The path is distinct here

But soon becomes overgrown (see Laura?)

The path is barely detectable

It's like this for about a mile

At Ramapo-Dunderberg intersection

A friendly doe

She's eating

The AT co-aligns here

Finally a distinct path

Brien Memorial Shelter

On the Menomine trail

Mushrooms were abundant today


Bridge on Red Cross

Tiny frog

Run-off from Owl Swamp/Lake


Cascades upstream near Owl Lake


View downstream [photo by Laura]


Several cascades

First view of Owl Lake

Enjoying a nice breeze

Owl Lake

Several ...

... varieties ...

... of mushrooms ...

... were out ...

... in full force today

A shy eft

Stream crossing

Another unusual mushroom

A hiding frog

Frog and eft

Close-up of frog

Mountain Laurel thicket on Red Cross

Scrambling up Letterrock

View to the west

View to the north

Communications tower on Jackie Jones

Zoom of our SUV at the ballfield

Fire ring on Letterrock

Taking a break on top

Sunny up here

Thinking about descending


And descending

Swampy section on Red Cross


Crossing Tiorati Brook

A surprised deer

Back to the trailhead

Letterrock Mountain from the ballfield

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