Loantaka Brook Reservation
This is the Hike of the Week for 10/9/2008 as described on the NY-NJ Trail Conference site. Laura had the day off for MLK Jr's birthday. I took a vacation day in order to join her. We managed to fit this 6-mile+ hike into our schedule only because the trail head happens to be 5 minutes from our home. Before today I had been hesitant to hike this trail. In the summer this area is crawling with walkers, bicyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, baby strollers, and just about every other thing with wheels or feet (or both). And most of them are on cellphones. But not so today! In fact, I was very surprised to see that the asphalt surface (that makes up about half of this hike) was still completely covered with snow. Clearly the county park commission made no attempt to plow it. But that wasn't a bad thing because among the dozen or so others we saw out here today, four were cross-country skiers ... skiing on the path usually crawling with rollerbladers and baby strollers. But there was no asphalt today. Just packed snow. So we may as well have been in Harriman. It was wonderful.

The hike described in the link above begins at the northern parking area near the Seaton Hackney Stables. But we instead parked on Loantaka Way and first headed north to the recreational area at the northern tip (on the "paved" path) before making a right onto the bridle path and taking that all the way back south to Loantaka Way. Here we crossed the street and continued on the bridle path until it ended at the "paved" path. We made a right on that path and took it back to Loantaka Way and walked the 0.3 miles back to the car in the lot.

Total distance hiked today was 6.3 miles on nicely-packed snow in about 2.5 hours.

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

Parking lot on Loantaka Way

Hunting season is long over

Heading north on "paved" path

Mile markers along the way

One of the few others in the park

Path nicely tamped down in stretches

Graffiti tree


Loantaka Brook

No bikes today


Sturdy bridge over brook

Me bundled up [photo by Laura]

Houses along the park edge


Kitchell Pond

Geese and swans

Kitchell Pond

Canada geese

Beautiful swans

Picnic pavillion

Baseball field

Beech colors

Bridle path parallels ...

... Loantaka Brook

Little Blue Heron

Artistic graffiti

Yes, gas line, we see that

Cat tails

Phragmites line path

Another blue heron

He took off fast!

Ducks fleeing

Blue heron and gulls

A snowy Kitchell Pond bank

The swan

Close-up of swan

Laura and Kitchell Pond

Bridle path north of Kitchell Road


Crossing Loantaka Brook on stones

Path parallels Loantaka Brook

Icy brook

Private entrance to trail

Pedestrian bridge over brook

Cross country skiier

Series of culverts


Approaching Gibbons Horse Barn


Built circa 1834

Horses grazing

Beautiful horse in distance

On the bridle path

Loantaka Brook

A snowy bridle path

No horses allowed on paved path


Beech tree color

Back to the horses

Informational sign on Loantaka Way

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
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