Harriman State Park Overnight - Nov 24-25, 2023

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Rhody Seth

Active member
Joined
Dec 18, 2015
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Location
Charlestown, RI
My daughter was running in a cross country invitation in Wappinger Falls, NY. I wanted to see her race - I was less thrilled about a night in a hotel with kids and parents. So I abandoned my child to the trip guardians and opted to spend a night in unfamiliar surroundings. I had seen plenty of Harriman State Park from a YouTube buddy's videos and being only 50 minutes from the race, seemed like a good place for short hikes and quick overnights. I reached out to him and he suggested this trip up Stockbridge Mountain which proved just right in terms of distance and elevation.

I parked at the Silver Mine Lake parking lot. There was no service at the trailhead which took me aback considering how close we were to the Big Apple. It took me a little while to find the trail itself and it wasn't much longer before I took a wrong turn and lost the intended trail entirely. Luckily I had brought a map and figured out how to continue on and still reach the top of the peak. It got windier and windier as I climbed and upon reaching the top I saw a couple other campers had already set up tents in an open area. Another fella was situated in a nearby stone lean-to. I opted to hike down the hill opposite the wind which worked well. Wind was not an issue for me that night.

I ate my dinner in the shelter while the gentleman named Mike got a fire going. The shelter was really nifty, making use of the natural rock for a part cave/part shelter feel. Mike was a wealth of knowledge about Harriman and he was happy to share his experiences which I appreciated. After a bit three college students came up, sporting bags of Thanksgiving leftovers which they planned to reheat in the fire. It was getting crowded now so I said goodnight and retired to my hammock. I heated some water and climbed into bed. But there was one more funny encounter in store. I had set up my GoPro to record some star trails. Instead, it seemed to attract two more backpackers who were arriving late. They were drawn to the light of the GoPro screen like moths to a flame, haha. They peeked in my tarp and asked where the shelter was. I indicated it was up the hill behind them and off they went. But a couple hours later they came by again and continued down the peak. Too crowded me thinks.

I didn't sleep great and cooled off in the night. I made the classic mistake of refusing to get up and address my coldness. Eventually I got up at 4 AM, had breakfast and warmed myself with jumping jacks and another hot water bottle. I didn't fall back asleep but the remaining hour in my hammock was warm and pleasant. I had to breakdown before sunrise to make sure I made it to the race in time. In the dark, I heard a nearby grunting noise which freaked me right out. I was thinking bear right away but apparently deer can make that sort of noise too. They didn't seem to pay me much mind and continued to eat breakfast nearby. It was a quick hike out and soon I was on my way through the scenic Hudson Highlands on my way to the race. Harriman was definitely a cool spot and a great camping option for those in the area.

 
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