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  1. #1
    Registered User Blazeman's Avatar
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    Default New York Section Hike - input requested

    Working on a making a plan to section hike the NY section of the AT. Looking for input from others that may have done this and people that are knowledgeable in the area.

    My brother-in-law and I meet up and hike sections of the trail. We normally hike about 10 to 14 miles a day (We have hiked 18 mile days). I am out of Florida and he is out of Tennessee.

    There may be other ways to do this, so alternative plan ideas or cautions is appreciated.

    Also, any recommendations/experiences with Shuttle Driver from NYC Airport to trail would be great.

    Basically the plan is to fly to NYC, shuttle to trail, hike to NY 22 Metro North train station, train to NYC, fly out the next day.


    Hike Plan:
    Fly to Laguardia Airport - Early Flight
    Get Shuttle and Stove Fuel

    Drop off at Warwick Turnpike NJ

    Day 1- 10.2 miles - Wildcat Shelter
    Day 2 - 11.6 miles - Island Pond Outlet
    Day 3 - 11.2 miles - West Mountain Shelter
    Day 4 - 13.3 miles - Graymoor Spiritual Center
    Day 5 - 8.3 miles - Dennytown Road Campsite
    Day 6 - 10.7 miles - RHP Shelter
    Day 7 - 9 miles - Morgan Stewart Shelter
    Day 8 - 10.9 miles - NY 22, Metro North Railroad Station
    2:30 train goes to Grand Central Station - arrives at 4:30
    Stay in NYC near Grand Central
    Day 9 - Fly out

    Thanks
    Blazeman

  2. #2

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    Super glad to see you plan to use West Mountain even though it isn’t technically on the AT redline any longer. If it’s going to be a clear night and you’re wavering, go! It is so thought provoking to stare out at the NYC skyline from the woods. And the sunrise over the Hudson can be beautiful as well. No privy, no water, and half mile off the old AT route. Worth it. Good spot for a nip from a bottle if you’re so inclined.

  3. #3
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    With the reroute that avoids the old crossing of the Palisades Parkway adding mileage to your day 3, I'd suggest that you go a bit longer on day 2 and head up to Fingerboard shelter rather than stop at Island Pond. Not only will that even out your days 2 and 3, it means you get to stay at Fingerboard, which is a very cool old stone shelter like West Mountain. Be sure to pack enough water when you go to both of these, since there's nothing up on the mountain heights. Technically, there's a spring below Fingerboard, but most of the time it's dry, so pack water up from Surebridge Brook at the base of Fingerboard Mountain. The same is true for West Mountain, but with the reroute, finding water is harder, since you no longer have as easy an access to Beechy Bottom Brook. Also, be aware that Bear Mountain State Park still has trail closures from the 2023 floods and the AT route up and over Bear Mountain itself still has not reopened.
    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
    Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

  4. #4

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    About 30% of the way through my AT completion I stopped doing day to day plans for a trip. I take my starting spot, multiply my days I can hike(removing days that I will take a zero) by my average miles per day. For me it is right at 18.5, but I typically use 15 for a week long trip. So lets say I have a week long hike, and will have a Saturday to Saturday to hike, using the Friday before and the Sunday after as travel days. That gives me 8 days. Ill take a zero, now I am at 7 days. so I need to be looking for an end point around 105-130 miles depending on terrain and end point options.
    Ok when do I start planning??? Well I just did. I have a start and stop point, I have a plan for getting to and from trail, and the adventure is what transpires in between start and stop, without any limitations during the trip. I found that planning a day to day itinerary for one, never came to fruition once on trail, and if it did or didn't come to fruition if made me feel a negative way. Either I didn't reach my planned destination and now feel like I am behind or I do reach my destinations and I feel like I am just going thru the pre planned motions without decisions being made in the moment.

    I have used this mentality for about 1500 miles of the AT, the Sheltowee and the Pinhoti. I will use it for the rest of my life as I truly love the freedom it provides during the trip.
    One last thought is this method of planning also really leaves the details and surprises of the trip a mystery until you arrive in person, I truly enjoy this aspect as well, as it allows for for spontaneous experiences vs anticipating that next iconic spot miles prior to arriving at it.

    I plan my days as they come, and the night before in my tent. "Where will I end up tomorrow night? Well lets pull out the guide/app and see what makes sense. I feel like an 18 mile day tomorrow, oh look here is a campsite on an overlook at 17.5, I didn't see that campsite at home!"
    Trail Miles: 4,980.5
    AT Map 1: Complete 2013-2021
    Sheltowee Trace: Complete 2020-2023
    Pinhoti Trail: Complete 2023-2024
    Foothills Trail: 47.9
    AT Map 2: 279.4
    BMT: 52.7
    CDT: 85.4

  5. #5
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Few pointers on that section:
    1) The trail from just south of the NJ/NY state line up to about Fingerboard Shelter is harder than it looks on the topo. Lots of steep trail and boulder scrambling. I'd plan no more than 1.5 mph on this section, less if it's wet. Your Day 1 mileage is totally doable if you're able to get dropped off early, but especially if you end up starting after noon I'd recommend either backtracking to Wawayanda shelter or starting at NY 17A instead. This is a bad section for night hiking and there are only marginal camping options between Wawayanda and Wildcat.
    2) Rather than walk waaay off trail to West Mountain Shelter, there's a pretty well established campsite on Black Mountain, just south of the Palisades Parkway. Basically the same view of NYC without having to go a mile off trail.
    3) There's a very easy resupply right on trail - the Appalachian Market at US 9/NY 403, just south of the Graymoor Monastery. Convenience store with good hiker resupply options (e.g. Knorr sides, oatmeal) and you can grab a hot meal there.
    4) The 8.3 miles from Graymoor to Dennytown Rd is very easy. You'll probably be done by noon. Maybe that's what you want, if not 19 miles from Graymoor to RPH is not a terribly hard day.
    5) Similarly, 9 miles from RPH to Morgan Stewart is a very easy day, you may consider doing 17 miles to Telephone Pioneers. If you get to the train station early, there's a deli less than a mile down the road.

  6. #6

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    Don't know if it's already worked into your schedule, but be aware that trains to/from the AT Train platform at RT22 only run on Weekends and Holidays. Weekday trains do not stop there.

    (I'm a shuttle driver in the area, near NY-CT border, and if I'm available, can certainly help get you to another Metronorth station in Pawling or Wingdale if you land there on a weekday. Find me on the Shuttle Provider list at mm1459.6.)

  7. #7
    I plan, therefore I am Strategic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleRock View Post
    Few pointers on that section:
    2) Rather than walk waaay off trail to West Mountain Shelter, there's a pretty well established campsite on Black Mountain, just south of the Palisades Parkway. Basically the same view of NYC without having to go a mile off trail.
    This is not actually on the AT anymore. Because of the reroute I mentioned above, you'd have to backtrack almost as far to get there as to go to West Mountain Shelter. Unfortunately, the whole crossing of Black Mountain (which is really beautiful) is no longer part of the AT.
    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
    Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

  8. #8
    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strategic View Post
    This is not actually on the AT anymore. Because of the reroute I mentioned above, you'd have to backtrack almost as far to get there as to go to West Mountain Shelter. Unfortunately, the whole crossing of Black Mountain (which is really beautiful) is no longer part of the AT.
    Pretty sure that's false. The interactive map on the ATC website, which does include the recent Palisade Parkway reroute, still shows the trail going over Black Mountain to the south.

    https://nps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/web...b7f6d25453e4e0
    It's all good in the woods.

  9. #9
    Registered User Blazeman's Avatar
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    Really appreciate everyone's input on this plan. This information is really helpful in helping me plan this section.

    I did this rough draft with my 2019 Thru Hikers Companion book. I have the 2024 book on order but will not receive for a couple weeks. I just purchased the Del. River to Great Barrington section on Guthook. Now I see the re-route that everyone has commented on for the West Mountain Shelter. This new info is supper helpful for planning purposes.

    HankIV - Sounds like it may be worth the trip to make it to West Mountain. Looks like an awesome spot for a late evening nip!

    LittleRock - Super helpful input. Especially the starting point. I picked this kickoff point to get about 10 miles in the first day, but information on the terrain, expected mph and being a bad section for night hiking helps. I figured we would be doing some night hiking on the first day with my plan but your input will make me re-think the kickoff location.

    Strategic - appreciate the input on the Fingerboard shelter and where to camel up at in this part.

    Gambit - agree 100%. Have basically done the same. We come up with a draft hike plan of what is doable based on how many miles we want to hike. But when we get on trail we just hike as far as we feel like each day. So far we have driven to all our section hikes, which means we don't really have a deadline to when we need to come off trail (Bro-in-law and I are both retired). Since this section requires flying and meeting a train schedule (weekends only) kind of forces our hand related to end point of this hike. But then again, "justhike" input showed me I can also be flexible about the end point related to the train and weekend only runs using a shuttle driver.

    Thanks again to everybody. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to help me out with this!

    Blazeman

  10. #10
    Coach Lou coach lou's Avatar
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    I have done a lot of trail work in the NY section. Those are all reasonable times. Since the Rona the place has been packed, and the bears are not scaired anymore. our crew has put bear hangs in a few spots. Water is tough to come by after July.

    Here is a pic for your pleasure, it is 100 yards past West Mountain Shelter, on a ledge, 4 June 0453 in the am!

    The Golden City.jpg

  11. #11
    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    I did a section from NY22 to High Point in May 2022. I wanted to rehike that section because when I went through there on my thru hike it was in the 90's and one day hit 105 supposedly. It was not that hot in May but still warmer than I like. I camped at Morgan Stewart, Canopus Lake, Graymoor, Bear Mt Bridge Motel in Ft. Montgomery, Fingerboard, Wildcat, Wawayanda, and Unionville. Water and deli's were abundant that time of year.
    More walking, less talking.

  12. #12
    Registered User art_mapman's Avatar
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    Ditto remarks on difficult terrain from Warwick Tpk to past the Wildcat shelter. There's even a rebar ladder grouted into a rock outcrop somewhere above Greenwood Lake (I can't give you exact mile marker at the moment but it's right near the NJ-NY state line). Those rocks can be slippery - My hiking partner actually fell and broke his leg on Cat Rocks just north of 17A two years ago.
    On a more positive note, at 17A if you walk west about 1/4 mile you can get excellent ice cream at Bellvale Creamery.

  13. #13

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    Bellvale Creamery

    Oh yeah, an excellent suggestion. And they have some outlets for charging.

    About a mile north of Fingerboard, if you turn right on Arden Valley Rd, it’s about .25mile walk down to a state park with free showers, outlets and vending machines.

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