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Fingerboard Mountain Harriman State Park 11-13-21

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  • Fingerboard Mountain Harriman State Park 11-13-21

    Made it out for another short, local hike. Other than a walk through Prospect Park in Brooklyn, you can't get anywhere more local than this. It's not the Catskills or the Adirondacks, but its the woods.
    It was a chilly, clear blue sky morning. Later on in the afternoon, thunderstorms would tear through the area and turn a beautiful day into a living hell.
    I started out at 8:50am for the Fingerboard shelter on Fingerboard Mountain. The trail was very easy and manageable. Don't let that fool you. Harriman can be a tricky place to hike. We have rocks, also. They are scattered all over the ground and if you don't watch it, you can turn an ankle easily. I followed Arden Valley Road uphill until I came to the trail. Harriman trails don't announce themselves. You have to get out the map and make sure you're not walking in a different direction. The trails here interact all over the place. As fate would have it, I forgot my maps....

    Lucky, I had All Trails to lead me in the right direction. GAIA also kept me on the right track. I brought a few wood logs and some tinder for my fire in my backpack and began my hike. Armed with marshmallows and hot tea, I was determined to have a roaring fire and good cheer. I found the left hook on the road and started up the short slope that led to the top of the Dunderberg Ridge. The trail would meet up with the AT. Fingerboard Shelter is a stop over for AT hikers. I was hoping to get it to myself, but had to resolve my self to the chance that it would be claimed and I would have to hope the occupants would share.

    The hike is no back breaker, but a pleasant up to the ridge. You walk along for a while, before slipping downward into a small valley. Then, up the flanks of Fingerboard Mountain. The top of mountain is flat and similar to the Dunderberg Ridge, which the trail states is part of the line. I did not stop to mark the summit. My goal was the shelter. Get there as fast as possible to enjoy the couple of hours I had remaining before the storm system arrived. The weather reports were not very kind. This was supposed to be one mean bitch. The first whispers of the fronts clouds were gliding softly from the West. A look on my weather map showed that Central Pennsylvania was getting theirs at the moment.

    I saw the word, "Shelter" marked on the rock path with an arrow and in a few minutes, I could see the shelter. There was smoke wafting out of the chimney, which meant it was Occupado. I crossed my fingers that the inhabitants were friendly. I made my way down off the trail and shouted a greeting, "Good Morning!" I got a "Good Morning" in return.
    "May I enter your camp?" I asked
    "Sure!" was the response. "Welcome!"
    A smile crossed my face with a sense of relief. It was marshmallow time!

    The Shelter was occupied by two guys. One from Brooklyn and the other, New Jersey. Their names were Phil and Tea Cup. Tea Cup was the guys trail name. He preferred that or T. we shook hands and they were kind enough to clear a spot for me to unload my pack. The shelter was pretty nice. Very different from the regular lean to's of the Catskills and Adirondacks. If anyone check out the pics, you'll see why. I settled in and we began chatting. I was in time for breakfast, but I had my own food. I gave the guys some tea with honey and a couple of Backwoods cigars, I picked up in Tuxedo. I built a nice fire with my three pieces of logs and kindling wood I packed in. I also had charcoal, which kept the heat going after the wood burned up. We proceeded to enjoy marshmallows on a stick. I also purchased a Corona hand saw to cut some additional wood. Phil laughed when he pointed out the name..Corona. I had not noticed. We all had a good laugh. The saw tested out ok on some thick dead tree logs, but it required some work, which I was not willing to do. We had enough wood. The saw proved it would be useful on future hikes. I hung out for a couple of hours, before the wind began really picking up. The clouds were growing thicker and the blue sky was fading. Time to leave. I bade the guys goodbye and we parted wishing each other well.

    Now, here is where some of you know about my Spider senses. My plan was to hike down an escape trail, which led to Seven Lakes Dr and back to the Lake Triotati Parking area. You could hear the cars along the road from the shelter, so it could not have been too far to get down there. I started back up to the trail where I came down. I ran into a couple, I had met at the Parking lot and told them I'm heading down the other trail. We said, good luck and I made my way down the trail. Glancing at the sky, I could see this one was gonna be tight. They said the storms would strike after 2PM. It was just after 12PM. Something told me that prediction was not coming true. This ugly sucker was going to arrive earlier than that. On top of that, something told me I was not going the way I wanted. I took a few steps and my instincts stopped me, again. I could not raise my ipad. The signal must have been lost. Without a map, I was blind. I decided to turn around and go back the 1.1 miles back to the PA. Turned out to be a good move. When I regained my signal and checked GAIA, I saw that the escape trail was to the front of the shelter. The trail I came down from was to the rear. I was heading well away from the road and straight towards another mountain. The last time I made that mistake, I ignored my instincts and went a few miles out of the way before I got my bearings. Not today. Just as i got back to the car, a roll of thunder boomed in the distance. As I drove out of the park, the storm unleashed its fury. Hail, wind, and rain pelted my car and made driving tricky. I thought my windshield would shatter. Thats how hard the hail was coming down. Fortunately, I escaped serious injury and parked at a Sunoco station for some pepperoni pizza. I ate in silence as lightning was still flashing across the sky. The storm put up some resistance, not willing to leave so quickly. Eventually, the skies cleared and sunshine poured down on me like a blessed angel. The way home was lit. Cue the Indiana Jones music.

    Here is a link to my pics. enjoy!

    Nothing like being in the woods.

  • #2
    I know what you mean about looking for places to get into the woods when Catskills/ADK are out of reach for whatever reason. Under similar circumstances we walked that trail/area several years ago—thanks for the memories.
    46/46, 20/46w "I only went out for a walk, and concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." John Muir


    • #3
      Fingerboard is a former fire tower site.


      • Gerard01
        Gerard01 commented
        Editing a comment
        I did not know that thanks for the info. It’s a nice area. Definitely worth another hike.