Tell the truth!

Lake Minnewaska and surrounding areas as they are now.
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Location: Ulster County, NY

Tell the truth!

Post by Flipper »

This isn't exactly Minnewaska (i guess it's still Sam's Point), but here goes...

Around 1989, I think, the private land owner, who owns the property from North Mountain Road to Verkeerderkill Falls, closed a short piece of trail that led from the falls to Mud Pond. This effectively made the trek to the pond a major stint, probably adding at least 7 miles to the hike.

Are there still hikers traveling this closed stretch, as far as anyone knows? It's not like there are security cameras or attack dogs guarding it. I don't consider myself a scofflaw, and will probably never cross the owners land (although, honestly, I've thought about it), but I've wondered if this closure has been mostly respected or disregarded since its inception.

Also, does anyone know the "hiking community's" feelings on the closure? I'm sure those who traveled that stretch in the past were, at the very least, dissapointed. It's a shame that any of the Shawangunk ridge fall to the whims of private owners. It truly is "God's Country."
trail guy

Post by trail guy »

I think the land is now out of that original owner's hands, and destined to become public. I've traveled part of the way, the trail has been intentionally covered up in places, and markers painted over to hide them, but the trail is still visible to the experienced eye. I plan on going in with my GPS before summer, to map the trail over to Sam's Point.

Post by Ridge70 »

The main part of that stretch from the onset of the High Point trail and Mud Pond was Bradley's property and it was closed until the Awosting Reserve was transferred to Minnewaska. I should clarify that a small section is still owned by people on Upper Mtn Rd - which includes the Falls. This is why you see two signs up there at the borders of their property line, "leave no trace...entering private property etc." Thankfully, they're gracious enough to keep that part of the trail open. Otherwise, we'd never get to the Falls!

Anyway, Sam's Point hasn't officially included a sign for the Long Path to Mud Pond. Not sure when that's going to happen. But I went up there last November with the Trail Conference to clear the trail which was becoming overgrown. We successfully remarked blazes, set up cairns, cut back the brush and anything else that needed to be cleared. Many of the cairns were still in tact. But, you're right, the red blazes had been painted over with grey. Even without the clearing and remarking, you could still find your way through the path in the winter. I tried going through there in late spring and I came upon an area where the brush was up to my chest and I couldn't make out the trail so I turned back. It should be fine now although we will probably need to go back there this spring to cut back some of those thicker areas.

So, essentially, I think you can successfull trek right on through to Mud Pond from the Falls. Actually, I just went through there a few weeks ago. There are also talks (shhh) to possibly make some trails around Mud Pond or even possibly on the the eastern cliffs that lead there. But it would probably be a while before that happens. I'll have to try to coax the NYNJ folks! I believe there used to be trails there years ago and we may want to reopen them. I was up there last summer with a NYNJ Trail guy and we hiked to those eastern cliffs right over the Mud Pond. You get a much better view of the entire lake from that area. However, we did quite a bit of bushwhacking to get there.

In answer to the question about hikers' feelings about the closure...I've spoken with many people about this and people were baffled that Bradley closed the trail because he thought hikers were ruining it. Maybe there was an isolated case of littering or whatever, but to shut the whole trail down (and that whole property) was absurd. I think that's just Bradley being the eccentric that he is. But I've heard that he can be a bit nuts and I really wouldn't want to tangle with him.

Anyway, when the property was still his, I actually ventured past the "private property"sign just to dare myself to see how far I would go. This is really a funny story. It was back in the fall of 2005. I hiked past the falls. I got to that sign and just walked about 50 feet or so past it. I hung around there for 10-15 minutes or so and then I headed back. I really didn't want to get lost or take my chances that the area WAS being patrolled. I headed back to the falls and then i noticed this helicopter started circling the area. I started taking pictures. It kept going in circles around the general area. I started thinking, "what the heck is that all about?" As i kept walking and snapping pics, the helicopter was circling more and more. I started getting a bit nervous. I thought, it IS Bradley and he caught me on his property (although we now know that the area I was on wasn't in fact Bradley's property but the same people that own the Falls).

Anyway, I kept hiking back and the helicopter seemed to get closer and closer and was now kind of hovering overhead just a little bit ahead of me. I really was getting nervous. I thought Bradley was up there with a shotgun and was gonna do me in! I have a real vivid imagination! Anyway, all of a sudden I see this bodybag being hoisted up to the helicopter! I then felt relieved that it obviously wasn't the scenario I thought it had been but then got a sort of sick feeling. I had just had a conversation the night before with a friend and we were wondering if anyone had ever fallen off the cliffs at the falls. So, it was quite ironic seeing all this. I eventually made my way to the scene (an open rock area just near the birch groves) and there were a bunch of people there. Apparently, this woman had fallen on the rocks (not off any cliffs...maybe she slipped and hit her head) and they were taking her to the hospital. She didn't die but needed immediate attention. Whew! What a day! Anyway, I hope that woman's alright! As we got to the trail head at Ice Caves road, there were ambulances there etc. It was quite the scene!
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Tell the truth!

Post by Paul »

I hiked Verkeerderkill Falls to Mud Pond a number of times over the years. Maybe I missed the height of Bradley Mania. The trail was getting hard to follow. I was there this Spring and found it a pleasure, requiring only a bit of attention to follow in a few spots. The work of Ridge 70 and the rest of NYNJTC was a real benefit...thanks!

To me, Ridge 70 is right to emphasize the cliffs on the east side of Mud Pond. I didn't bushwack it but you can see that it will offer some fine vally views.

IIRC, the trail used to follow the east side of Mud Pond and was switched about 25- 30 years ago. I have looked in vain for traces of the old trail. I see some of it from the Awosting side of Mud Pond that heads towards the east cliffs but then it petered out on me.
Anybody find it?

Re: Tell the truth!

Post by Corky »

When I was young my parents owned the 180 acres that were directly below the falls on Upper Mountain Road. They sadly sold the property in the early 80's.

I spent many, many hours (days, summers) at the falls growing up. My siblings, friends and I would hike up the dirt road on our property to the deer trail (our property ended at the end of the dirt road), up over a small cliff and to the falls. It amazes me that my parents allowed us to go up there alone as young as we were (8-14 years old), and I would never allow my own children to go there on their own at the same ages! The trail was about 1 mile in length from the house to the top. At the time it would take us about 45 minutes to reach the top using this trail if I remember correctly. The dirt road made the climb very easy for the first 3/4 a mile.

The last time I went there had to be in the '90-91 time frame. We ran into the owners of the property (the people my parents sold the property to) on the way back down. Even knowing who we were and that we would never damage anything on the trail he forbade us from ever going through his land again. It was the last time I was ever there.

I don't think I could do the hike from the other end anymore at my age. It was truly my favorite place in the entire world. I can still remember every inch of the trail and the surrounding woods around it. I wish I could go there again. Such happy childhood memories were had there!
Old Girl Scout
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:56 pm

Re: Tell the truth!

Post by Old Girl Scout »

The last time I hiked past Mud Pond (also named Haseco Lake, depending on which map), the trail was above the pond on the East (cliff) side. Beautiful views. Heading south, it led to a junction, going down and left to Verkeerderkill Falls, or staying on top and going right to a fire tower. We did both, and went up the tower, which was abandoned. The berry bushes were brilliant red. I took photos with my little 110 camera. It was a long hike there and back. I remember having to carry my puppy, so it was 1975. We started from Mt. Rd. There was a trail straight up the mountain which intersected with the one coming from Awosting. Now I wonder how I discovered that trail. It was obscure from the road. I think I found it at the top (from Awosting) and explored it down to the road. I used that trail many times to go up.
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