Hiking Wawayanda State Park

John Muir wrote elegantly about the power of nature to heal, but nothing helps more than good advice from a friend. I had just been advised to “put some dirt under my feet.”

Hiking Wawayanda State Park

Rough patches come and go, that’s life. More importantly, my friend Jules had yet to be out on a hike since giving birth, and the new mom was dying to take advantage of offers to watch her child and get out outside.

Picking a destination wasn’t easy because I’ve managed to check off many of the good spots near the city already. One clear void in my day-hiking resume has been this blurry mass south of Rockland County near Wawayanda State Park. Looking at the map, I saw the opportunity for a nice lollipop; 5-7 miles of lakes and a fire-tower.

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Vanderwhacker Mountain Fire Tower

The name Vanderwhacker first came onto my radar when I realized that the state land crossed by the Raymond Brook Ski Trail was part of the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.

View-from-Vanderwacker-Mountain-Fire-Tower

The Vanderwhacker Wild Forest is a diverse and discontinuous DEC construct, the center piece of which is Vanderwhacker Mountain and the Fire Tower.

With 1700 feet of elevation gain in two and a half miles I figured my wife, our daughter and I could handle it, even with a late start.

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Climbing Snowy Mountain

With my arm back in order, and a camping trip for my girlfriends birthday at Lewey Lake on tap, the stars seemed aligned to get my summer back on track.

Snowy-Mountain

Although Lewey is practically in Gore’s backyard, I haven’t spent much time in this part of the Adirondacks. The drive on endless two-lane blacktop serves to remind you that the park really is huge, despite the fact that we made good time getting there from NYC.

The campground was groomed to perfection, clearly a different summer meaning but I’ll take it. With ample space between us and our neighbors and perfectly clean sites we felt pretty spoiled.

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