Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Hiking Nyack Beach to Hook Mountain and Back

Last weekend we found ourselves in White Plains, NY celebrating a friend's simcha (Mazel Tav S.!). We had a few hours free and a gorgeous weather forecast, so we decided to do a hike in the area. After a bit of research we opted to hike the Nyack Beach - Hook Mountain loop.

The hike started off pleasantly enough as you ascend to Hook Mountain. We found ourselves with views of the road and nearby houses, so while it was a nice trail, it did give off suburbia vibes. By the time we summited Hook Mountain, however, we felt fully remote and were treated to some amazing views of the Hudson River and surrounding area. I tried to capture the scene with some panoramic photos, but none of them did the views justice.

One unexpected find at the top of Hook Mountain was a patch of cacti. I don't recall seeing cacti in the wild on any hikes in the North East. That's NY for you, always full of surprises.

From Hook Mountain we walked North along the ridge overlooking the river and were treated to additional breathtaking overlooks. At one point we turned more and found ourselves in forested canopy. One treat in this section was a number of old brick structures that I was able to grab photos of. I wondered about their history: were they relatively recent homes, or did they have storied history?

Before we reached the Northern end of the hike and descended, the route detoured to give us one last view of the river and surrounding area. It was all gorgeous. Shira commented that the industrial looking buildings across the river were in fact Sing Sing prison. Some telephoto shots revealed guard towers and fencing.

The descent from the ridge was straightforward, and before we knew it, we found ourselves on a wide and well maintained trail along the edge of the Hudson River. I did a bit of beach combing along a short tract of sand. One unexpected discovery was a brick that had washed ashore with a prominent "& S" stamped on it. Of course someone has cataloged historic brick companies in the area and it looks like I stumbled on a Denton Fowloer & Sons specimen. As the site explains:

In 1883, Denton Fowler & Sons owned a brickyard in Haverstraw and produced 9,300,000 brick with 5 machines, employing 80 men. They also owned the land.(History of Rockland County, J.B. Beers & Co., 1884)

According to Google Maps, Haverstsraw, NY is just up the river from our hike, so that checks out.  I'm still not sure which is more impressive: that I stumbled on a brick from the 1800's; or that I was able to effortlessly identify it online.

The walk on the river trail was easy enough and before we know it, we were at our car.

Overall, I was very impressed with this hike. The views, historic structures and solitude on the trail made it an absolute winner. If you find yourself in the area, it's worth doing.

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