Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Archive for the ‘Mountain Biking’ Category

My indecisiveness in action

Posted by Frum Hiker on June 5, 2008

So I gave my buddy Ariel a call this week to see if he was going to be upstate at his camp in Tannersville New York and sure enough he is and he would love to have me which is awesome- because I haven’t seen him in years and I love the area- and will have some great stuff to do on Friday.

Then it hit me- what can I do to utilize my time the best on Friday since I have to be down in New York sunday morning to pick a friend up from the airport. Suddenly my logic started working and I came up so many options its driving me nuts.

Kayaking in North/South Lakes- great swimming and beautiful.

Ride one of my favorite loops in all of the Catskills, routes 214-28-42 back up route 23. I was already thinking of this- it is tiring and hilly but amazing.

Do small hike like Giant Ledge only a couple miles, longer hike like Slide Mountain or maybe Hunter Mountain.

Go mountain biking at Jockey Hill and Bluestone wild forest outside Kingston.

Roll down the windows, remove my shirt, throw on some bluegrass and wander around the rural byways of Greene and Delaware Counties.

Then I realized I have to work tomorrow- which means less time- I have taken off the last 3 Fridays in a row. I figured on working till 12 and then driving up- only an hour and a half drive. Its supposed to be 87 degrees. I’m figuring on mountain biking, hiking and a little driving/wandering.

Ah the life as outdoors nut isn’t always so simple.


Posted in Catskills, Hiking, Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Road Biking, Road Trips, Rural America | 1 Comment »

Riding the Jungle Habitat trails in NJ

Posted by Frum Hiker on June 5, 2008

I finally road Jungle Habitat in West Milford NJ yesterday. I heard about this trail system about a month back while riding with some ladies in Ringwood., they told me it was short but sweet and for some reason never got around to it and am now wondering why.

Jungle Habitat is an old Safari park that has the hugest abandoned parking lots I have ever seen, there must be spots for a thousand cars. The trails are all single track that run along the woods around this huge parking lot and other abandoned roads. There isn’t anything else abandoned as I had hoped for, I love riding through the woods and coming upon old houses or cars or farming equipment, but here was just woods, darkened woods. The trails are a big mix, but after some searching I was able to complete a loop, there really aren’t many trails, but I road a good loop on what was apparently the red trail- although I didn’t find that out until I was finished and noticed a trail head sign.

I parked right next to the gate with the big wooden sign holder and walked right into the woods next to the fence I then road up hill, some good rock gardens, paths made out of rocks through stream beds and some great switchbacks, all the while riding through lush greenery on a dark sliver of a trails, some slick sections provided a good mix.

I then road out of that trail to the right, past the huge parking lot and on the right is another trail head, it takes a little poking around, but any seasoned rider can figure it out. The next trails was covered in packed down leaves and while at times fast, it had very rocky sections and very smooth sections, a big mix, but solidly fun single track, there are some downed logs to jump and some bigger rocks to roll over and takes a little skill. I had a blast and am going to incorporate this into my regular riding schedule, since it’s the second closest place to ride after Ringwood. I then looked at the trail map on this little bulletin board and realized there were some more trails to ride. I see how it can get boring- since its not a huge trail system, but I rode for a solid hour and twenty minutes and had a blast and I was the only one.

Very easy to get to from Monsey and just incorporate these directions into anything else. I took the Sloatsburg exit off the Thruway and then took the exit off of route 17 for Ringwood – county route 72, I then took that until the only traffic light and took a right, at the end of that road I took a right again and stayed on that road until it forked, take the left fork and immediate left onto airport road. You cannot miss the huge abandoned structure where the trail head is.

Posted in Mountain Biking | Leave a Comment »

Looking for cycling or kayaking partners in the Monsey area

Posted by Frum Hiker on June 4, 2008

I figure I might as well put it out there- I would love to have someone to ride or paddle with in the Monsey area on weeknights. I pretty much ride every day, going mostly on my mountain bike to Blue Mt, Ringwood and Graham Hills- sometimes farther.

As for paddling I have been mostly going in the larger lakes in Harriman State Park- and am definitely up for anything doable on a weeknight.

If you are interested in riding with me or know of anyone- I ride both mountain and road bikes.

Posted in Monsey, Mountain Biking, Road Biking | Leave a Comment »

Yesterday was a perfect day for finding new trails

Posted by Frum Hiker on May 29, 2008

One of the greatest joys of riding for me is finding new trails in places where I regularly ride. Yesterday was one of those days that you are really happy to be alive (for me its every day- except for rush hour on the Garden state parkway maybe) It was clear skies 70 degrees and zero humidity with a slight breeze. It was windows rolled down, Grateful Dead blaring and arm hanging out the window.

It was also the day I found a few loop at my favorite place to ride- Stewart State Forest- otherwise known as the old Stewart Airforce Base or buffer zone- just outside of Maybrook- NY which is smack in the middle of Newburgh and Middletown in Orange county.

I was riding the south end of the park which is located off of route 207- and while I had planned on doing my regular loop, I noticed a trail off to the opposite side of the part I regularly ride, I had never noticed this trail before and I took it. I was happily surprised- for it was a perfect mix of smooth fast singletrack with some super technical rock gardens and jumps. I was pumped and it looped me around into some familiar trails. I normally would have ended my ride then and there- but it was too nice to give up and I ended up chilling by this amazing swamp for 30 minutes or so- just meditating on the beauty and stillness of the water, combined with the activity of all the birds, bugs and jumping frogs- good stuff man.

Then of course I got back to my car as the sun was beginning to get orange- so I decided to take a country drive. I drove down route 207 to route 17A and took that all the way over Mt Peter past sterling forest, found some new hiking trails I would like to trek most notably the Sterling Ridge Trail looks awesome- also found that Greenwood lake may be good for nice kayaking on a weeknight.

Posted in Mountain Biking, Road Trips | 1 Comment »

The first muddy ride of the season

Posted by Frum Hiker on May 28, 2008

Yesterday was 88 degrees and the worst humidity of the season- it was also the first day of torrential summertime thunderstorms. I wanted to ride during them- but was stuck in a meeting with my boss- then at 6:30 I was free and off to Ringwood State Park for a ride through the jungles of wet trees and steamy fog.

It was surprisingly dry, I mean it was muddy, but not that thick soupy stuff that slows you down, it was puddles of cool wetness flying onto my legs and face and it felt good. I love riding in the mud and wetness, I also love the forest after a torrential rain. The trees glistened and dropped mini downpours on me in slight breezes.

I also rode very well and made it all the way up this hill without walking- proof that I am in way better shape then even a month ago. I did my regular loop and the rocks were slightly slippery making for great technical riding and I had a ball on the slick tree roots.

By the time I finished I was full of mud and happy as anything- for I was the only car in the parking lot and the sky was putting on a brilliant show just for me- with the last thick storm clouds and clear blue darkening sky in the distance.

Posted in Mountain Biking | 2 Comments »

I have not posted in a long time- whats been going on

Posted by Frum Hiker on May 1, 2008

Ever since moving downstate to Monsey from Albany I have been slacking on my posting- I think the knowledge that 100 times as many people read my other blog than this one keeps me from devoting too much time to it.

Anyway I have been really taking advantage of the great opportunities around Monsey and have been riding like mad. Ringwood State Park in NJ is 20 minutes drive from work and I have been slowly figuring the place out. Its a complex network of fire roads and single track- the first few times there I got lost and gave up on finding anything good to ride. I rode there last night and finally can say I am versed in the park.

I rode Graham Hills in Westchester county recently and really liked it despite its small size. It has loads of jumps and some killer downhills, oh and it is all singletrack- so there’s no roaming around on roads looking for stuff to ride.

I have been also riding Blue Mountain in Peekskill and Stewart State Forest in Maybrook- both places see me quite a bit. I am still trying to find time to hit up Sprain Ridge Park in Westchester- but the $5 toll on the Tappan Zee prevents me from doing it. In fact the tolls keep me in check- I rarely even go to NY because of tolls and gas prices. I am lucky I live so close to goodness.

I have also been kayaking a bit in Harriman State Park- have been trying to work on my upper body and get that into shape. Road biking has taken a back seat to mountain biking just because of my location. I always complained in Albany about having no trails close by- but always had great long road rides- its the trade off.

I went to Colorado for Pesach- thats for next post

Posted in Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Road Biking | 1 Comment »

Urban Dictionary for Orthodox Jews and Monsey outdoors news

Posted by Frum Hiker on March 28, 2008

I have created with the help of a big fan of Frum Satire my other much more popular blog a site called Frum Slang which is in WIKI form and is intended to be a fully functioning urban dictionary for the frum community(yes it will be mildly offensive) but already it is becoming very funny and a pleasure to see which tersm people have added.

In other news I have been living in Monsey NY for almost a month and I think I am having way too much fun for someone in Monsey. Most people wondered if someone like me could handle such a community and you know what- I haven;’t noticed because I have been riding and hiking more then I have ever been able to do in Albany. While its not as good as being an hour from the Adirondacks. I have become accustomed to leaving work and being on my bike in sub 30 minutes time.

I have been actively riding around the Ringwood area which is 15 miles from my house. I have yet to figure it out, but Skyline Drive offers some great technical after work single track. I have ridden the small skatepark across from Ramapo College and the college itself has some great stuff to fool around on. Stewart State forest was ridden on Sunday (I fell head first into a thorn bush) and then I proceeded to ride a 40 mile road ride in Ulster and Prange counties. I rode Blue mountain reservation in Peekskill on Weds night- I found some great new stuff in there as well.

I have been really hiking big time in Harriman. I have done 3 full day 10+ mile hikes and already am planning on work-night backpacking- due to the fact its 15 minutes to my house. Insane man. I am ready to get my kayak into the water.

My work is awesome mostly due to the hours. I can work 12 hours days but in the middle I will go for a 4 hour bike ride. My boss actually likes what I do, it splits up my time, allows him to look at what I’ve done, and it lets me know I can skip out in the middle of a beautiful day.

If anyone wants to meet up in Monsey please contact me

Posted in Blogging, Harriman State Park, Hiking, Jews, Monsey, Mountain Biking, Road Biking | 2 Comments »

My XC bike is fixed

Posted by Frum Hiker on March 11, 2008

Thank the Lord the shock was not broke, just a little fine tuning and all is well. Its 45 degrees out and the day is waning by because I am gonna ride Ringwood (parking lot C- I was told) tonight. Its supposed to be a great place in this part of park and I am looking forward to it. Came in early for work to get out earlier.

Posted in Mountain Biking, NY metro area | 1 Comment »

I moved to Monsey last week and I am loving it!!!

Posted by Frum Hiker on March 10, 2008

I know that may be paradoxical for someone of my age and marital status to say, but in a little over a week I have realized that the outdoor opportunities are endless within a half hour radius. Just 15 minutes from my door is Harriman State Park, 46,000 acres including 36 lakes- most of which have access for boats. Lots of trails including portions of the Long Path and Appalachian Trails both of which run right through the park. I am also very close to the Hudson Highland and Storm King areas which both have extensive hiking trail networks and I am a 20 minute drive from Ringwood state park which has some of the best mountain biking in New Jersey. To say the least I am pumped. Throw in a 40 hour a week job and the end of daylight savings time- I am going to be in amazing shape within 2 weeks.

To start things off I went hiking in Harriman last sunday, snow covered trails made for slow going, but I hiked up to a startegic sunset viewing spot and sat on a rock and contemplated life and the woods, like a regular Whitman type. Then on Monday I road 20 miles on my road bike on the poorly paved roads of the park, its beautiful riding, but rough with all the bumps.

Friday I took my mountain bike out for the first ride of the season. If I was still in Albany, I probably wouldn’t have ridden until next month. I went to Ringwood and road the cannonball trail off of Skyline drive. I still can’t figure the place out so well, and road until it started raining on me and decided to just go back up instead of finding a loop- it was erev shabbos anyway. It was great riding and would have been better, but I realized my rear shock was blown and needs some new cartridges or something.

Today I hiked for about 5 hours through Harriman and it was amazing. I ended up hiking twice as much as I had originally planned due to trail flooding and no way to bushwack around. I ended up at the Lemon Squeezer which is on the AT and is this huge rock formation that you squeeze through to follow the trail. I also ended up, due to my detour on the Lichen Trail- which took me into the Ramapo Dunderberg trail. These two trails followed this ridge that made me feel like I was above the tree-line somewhere out west. Dead trees and pine trees swayed in the wind and boy was it windy, 35 mph winds, maybe thats why I met only two people on the trail for a whole 5 hours.

This week I am already planning to hike and get to know the trails better in my area. When it gets a little warmer I will be backpacking on the weeknights camping out and hiking out before work, I am pumped.

Posted in Harriman State Park, Hiking, Monsey, Mountain Biking, Road Biking | 1 Comment »

Poetic cycling

Posted by Frum Hiker on February 14, 2008

The wind rustled through the almost bare trees, it made a louder than normal yet peaceful sound. The crunch of the golden, brown leaves could be heard as the wind jostled the leaves together, the leaves held on for dear life as they saw their brethren lifted off their ever fraying roots and strewn about the ground as they were kicked into mini-cyclones of leaves, Styrofoam cups and the mornings left over newspaper sections. Every few minutes I was stunned at the silence only to have my mind quickly understand that the light had turned red and no, it wasn’t nuclear holocaust -since that appears the only way that one would be able to derive silence and peace from the city that never shuts up. Judging by the gentle hum of the tires and the lack of horns the traffic must have been moving at 40 mph. The lack of horns might be the reason for the convincing silence though I knew the silence as well as the darkness was fictitious. My island of peace lasted for about 30 seconds each time the light halted the masses, and prevented video game like driving from occurring on this park lined byway. These cyclones of garbage and summers last grasp rumbled about as I turned my attention elsewhere.

The mild night stifled the sounds of the leaves as they blended into a firestorm of traffic, every few minutes as the wind died down and the traffic appeared to halt silence regained its foothold only to be rudely pushed aside as the light turned green, a helicopter decided to land or a garbage cyclone decided to try and disturb the peace of this calm eavning. This calm evening when the polluted, algae laden waters of the grandiose Hudson River gently lapped at the piers lining the East shore as the crashing waves reflected light off the spires of economic wealth situated neatly across creating a mini city of residences and abandoned barges that could only be seen in the day time. The light almost seemed to be a fancy light knowing that while I my aching limbs rested on this slab of marble trying to create a sense of park like conditions in this mess of concrete, noise, screaming streaks of yellow taxis, and the red brake lights of everyone else who seemed to ignore the peace that these marble and granite slabs amidst newly planted trees that was trying to block out these images in the first place. Though darkness seemed to displace the surrounding never fading lights, and madness itself, it didn’t take long for the eyes to adjust to the illusion of darkness. Not only was it not dark, but once the sweat glazing over my retinas was swiftly wiped away with a rather smelly bike glove, my eyes were greeted with the simple fact that darkness could hardly exist in a place like this. Darkness could not creep into a city that prides itself on noise, light and zero greenery besides the never slowing green lights that grace the maze of roadways that zigzag the city like a pot of uncooked pasta spilled onto the kitchen floor.

I began to notice the orange light that illuminated the walkway that I had traveled down trying to escape the light. I had noticed how deceiving these lights could appear since they were on the sides of the path creating darkness in evenly spaced intervals so just for one second the passerby was hidden in utter darkness until abruptly the symphony of darkness was ended and another lamppost appeared. The quiet could also be noticed when one was lost in their thoughts. Deep in the meditation of the constant circles made by their feet while propelling a bicycle or maybe the constant beat of their fancy sneakers on the asphalt as they steadily, under their own power ran into the night. Maybe, just maybe under these meditations of the heart beating rapidly and the sweat slowly collecting in the belly button or folds of their extra fat that was gained at last nights dinner of fried wings and micro brews, this may lead to peace. Not only inner peace, but I too admit that while my legs quickly whitening legs fading from summers tanning pumped away at my pedals, and sweat was wiped away from my brow every couple minutes, and my breaths were shortened, and my camel back bladder was slowly emptying its contents into my esophagus trying to hydrate and cool my body, I gained peace, a peace that is quite rare in the cacophony of noise and madness that greets ones eyes, ears and body anytime they set out from their shells of concrete and try to discover peace, a peace that is almost impossible, and very pricey if sought unnaturally possibly through the spa, massage parlor or luxurious restaurant.

Posted in Mountain Biking, NY metro area | 3 Comments »