Hiking Up Bear Mountain

A few days ago we rented a Zipcar and headed upstate to Bear Mountain for a adventure.  We have talked about doing a nature hike for quite sometimes but it’s never happened.  I was in for a surprise because my idea of what it was going to be turned out to be exactly not that.  I was expecting a dirt trail that I would have to occasionally walk over a tree root.   And the trip started out that way for the first few steps, then suddenly I started  to notice more and more rocks.  And next to those rocks was a steep hill that I had to shield my gaze from.  Steps later, I realized this was no easy walk, what now stood in front of me was big rocks, boulder size that I was going to have to climb up, with  my weak arms.   With all the rocks and figuring out how to climb exactly, where to put your legs, what to grab onto, it’s a serious mind adventure puzzle.  

The trail we took is called the Major Welch Trail and in some spots it’s very steep and very difficult.  Here are some facts about it:
Average Climb Time: 4 hours
Length: 4 miles
Elevation: 1200 feet
On hiking websites the trail is described as “Strenuous”.  Matthew told me it was labeled as “moderate” before we started.  He totally lied  to me.
At one point you climb a vertical distance of about 500 feet in little more than a quarter of a mile.  You ache!
Has amazing views.
Makes your heart beat very fast!


I have never done anything like this in my entire life so needless to say after sweating, having a red face, huffing and puffing, I felt like a fearless wizard after we reached the top.  It was a personal achievement of exhilaration.  If I could bottle up that feeling,  I would have.

It was a great trip!

Here are some photo taken along the way. 

First, Shudder came along for the hike.  On the ride up there we listened to a radio station that was doing throw back rap tunes.  Shudder was feeling it.

When we arrived at the park we took a seat next to the lake and ate a quick lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

One duck floated by.  He was camera shy and immediately turned around when he saw me. 

We then decided we needed a Snickers bar for some more energy.

This was before the hike.  Behind me, Bear Mountain.  Are you ready for this?

Here is the map.  We started out near the Hessian Lake and then you loop all the way to the tip top.  On the way down you take the Appalachian Trail.

Ok, to the right, let’s get on the trail.

It started out pretty simple, this is how I thought it was going to be the entire way.  I was so naive.  Note: I found a walking stick 1 minute in, I love walking sticks now.


We passed a little stream.

Then it turned into more rocks, where did the smooth ground go?

Up past this is the toughest part as it’s about 500 feet straight of vertical hiking.

Our path quickly turned into big boulders.  

Along the way we saw some beautiful flowers, like these Mountain Laurels.  It was hard to really take in the scenery….

When I had to figure out a way up this!

There are markers on the trees to keep you in the right path but sometimes there is  alot of space between them which could get you lost if you take a wrong turn.

Then we made it to this lookout point. I thought that was it!

See how happy I am?

Then Matthew told me we were HALF WAY there.

It was during this time that we heard some Cicadas too.  Then we spotted this cocoon.

And more on the trees.

Then we spotted some alive ones.  Aren’t they beautiful?

Ok back to hiking…

 Pamela Hiking
This one was tough, real tough.  I’m pretty sure Matthew was shocked that I did it.  I was shocked too.

Then hours later, we finally made it to the top where there is a lookout tower which is not exciting at all, except this Bear on the wall.

I  made it! Shudder and I were thrilled!

High 5!

The views from the top of Bear Mountain are beautiful.  I said “oh my” about 24 times.

I nearly cried of happiness.  What a great hike up! 

We ate a quick snack of dried fruits, nuts, corn and a banana.

After a little more viewing , we said goodbye to the beautiful scenery…

And headed down the Appalachian Trail.

The hike down is much smoother.

There’s lots of rock “stairs” and some small bridges you cross.

When we finally got to the bottom of the trail I left my walking stick there, hoping that someone else will come along and use it for their positive adventure!

Bear Mountain, you were lots of fun.  Thanks for the happiness!

I hugged the only bear I could find.

Then we drove back to the city, stopping in a small town for one ot he greatest (and coldest) vanilla milkshakes ever.

Hope you enjoyed the hike!


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