No, not a torture instrument. Rather a very interesting rock formation on the Appalachian Trail, going through Harriman State Park, across the Hudson River in Orange County.
And last Wednesday - a week ago -an intrepid party of five made a five plus mile trek through the Lemon Squeezer. The five were Brigid and I, Maria Abonnel, Karen Riner, and Kathy Americo.
Right, Tom Faranda and four women in the woods. Like going to heaven. But I digress.
The route we took on the Appalachian Trail (AT) closely approximates the first 5.5 miles of AT ever blazed. It was laid down in 1923, and a few modifications have been made since then. For example the trail now goes around the north side of Island Pond; as recently as the late 1990's it went around the south side.
To avoid having to re-trace our steps, we planted cars at both ends of the route. Everything went according to plan, although unfortunately the day was pretty overcast, with a little drizzle at times.
The walk was not difficult, with the exception of a bit of unelegant scrambling at the Lemon Squeezer. There's lots of interesting stuff. For example, here is Maria, Tom, Brigid and Kathy, photographed by Karen, in front of the now flooded entrance tot he Greenwood Iron Mine, a mine that supplied the iron to make the Union Parrot cannons in the Civil War. The Parrot brothers owned the company and no doubt made big money supplying the North with their artillery.
Here's a little better view of the entrance. It's not much to show now, for what must have been a huge operation in the 1860's. There's the bare trace of a road into the mine, and large piles of tailings (useless rock left by the miners) all around the mine. They're big rock piles, but I would have completely missed that it was the scrap from mining if Kathy hadn't pointed it out!
Every so often on the Trail, you come across these oddball kind of street signs on the AT. Pretty amusing. That's Tom and Brigid, again photo by Karen.
Here's a close-up of the signs. The Long Path crosses the AT at this point. You can't tell because the Long Path signs are sideways in this picture, but we were 51.8 miles from the GW Bridge if we went south on the Long Trail, and 291.6 miles from Altamont, NY if we'd gone north. The distance tothe northern end of the AT is at the bottom of the top sign (763 miles) and the distance to the south end is on the bottom sign (1,365 miles). A small bit of insight into our wonderful world!
Find the creature!
After three plus miles we came to the Lemon Squeezer - a very cool rock formation. You can scramble and squeeze through it, or follow a sign that says "Easy Way" around it. The Easy Way would have been no fun so we went into scramble mode. Here's a bunch of photos!
Right in the middle of this, we met the only other hiker we saw going the other direction - his name was Michael, and he had previously "through hiked" the AT. In other words, gone from one end to the other, all 2,100 plus miles. Took him 6 months. I guess he was just out for a short hike when we met him.
So that was the Lemon Squeezer! Very cool. We still had a bit over two miles to go, and it was through climax forest with big, big, hardwood trees, and around Island Pond. This next picture makes me think of scenes from "Lord of the Rings."
And here's the Fantastic Four. All in one piece, near the end. Not sure when, but we'll probably do another trek at some point before the winter sets in ... !!