Each year during the year-end holidays, Troop 353 attempts to gather its available Eagle scouts. These fine young men are often home from college and enjoy the reunion of old friends, notwithstanding any conflicting work schedules. As well, it is a terrific venue for introducing younger scouts to older scouts and to learn why it is important to strive for the rank of Eagle Scout. This year, the hike was to the scenic Storm King Mountain and its sweeping panoramic views of the Hudson Valley and Catskills. It was a crisp, bright day in January, but the exercise certainly re-emphasized the importance of layered clothing!
Storm King has a very interesting recent history. In 1999, under drought conditions, a forest fire spread throughout the state park. In the course of extinguishing the fire, exploding ordnance were unexpectedly discovered. “The ordnance had apparently been fired well over a century ago to test cannons manufactured at the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, across the river and it exploded due to the heat generated by the fire. Subsequently, it was determined that artillery shells fired from the West Point Military Reservation may also have landed in the park.” It took the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over 4 years to clean up the park before it was reopened to the public.
There are actually two adjacent mountain peaks that our troop hiked and the vertical rise is a manageable 500 feet (or less) and we probably hiked only 2.0–2.5 miles in total. From the top of Butter Hill, only 45 minutes from the parking lot, one can view the Shawangunk Ridge to the west (and several major Catskill wilderness areas), Mount Misery to the South, West Point and Cold Spring to the Southeast and the easterly ledges of Storm King. Then a short walk north to northeast over to the Storm King mountain along the upper Yellow trail, gives hikers unparalleled views of the Hudson River to the north and the east. Directly across the Hudson River to the east is the equally scenic Breakneck Ridge trail, towering above Cold Spring, NY, which the troop hiked in April 2007.
There are no fewer than 7 different scenic view points on the trail map. At one of these points, the boys picked a perfect place to stop for a late lunch and a brief 30-minute rest. In the distance, one can easily view Bannerman’s Island and the remnants of the Scottish-style castle he built in the late 1880s to house his arsenal of second-hand military supplies which he sold abroad. Afterwards it was a comparatively quick jaunt for the scouts down the White / Bypass trail. This was a comparatively easy hike with varied geographic conditions and stunning views which scouts greatly appreciated as seen in these pictures. click for more scenic views