On Friday, July 18th I wanted to continue to work on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail near Wurtsboro. I decided to go to Wurtsboro and park near Haven Road to hike to the VFW in Wurtsboro to connect the northern and southern sections of the trail I had already hiked. Sheila was ready to go even after a long hike the day before and we left Livingston Manor just before 8:30 AM. I turned off the Quickway at the exit for Route 209 and headed south toward Port Jervis. I drove about 2 miles south and turned left on Haven Road. I followed the road as it crossed over the Basha Kill. At the first intersection I turned left and parked in the large lot. We got out of the car and were ready to hike by 9:05 AM. We headed northeast on the old railroad bed which makes up a good part of the SRT in this area. It was warm but not really hot and the humidity was manageable. As we hiked there were no blazes for either the SRT or Long Path but I have gotten use to this. Within a short distance was a nice viewpoint over the Basha Kill to the ridges beyond. It was still a little hazy and I decided to wait until the return trip to take pictures. As we hiked along there were some areas where recent storms had brought down large trees across the trail. None of the trail had been maintained in any way which is shame since it gets so much use. We continued along and encountered a few wet areas on the trail and some mud. There were also several places where old wooden bridges were needed to cross the water. These bridges are slowly deteriorating and the whole atmosphere was one of neglect. It is a shame as this is a beautiful area and used by many different types of people. I was wondering how we would get across Route 17 and at 1.8 miles I found out. There is a bridge over the old railroad bed that allows hikers and wildlife to pass under the highway without a problem! At 2.3 miles we ran out of trail and began the road walk to our turn around point.
As we started the road walk, I check my map and could see that the railroad bed continued on and would cut some distance off the hike. I do not know why the trail turned left on South Road but we followed the assigned route. South Road eventually turned into Pennsylvania Avenue. It was rather pleasant walking on the flat and level road. As we neared town, we came across the D and H Canal Linear Park. A sign explained that Wurtsboro was named after Maurice Wurts who was the president and founder of the D and H Canal. There was also a stone snubbing post that was used to control the coal barges. When we arrived at Sullivan Avenue, the main street of Wurtsboro, we turned right and headed southeast, crossing the old railroad bed again at 3.8 miles. To this point the hike had been nearly flat and we had gained only 100 feet. This changed as we left the Village of Wurtsboro and headed up the hill to VFW Road. In truth the “climb” was only about 200 feet in .7 miles making an average grade of only 6%. The traffic seemed heavy but the shoulders of the main road were wide. When we arrived at the VFW post there were a few members present and we walked through the parking lot to the beginning of the trail just to make sure everything was connected. We turned around at 10:40 PM to return to the car after hiking 4.5 miles.
On the way back we stopped several times for some photography. As we descended into Wurtsboro I took a few shots of the clouds which where billowing and puffy. I noticed that there was an almost constant stream of takeoffs from the airport and in most cases it was a tow plane with a glider behind. We walked back through Wurtsboro and stopped at the Liner Park so that I could take a few pictures of the signs. <We continued on the roads setting fast pace until we were again at the railroad bed. Sheila was glad to be off her leash. We passed under the highway and stopped at one of the wooden bridges to take some pictures. When we arrived at the one clear spot that acted as a viewpoint over the Basha Kill the haze had cleared and I took many pictures. I had in mind creating a panorama using the shots I took. A little further on a path went up onto the high ground to the right of the trail and we followed it. I could not remember why this path was there but the wooden observation platform jogged my memory. I climbed to the deck of the platform with Sheila right behind me! After taking a few pictures, we descended to the path and walked back to the main trail. We were back at the car by 12:30 PM having covered 9.1 miles in 3 hours and 2o minutes with around 400 feet of vertical gain.