Palisades Platitudes 3 & 4 LbNA # 11047
|Found By||The Sparkill Trio |
|Last Update||Jun 25 2011 |
This series is located in the State Line Lookout area of the Palisades Interstate Park, opposite Exit 3, Northbound Palisades Interstate Parkway. There are four boxes in the whole series, two each in New York and New Jersey. (I think – I’m not sure whether we’d passed the gate before or after the third box)
The stamps are commercially made, and were really meant for making greeting cards, or for use by schoolteachers. The messages take on a bizarre new meaning when read along the way on this difficult hike. Do NOT bring dogs or small children if you mean to get the whole series, and pack light. Be careful reaching behind rocks; there are copperheads in the area. I have interspersed the clue among the text of the trail guide produced by the Park people. (Maps are available at the building.)
Boxes 1 & 2 – New York – Peanut Leap Falls
An all-time favorite: splendid river vistas on the way down, one of the prettiest spots in the Park once you get there. But be prepared for some steep parts along the way, too…
Begin at Lookout Inn, heading north along Old Route 9W, noting the aqua blazes of the Long Path along the way—you’ll be following these markers for most of this hike. About 100 yards along, the Long Path leaves the old cement road and goes into the woods, more or less following the cliff edge (and for a while overlapping Ski Trail E). About 1 mile along, you come to the State Line Monument and a chain link fence; here the trail jogs right (east) to go around the fence, and begins to descend a series of stone steps, with excellent vistas north toward the Tappan Zee. At the base of the steps, the trail jogs to the left, to bear northwest for a time and so headed away from the river. In less than 0.5 miles, you’ll cross a stream on wooden bridges. Across this stream, turn right (east), at the start of the white-blazed Shore Trail that follows the stream toward the river.
**There is a warning sign on a tree to the right of the trail. Stand with your back to the tree with the sign and look NW up the hill to what once was a double tree but is now a single tree with attached hollow stump. The first box is a few steps beyond the tree, between two large rocks, under two small rocks. Considering the warning, you may want to take the advice of the stamp in the box.
Follow the white-blazed Shore Trail that follows the stream toward the river. Just before the river, this trail gets quite steep and is prone to erosion—use caution. The ruins at the base of Peanut Leap Cascade (the round structure with columns was known as a "pergola") are from the turn of the century, when the sculptress Mary Lawrence-Tonetti, whose family owned an estate at nearby Sneden's Landing, designed an "Italian Garden" here to entertain friends from the New York art world. (This makes a great lunch spot.)
**Here the path turns and goes down the old steps of the sculptress’s garden. Go down just two flights and sit on the wall with the blazed tree to your right and the falls behind you. Reach to your left behind the wall, remove a few small stones, and find the second box under the concrete. Depending on recent rainfall, the stamp’s message varies in truth. Now comes the hard part…
Boxes 3 & 4 – New Jersey – Giant Stairs
This is the "hike of hikes" on the Palisades, and we really recommend trying something a little easier first ... the "Stairs" are as much rock scramble as hike, with a very steep ascent at the end—never attempt this hike when it’s wet or icy out!
Continue on the white-blazed Shore Trail as it heads south along the Hudson, then follow it over the Giant Stairs. You’ll scramble over the rocks for about a mile, following the white blazes all the way (some of these, you’ll notice, are in the shape of half-moons—don’t let this throw you).
**Along the way, between boulder fields, the trail turns and climbs away from the river, passing under a fallen double tree among many boulders. Another 14 steps brings you to a blazed tree on the right. About a foot behind the tree the third box is hidden among rocks. Ready for more? It gets harder…
The white trail brings you finally to the trailhead of the blue-and-white-blazed Forest View Trail. This will lead you steeply back up to the aqua-blazed Long Path. Here, turn right (north), still going up.
**While climbing the steps of this path, you come to a very cubical boulder just in front of a blazed tree. The last box is between this rock and the one beside it, under some small rocks.
Continue to follow the Long Path back to the starting point.