“Once you finish a trail guide, you probably never have to touch it again,” a friend said recently, and an M&M flew out of my nose as I choked on my gorp.
While you’d think that trail guides would remain relatively static once they’re complete, there’s always something that needs to be updated or improved:
- Conditions change
- Links break
- Blazes fall off trees
- Parking fees are instituted
- Trails close
- Signs get stolen (boo!)
- Construction completes (yay!)
- Clarifications are needed
- People decide to turn left even when you tell them to turn right (I’m looking at you, Storm King Mountain, Step #6!)
- News comes out that Breakneck Ridge is closing for construction
- News comes out that Breakneck Ridge isn’t closing for construction until 2020
- News comes out that Breakneck Ridge has already closed because boulders fell near the trail
- News comes out that Breakneck Ridge has re-opened because the boulder thing probably won’t happen again
- News comes out that Dover Stone Church is closed because boulders fell from the ceiling
- News comes out (yesterday!) that Dover Stone Church is open again, with new signage to warn about the (very low!) risk of getting squashed if you go in there
- Etc, etc, etc.
Also, hey, boulders: Calm down!
The beauty of online trail guides is that they can be continually updated to capture the current (and surprisingly fast-moving!) events out there. Even more beautiful is the awesome input from the Hudson Valley hiking community to catch all of these changes. My sincere thanks to all the wonderful people who have taken the time to send emails or leave helpful comments on the trail guides across this site to make those guides as accurate as possible for the next folks to head down the trail.
Whenever someone points out the need for an update, I try to get the update online in relatively short order, depending on the importance and size of the update (with the understanding that I have a job and a family, and my oldest son is playing travel soccer, so my free time is literally and figuratively on the sidelines these days).
If you pop by the Hike the Hudson Valley homepage, you’ll see a section that highlights the three most recently updated trail guides:
While that section lets you know that something has been updated, it doesn’t tell you what the updates are. I try to tag significant updates in the guides with a timestamp (like **UPDATE September 2019**), but there hasn’t really been a way to see all of the changes in one place before.
Back in June, though, I started keeping notes on the small updates I was making across the site, in case it might be useful to share here and help keep you aware of the various changes on this site and, more importantly, on the trails.
So without further ado, here’s a list of changes from across this site since mid-June, with gratitude to all the keen-eyed hikers and other helpful folks who made these updates possible.
Hike the Hudson Valley updates (June 19 – September 12, 2019)
– Warning added about this hike being rough on doggy paws, based on a comment from a hiker whose pooch had a very bad experience out there.
– Dead links to old news stories removed from May 2015 update (about Sam’s Point officially becoming part of Minnewaska).
– Updated Step 4 based on a comment that the blazes have changed at the Blue/White junction.
Storm King Mountain
– Based on a comment that “Storm King trailhead” takes you to the wrong place in Google Maps, I updated the “Sorta nearby address for your GPS” section to offer the correct magical combination of keywords to use. (“Storm King State Park parking lot” does the trick, in case you were curious.)
Dover Stone Church
– Updated with a closure warning for the cave, due to rocks falling from the ceiling. Yikes! I also posted a warning to Facebook to help spread the word. Special thanks to Tracy Rakin for posting the original warning! (The cave has since re-opened — keep scrolling for that update.)
– Updated Step 16 with information on another overlook if you proceed a little further than my trail guide originally recommended (thanks to the helpful commenters who reported the additional viewpoint that I’d missed!)
– Removed several Qs (and corresponding As) to questions that no longer applied (mostly about the old format of the site, before last year’s redesign).
– Changed all instances of “Mt. Overlook” to “Overlook Mountain” or “Overlook,” after cool person and fellow hiker (and person who helped restore the tower, including painting the roof from ON TOP OF THE TOWER!!!) John Ludwig dropped me a friendly email to let me know that, dude, nobody calls it Mt. Overlook. Oops! My mistake. I’d called it “Mt. Overlook” about 15 times in that guide. That’s like going to Disney and asking about Mt. Splash. Or Mt. Space. Fixed now – thanks, John!
– Also updated the weather widget in the “Resources” section while I was in there.
– Updated the Background and Directions sections with links to a comment from Evan Thompson, the park manager at Hudson Highlands State Park, to help everyone be aware of the rules and parking restrictions here. Thanks to Evan for visiting the site and providing his helpful guidance!
New trail guide posted! That makes 80 trail guides now posted to Hike the Hudson Valley. At about four new trail guides per year, I should hit an even 100 sometime before we’re driving to the trailheads in rocket cars.
– Balsam Lake Mountain added to Coming Soon(ish) list. Four Catskill fire towers documented, one to go!
Black Rock Forest
– Bolded the word “left” in Step 26 based on comment feedback that somebody missed the turn. The instructions were already correct, but I try to take some sort of action whenever somebody gets lost, so bold it is!
– Sterling Forest fire tower added to the Coming Soon(ish) list. Looks like a cool hike!
– Update added to reinforce that the loop documented here is closed, and an up/back traverse is now the way to do it. (Trail guide is still valid until Step 16, when you’ll need to turn around and retrace your steps rather than continuing on the now-defunct loop.)
Storm King Mountain
– Picasa (remember Picasa?) album removed and replaced with on-site Storm King Mountain photo gallery. I still have about 20 old no-longer-functional Picasa slideshows to remove from the older trail guides on the site (thanks, Google!), and will continue getting to them when I have absolutely nothing better to do.
Fahnestock: Jordan Pond
– Updated “Directions” section with more accurate address from a user comment
– Removed reference to a prehistoric device known as a “Garmin Nuvi”
– Updated “Similar hikes” section and replaced Picasa album with a new Jordan Pond Photo Gallery
– Added warning from NYS Parks about temporary parking limitations due to construction projects here in 2019. (Thanks to Chris Morris, Statewide Trails Program Planner for NYS, for the email heads-up!)
– Added several updates based on recent comments about overgrown fields, missing signs, and faded paint. Thanks to all the commenters who have left helpful tips on how to navigate this trail now — they’re integrated into the trail guide. Very much appreciated!
– Fixed some other paragraph spacing issues while I was in there.
Black Rock Forest
– Cheapskate Alert!!! New parking fees will be instituted at Black Rock Forest, starting this October. You know of a better way to spend five bucks? Me neither. (Thanks to Brian LaRose for the helpful comment and link for more info!)
Dover Stone Church
– Dover Stone Church is open again! Hooray! (Thanks to Stancy DuHamel from the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community for the timely heads-up yesterday!)
This update is now posted to the trail guide:
After being closed for the summer of 2019, the cave at Dover Stone Church is open again! You can see the official re-opening notice on the Town of Dover’s Dover Stone Church page. There’s apparently new signage outside the cave, warning that you now enter the cave at your own risk, with the understanding that boulders might (but probably won’t!) fall on your head. Happy (and safe) adventuring out there, everyone!
That’s all I got!
Was this a useful recap? Let me know! This can be a recurring feature here if anyone would like to see a regular rundown of updates.
Also, what else needs to be updated?
If you know of a change or helpful tidbit that should be documented in any of the 80 trail guides on Hike the Hudson Valley, please drop a comment in those trail guides (or on this blog post) and I’ll get them updated just as soon as I get home from the soccer fields!