ok, so finally Bear mountain. Its probably one of the closest hiking trail picnic spot to NYC and accessible by bus. So this weekend we decided to go for the hike. This was a total grab stuff and go hike, no planning, no maps nothing. Once there, first we were little surprised by the area of this place, there is a small lake and picnic spots round it, and there is also large area for more picnic all around. There was absolutely no sign of trail head. Then we spotted someone with hiking poles, kind of ob she was here for hike. Asked her about trils, she showed her map, told about few trails she did, and told about the trail we were looking for, steep hike up to the tower and back in a loop. Then rahul brought some maps from somewhere, and we started applying budhhi and decided on a 6.5 mile trail. The trail head was somewhere hidden between highways, to get to the trail head, we had to cross a bunch of freeways, very adventurous. Somehow we managed to find the trailhead and it was immediately evident that its mostly an abandoned trail. Like most of the trails here, there were good signs to guide, but it was not a maintained trail from Seattle standards. So anyway, we started, it was more like a jungle walk and that made me nervous immediately. Then after a while we started hearing traffic noise and realized that the whole trail is close to the highway, we were never away from sound of the cars which was in a way comforting, but then not what I was looking for. I was quite frustrated for a while, wasting time on walking. Then we reached this junction which seemed to be leading to the Applacian trail. The trail map showed that if we took the diversion, it will take us directly to the tower and back.
Decision point, we had about 3 hours before the last bus back, and no idea how long the trail would be, and its suppose to be a steep hike up and steep down, meaning slow both ways. Somehow we decided to take it. More apprehension. Then we met someone who said yes its far, but its good. Ok, move on. The trail immediately climbed few hundred feet and we were at a good open spot with good view, exactly what I was looking for. Then we hit a paved road and lost the white AT trail marker we were following. Met a few more lost people, looking for the tower. We kept walking, more apprehension about missing the bus, and then finally found the trail again. Later I realized that we had taken a bike path shortcut to cut across the hill and meet the trail which we were suppose to take to go back. Anyway, we headed up, it was a steep climb, but view from the top was worth it all. The top of tower is accessible by car also, so it was very crowded. We sat, had lunch, enjoyed the view, took photos and then started back. The hike back was ok, reached in comfortable time. Must have covered a total of 8 miles or more, and good thing is we hit almost every trail in the area in our little adventure. We still had almost an hour to spare before the bus, spent sitting by the lake and of course dunking feet in the water.