Key Skill: Avoiding Ticks
Springtime brings blooming flowers galore to Harriman, but it’s also the start of tick season, which reaches its peak in June. Here’s how to avoid Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks.
Spot Deer ticks are the size of a pepper flake, and are typically found under leaf litter and grasses (read: trailside).
Plan A Prevent Wear long sleeves and pants, and pre-treat all clothing (including socks) with permethrin (we like Sawyer, sawyer.com). Once the spray dries (give it two hours), your clothes will kill ticks on contact for up to six washings. One U.S. Army study notes that such a treatment was 100 percent effective against deer ticks. And the chemical is nontoxic to humans, since it doesn’t absorb through the skin.
Plan B Repel Forgot to prep? No worries. Apply deet (a 30- to 50-percent solution is best) to exposed skin and boots (but not to synthetics; deet melts them).
Check Carefully search the areas around your sock line, knees, shorts elastic, groin, and armpits; deer ticks tend to congregate at roadblocks like these.
Remove It takes 24 hours for a deer tick to transfer Lyme disease. If you spot one, clamp behind its head with tweezers and pluck it straight out. See a doctor if you develop deep fatigue or a bull’s-eye rash.
See This: Lemon Squeezer
The park’s 100-foot-long faux slot canyon started as a narrow crack in the granite some 250 million years ago. During the last ice age, 12,000 years ago, a massive, 3,000-foot-thick glacier ground across the area and slowly wedged the crack apart. Glacially deposited boulders (like the two bridging the southern entrance) pinned the gap open. For an easier fit, ditch your pack at the northern mouth and explore the crack between two sheer walls that pinch to just one foot wide.
You might stalk these woods with hiking poles and a hydration bladder seeking solitude, but 232 years ago, General Washington’s Continental Army patrolled the same area with muskets and powder kegs looking for redcoats. One of the last Revolutionary War battles in the Northeast colonies took place the night of July 15, 1779, when Brigadier General Anthony Wayne led a midnight attack against the British to take back control of Stony Point, 10 miles east of Harriman’s Lake Tiorati.
To surprise the British and prevent friendly fire casualties on this after-dark operation, Wayne instructed his 1,200-member Light Infantry Brigade (an elite force comparable to today’s Army Rangers) to keep their muskets unloaded and attack using only their bayonets. The Americans drove off the 700 Brits to recapture the fortified position, which the British had been using to isolate the colonies from the mainland. Take the 1779 Trail from Fort Montgomery for 8.6 miles to follow the same path.