Nimham Mountain Fire Tower and Bear Mountain

I’ve been trying to find some places to explore closer to home (alas, vacation days for another long trip are sparse right now) so I’ve been using The Outbound to squirrel away local hikes. The Nimham Mountain Fire Tower post caught my eye — how gorgeous are those sunrise photos?? — as it was less than 2 hours away, and was more of a short uphill walk than a hike.

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

I’d recently joined the Northeast Collective’s facebook community and decided I may as well see if I could interest any other local photographers in my plans. Lucky for me, Meg responded! We decided that aiming for a 5:50am sunrise, an hour and forty-five minutes away from where we live would be pushing it juuust a bit, and decided to meet at Nimham Mountain at 6:30 instead.

That being said, it was still a very early start for a Sunday morning. I left my apartment around 5, watching as the sky went from dark, to pink, to beautifully sunny.

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

Have I mentioned I have a fear of heights that doesn’t really impact my life in any way until I’m climbing up an open metal structure in the middle of the woods? No? Thank goodness for Meg, my stomach was in my throat and I nearly stopped halfway up the Nimham Mountain Fire Tower, but she encouraged me up to the top! Definitely worth it for the view — it’s rare in New Jersey to find a high enough spot for such a viewpoint, and I always forget just how close New York’s Hudson Valley is for experiences like these.

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

When it came to finding spots to pose Meg was much more adventurous than I was. I just can’t ever shake the irrational fear that I’ll accidentally shift my weight the wrong way and plunge to my death, but she was game for it!

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

(Some of the graffiti up there was hysterical — my personal favorite is “Dante your father’s lasagna was too salty”.)

Nimham Mountain Fire Tower

We did encounter a bit of a weird situation at this spot — a troop of French-speaking boy scouts (or I guess..,the French-Canadian (?) equivalent of boy scouts) standing in a circle, doing calisthenics at the base of the fire tower. By the time we got down, they’d taken off their shirts and gone for a group jog in their khakis. It was like something out of a Wes Anderson movie, and not really something you expect to encounter that early in the middle of the woods.

Since it wasn’t even 7:30 in the morning by the time we were done at the tower, we decided to make a detour at Bear Mountain on the way back to NJ.

Bear Mountain New York

Bear Mountain has a scenic road to the top, so it was a quick and easy stop over. I’d like to go back sometime and check out the lake that’s at the base, and possibly take a stroll along the Hudson.

Bear Mountain New York

Bear Mountain New York

Bear Mountain New York

Bear Mountain New York

I have to admit, I’m not really a morning person — although I aspire to be one, lol. As much as I struggle to get up in the mornings, I do love the feeling of being up and having so much of the day ahead of me. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you wake up at the asscrack of dawn. You can scale a fire tower almost two hours away from home, drive up a mountain overlooking the Hudson, and get your groceries done all before noon!

I’ve got quite a few more spots I’d like to check off my list on The Outbound, so stay tuned for more exploring!

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