Sunday, August 20, 2017

Turkey Brook Park, NJ

Turkey Brook Park - Mount Olive Township

GPS Coordinates 40.86304, -74.72459
Parking at the far end of the park in front of the dog park.

Turkey Brook Park Trails - Mount Olive Township, Morris County
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HIKE DISTANCE:  8.35 miles

The map says there is a kiosk and trail head - there is neither.  Facing the direction of the dog park, turn left on the paved path with painted paw prints ...
... then turn right just before the football field.
Keep straight on the paved path ...
... keeping straight on the gravel path when the paved path veers left.
The gravel path joins his wide gravel road that comes in from the right.
Just a short distance ahead on the right are the kiosk and trail head!  Neither are visible from the main park.
Deer ...
... lots and lots ...
... of friendly and curious deer.
This guy wasn't more than 30 feet from me and did not move.
Coming up on a power cut...
... with a sunning black vulture.
Between the power cut and Maiers Pond the trail gets a bit overgrown but still passable and I did not pick up any ticks with Deep Woods OFF on.
The trail joins a gravel path ...
... to Maiers Pond.
The white trail continues on around the pond to the right.
At the far end of the pond, after crossing a small foot bridge, the markers are red for a while.  I have no idea why.  Turning around I saw they were white going in the opposite direction.
The markers go back to white just before ending at School House Road.  It is unclear where to go from this point since there are no more blazes for a while.  Keep left around that large bush straight ahead.
Cross School House Road and turn left.
Then watch for the continuation of the trail on the right.
When the trail comes out at the high school, the blazes again stop.  Turn right at the fence.
Follow the path towards the school turning left at the end heading towards a small parking lot.
Continue to the end of this small parking lot.
And that is where the trail continues.
Looking back towards the school from the trail.
White and orange run together for a bit before orange leaves left heading back to the pond.
At the kiosk on Vaccaro Road, turn left and road walk a short distance...
... to the continuation of the trail on the right just after the end of the guardrail.
After going through the woods the trail becomes a mowed path ...
... the crosses a mowed area with no trail markers.
Keep straight and follow the mowed path on the other side.
This comes to a parking lot that is not on the map.
The white markers resume on the kiosk then continue straight ahead.
No idea what this trail marker is.
Not a clue what this one is either, 
Norther Flicker
Yellow-rumped Warbler
After going through woods the trail emerges at a parking lot on Gold Mine Road.
The trail continues from the right side of the parking lot.
A swamp soon comes into view.
Unfortunately the trail is the swamp.  Looking like it was impassible I turned back only to find ...
... an alternate route under a large downed tree visible a few steps back.
But when I came across a log crossing that was mostly submerged with all of the rain we have been having, I decided to break out the plastic boot cover and wade across.
I stashed them to use on the return route.
Then I notice a great blue heron who promptly flew away.  A few others flew away also.
The trail is a bit overgrown here but can still be followed.
Then I noticed a great blue heron rookery across the swamp.
And some of the nests had herons in them!  Those herons that flew away when they saw me, they must have been juveniles who headed back to the safety of their nests.
Two in one nest.
The two in the nest on the far left and one in the nest on the far right.
Part of the trail skirts the swamp but here are enough rocks and solid ground to continue on.
After the swamp the trail continues through woods.
I would say once you hit this pink Cadillac, or whatever it is, it would be a good place to head back.
All there is beyond that is a power cut ...
... then trashy dumping grounds ...
... before the end of the trail at Old Budd Lake Road.
Heading back to the swamp.
The nests were all empty now.
He's not telling where the herons went.
There are my boot covers.
Since I already had them on, I stayed on the flooded part of the trail instead of detouring under the blow down.
Back at the Gold Mine Road parking lot.
There is a green trail that branches off of white so I thought I would see where that went.
Unfortunately it did not connect back to white and only went to a housing development.
So close.  I retraced until I could bushwhack over back to white.
Eastern Towhee
At the first mowed grass path to the right follow that to the road and turn left.
Flanders Road is straight ahead.
Turn right and road walk on Flanders Road.  Again, no markers for a while.
The markers pick back up on the left.
The markers never say when to turn but it would be left on this gravel road at the one way sign.
Ah, a marker!  I was in the right place.
And then the kiosk where the hike started.  Staying on the gravel road ...
...then the paved trail back to the parking lot.