Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Branch Brook Park, NJ

Branch Brook Park - Essex County Parks

GPS Coordinates 40.751249, -74.182323
Parking along the dead end road just past the roller skating center.

The online map is so tiny it is not readable.  I just followed the yellow-blazed Lenape Trail all the way from one end of the park to the other then took other trails back using my track of the Lenape Trail as reference.
Powered by Wikiloc


This hike was not on my radar at all until Priscilla Estes sent me a copy of her book, AMC's Best Day Hikes in New Jersey (link to Facebook page) where she mentions this blog in the acknowledgements and introduction.  When I saw a 4.5 mile version of this hike in the book I realized it was peak cherry blossom season - NOW. I did not want to go on the weekend and deal with massive crowds so I took a day off during the week. Fortunately enough blossoms survived recent winds and thunderstorms.
I wanted to start at the beginning of the Lenape Trail.  This tree was right by where I parked so first a right at this tree for a short distance to the far southwest corner of the park where the Lenape Trail starts.
And here we are.  Turning around and heading back on the Lenape Trail from the beginning.
Back at where I parked, keep left to circle around the lake.  No blazes here (they are sometimes scarce) so it can be a little confusing.
There are no more cherry blossoms in the middle of the park but they pick up again later on.
This is not an asphalt path rather it has a soft rubbery surface.
I got a lot of bird backs during this hike.  This would be the back of a female cardinal.
Crossing busy Heller Parkway but there is a pedestrian light to make it easier.
The back of a mockingbird.
Second River
A prison crew doing cleanup.  Don't see that much any more.
The back of a chipping sparrow.
A blow down!  Now I feel like I am hiking!
This is the far northern end of the park where the Lenape Trail turns left to coninue as a road walk; this would be our turn around point.
Heading back on other trails using the Lenape Trail track I had recorded on the Gaia app as reference.
Over on a quiet side of the park on the rubbery trail, that bench up ahead was our break spot...
... complete with snacks.
Well, no, sorry Brodie.  No tomato sauce and chicken noodle soup for you.
No clue whose back side this is.
Even the robin turns his back.
Balloon #41 (and #42 a little farther along)
The trail along a soccer field ...
... where it looks like the Canada geese have a game in progress ...
... complete with cheerleaders.
Then this hawk (a broad winged hawk, I believe) landed in a tree ...
... and was almost completely camouflaged by the cherry blossoms.
Then he flew over to a light pole and allowed me a better look of his back, of course.  What is up with these Newark birds?
That is the Lenape Trail on the other side where we started the hike.  It's crowded over there now but the better views are over from this side where there are far fewer people.
Back around to where we parked at the dead end street.