Monday, November 28, 2011

Trexler Nature Preserve, Lehigh County, PA

Trexler Nature Preserve - Lehigh County, PA
Texler Nature Preserve - Texler Nature Preserve website
Schlichers Covered Bridge - The Morning Call
Lehigh Valley Zoo -

Trexler Environmental Center Parking
GPS Coordinates 40.655541, -75.614718

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Trexler Nature Preserve Map
This is a PDF file of the map in GoogleDocs.  Click the "Download Original" button in the upper right corner to save to your PC so you can enlarge and print.  There are many kiosks throughout the park but most map holders are empty.


Mill Hill -
Schantz Hill -

Click here for a written description.

Head towards the Trexler Environmental Center with views of the rolling hills of Pennsylvania along the way.
Even if the Environmental Center is closed, an outside ramp leads to a rooftop deck for more views.
Roof top views from the Trexler Environmental Center.
Expect similar views throughout most of this hike.
The teal-blazed Trexler Nature Trail to Jordan Creek Ford.
The double blue-blazed Elk Viewing trail at kiosk #15.
Elk in the field to the right of the blue-blazed Elk Viewing Trail.
At the top of the blue-blazed Elk Viewing Trail at a picnic table, a view of the Lehigh Valley Zoo below.
The original Schlichers Covered Bridge built in 1882 to be replaced with a replica in 2013.
Inside Schlichers Covered Bridge, closed to traffic since 2009.
Rock hop over a feeder stream to the white-blazed Fireman's Trail from Schlichers Covered Bridge - rocks are about an inch under water so be sure to wear waterproof hiking shoes!
A view of Jordan Creek from above after ascending the white-blazed trail.
Hiking over hilltop meadows.
The green-blazed Teardrop Trail
Hiking along turnip (?) fields.
The yellow-blazed Hunsicker Valley Trail along an old roadbed.
The red-blazed Trexler Border Trail.
Panoramic views on the red-blazed trail in the northwestern corner of the preserve with the Blue Mountain on the horizon, atop which runs the Appalachian Trail.
Horses on the red-blazed Trexler Border Trail.
The red-blazed Trexler border trail touches on the corner of the bison area but you will most likely need to leave the trail and walk paved park roads to where the bison are.
They don't budge when people (or dogs) pass by.

[  0.00]    Follow gravel road to Environmental Center crossing over red-blazed Border Trail
[  0.15]    Rooftop views at Environmental Center; retrace to red-blazed Trexler Border Trail
[  0.25]    Turn right on the red-blazed Trexler Border Trail and keep straight when double teal-blazed trail comes in from right
[  0.30]    Turn right on teal-blazed trail at bottom of hill as the red trail bends to the right
[  0.65]    Cross paved road, rock hop over creek, veer left
[  0.75]    At paved area at Jordan Creek and bridge, turn right on double blue blazed trail keeping right uphill beyond kiosk #15
[  1.05]    Watch for various unmarked side trails to the right for elk viewing depending on where elk are
[  1.45]    Keep left on double blue before wooden fence at park road to picnic table and bench with view of zoo below; continue on double blue to left at kiosk #13
[  1.60]    Keep straight on double blue when pink (not on map) goes right
[  2.05]    Double blue trail switchbacks down to covered bridge on right and pedestrian bridge on left; turn right leaving double blue trail, cross road in front of covered bridge, hop guardrail and rock hop over creek; continue left on white-blazed trail at kiosk #9
[  2.35]    Turn left on orange-blazed trail when the white-blazed trail ends at T-intersection
[  2.60]    Turn left on green at kiosk
[  2.65]    View to the left
[  2.70]    Make sharp right turn on green at kiosk #4 when green also goes to the left
[  2.85]    Keep straight on green at kiosk #5 when blue goes left
[  2.90]    Come out on mountaintop meadow keeping straight on green with the other side of the green trail comes in from the right
[  3.10]    Keep straight on green at kiosk #2 when orange comes in from the right
[  3.35]    Keep straight on green when green/white (on map, only a green blaze on trail) goes left at kiosk #1
[  3.75]    Turn left on red at kiosk #7 when green ends
[  3.80]    Turn left on yellow as red goes right
[  3.85]    Keep left at unmarked fork (not on map)
[  4.25]    Turn right on red at kiosk #6; rock hop over creek
[  4.95]    Panoramic view at top of ascent at bench
[  5.25]    Keep left on red when yellow goes right
[  5.30]    Keep straight on red at kiosk #7 when green goes right
[  6.05]    Keep straight on red when white comes in from right; cross paved road and continue on trail parallel to road
[  6.20]    Follow red trail on paved park road to the right between two pillars at kiosk #11
[  6.40]    Red trail leaves paved road to the left
[  6.75]    Red trail comes out on paved road at corner of bison area, turn right on paved road continuing beyond camping area to view bison; retrace to red trail
[  7.30]    From paved road continue back on red trail as it veers left at a small brown building
[  7.35]    Keep left on red at unmarked fork (not on map)
[  7.70]    Keep straight on red as unmarked woods road goes right (not on map)
[  7.95]    Keep straight on red as double teal trail goes right; at gravel road turn left to parking lot
[  8.00]    Back at parking lot

I had intended to do this hike a little differently but ran into a snag and had to reroute so you might want to avoid this section of trail.  The red-blazed Trexler Border Trail crosses over Jordan Creek below kiosks #4 and #3 on the left side of the map.  Although the trail continues on the other side, it is not possible to ford the creek.  The water looked to be at least waist deep, if not deeper in the middle. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Harriman State Park, NY - Cranberry Mountain and ORAK Ruins

Harriman State Park - The Palisades Parks Conservancy

GPS Coordinates 41.229714, -74.060327

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Parking on Route 106

Southern Harriman Bear Mountain Trails Map #118 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

9.6 miles
Click here for a shorter 4.5 mile version.

Cranberry Mountain -
Big Hill -
Jackie Jones Mountain -
Breakneck Mountain - 

Facing the road from the parking lot, turn left, walk up Route 106 briefly, cross bridge then turn left on the paved roads and go beyond the gates at the yellow blazes.
ORAK Manion Ruins - Summer home of a former VP of the company that makes Karo Syrup built in 1923 (ORAK = KARO spelled backwards)
The aqua-blazed Long Path approaching Big Hill.
Big Hill Shelter built in 1927.
New York City skyline from the Big Hill shelter.
Camp Lanowa cabins at Breackneck Pond.  Camp Lanowa is a summer camp for inner city kids.
Breakneck Pond dock at Lake Lanowa
Tuxedo-Mt. Ivy Trail connecting to the yellow-blazed Buck Trail.
Cranberry Mountain Trail
Top of Cranberry Mountain off of unmarked side trail
Breakneck Pond from Cranberry Mountain.  The white-blazed Breakneck Mountain trail runs along the ridge on the other side of Breakneck Pond.
Turn left on an unmarked trail before this intersection to connect to the aqua-blazed Long Path.
Yellow-blazed Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail to Jackie Jones Mountain.
Jackie Jones fire tower built in 1928.

[  0.00]  Left on Rt. 106 over bridge, left on paved road beyond gates on yellow-blazed trail
[  0.20]  The yellow trail veers left on the fork of a more narrow paved drive beyond boulders
[  0.35]  ORAK mansion ruins
[  0.80]  Turn left on unmarked woods road when the yellow trail turns right on the woods road
[  1.05]  At T-intersection with #712 on sign turn left
[  1.15]  As the woods road veers right at bottom of hill, turn right on aqua-blazed Long Path
[  1.20]  Rock hop over creek
[  1.90]  Yellow joins in from the right; follow aqua and yellow combined
[  2.00]  Big Hill Shelter with views; continue on yellow only on the other side of the shelter
[  2.70]  Third reservoir visible on left
[  2.85]  After long bare rock surface, yellow scrambles down to the left, at bottom when yellow turns left, turn right on white-blazed trail which then follows the left fork (white blazes may be faded and hard to see)
[  2.90]  Turn right on unmarked trail then left at fork
[  3.05]  Camp Lanowa and Breakneck Pond; retrace
[  3.25]  Watch for unmarked trail on right to reconnect to white trail, turn right on white
[  4.50]  At end of white trail, turn right on white with red line trail
[  4.55]  Right on woods road at two cairns
[  4.65]  Woods road comes out at clearing after swampy area, turn left on yellow-blazed trail
[  5.10]  Turn right on yellow with black diagonal line-blazed trail when yellow goes left
[  5.40]  Rock hop over creek
[  5.50]  Turn left on woods road when yellow with black diagonal line trail ends
[  5.70]  When woods road turns left, turn right on woods road lined with boulders on left which is Cranberry MountainTrail
[  6.45]  Just before paved trail comes in on left, turn right on unmarked trail
[  6.65]  Top of Cranberry Mountain to right of large white containers with seasonal view of Breakneck Pond below; retrace
[  6.85]  Right on Cranberry Mountain Trail woods road coming off of unmarked trail, veer right as Cranberry Mountain Trail becomes paved as paved road joins in from left
[  7.10]  Paved trail crosses creek
[  7.15]  Power cut
[  7.20]  Turn left on unmarked trail just before pavement veers right and unpaved woods road goes straight; after a few steps, turn right on aqua-blazed Long Path (hard to see in that direction - as soon as you see an aqua blaze, turn around and follow the trail blazes to the left)
[  7.90]  When the aqua-blazed Long Path crosses a woods road, turn left on woods road
[  8.15]  Turn left on the yellow-blazed trail leaving woods road
[  8.25]  Rock hop over creek
[  8.45]  Rock hop over creek
[  8.70]  Fire tower on top of Jackie Jones Mountain; views near communications tower
[  9.40]  ORAK mansion ruins
[  9.80]  Turn right on Rt. 106 back to parking

Monday, November 21, 2011

Appalachian Trail: Auburn Overlook to Port Clinton, PA with Schuylkill River Trail

Appalachian Trail - Keystone Trails Association
Schuylkill RIver Trail - Schuylkill River Trail Association

GPS Coordinates 40.5521 -76.0542

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Turn on the gravel road at the State Game Lands sign then proceed to a large parking lot on the left.
If the gates are open you can drive all the way to the top and shave 2.4 miles and a huge climb up off the hike but this is one-way so you will be driving out a different way and missing a great view.
Parking at the top just before the Appalachian Trail and Auburn Overlook a short distance to the left before the barrier.

PA Appalachian Trail Map Sec. 1-6: Delaware Water Gap to Swatara Gap - Keystone Trails Association (3rd item down to purchase map)
PA State Game Lands 110 - Pennsylvania Game Commission (Auburn Overlook in wrong place on map)
Schuylkill River Trail Hamburg to Pottsville Section - Schuylkill River Trail Association

Full hike with additional section of Schuylkill River trail:  13.6 miles
Full hike:  10.8 miles
Hike from upper parking lot:  8.4 miles
Deduct .9 mile if not detouring into Port Clinton

APPALACHIAN TRAIL SECTION HIKING: - AT section miles 1200.2 to 1202.7

NOTE:  Most of this hike is on state game lands and should only be hiked on Sundays from September through February.  Hunting is currently not allowed on Sundays in Pennsylvania.
From the parking lot walk up the gravel road which will start to switchback up more steeply.
Near the top, nice views to the east.  The view is better on the way down when the sun is not directly ahead.
At the top turn right towards a wooden barrier (alternate parking) then just before the barrier turn left on a short unmarked trail which will cross over the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and go directly to the Auburn Overlook.
Auburn Overlook with views of Weiser State Forest, Stony Creek and the Schuylkill River.
From the overlook, turn around back to the AT, turn left and make note of the sign on the right which will remind you where to turn on the unmarked trail coming back at the end of the hike.
The Appalachian Trail follows the ridge of the Blue Mountain with views all around when foliage is not present.
The small town of Port Clinton comes into view as the AT descends, very steeply at times.
The AT comes out on the multi-use Schuylkill River trail.  Continue to the left on this cinder trail or follow the AT to the right for a .9 mile loop of Port Clinton.
Continuing right on the AT, a very short but very steep set of stone steps lead down to the railroad tracks.
Carefully cross live railroad tracks over to picnic tables along the Schuylkill River.
View of the Schuylkill River at the picnic tables.
Watching trains from the picnic tables at the river.
Continue on the AT into town following arrows and blazes.
When the AT turns right just beyond the fire station, keep straight to busy Route 61 and turn left. 
Walk 1 block along Route 61 to the Clinton Peanut Shop, an old-fashioned candy store...
... with a ton of snack choices.
Loop around the block from the candy store to avoid Route 61 and meet back up with the Appalachian Trail.  Follow over the railroad tracks and up the steep stone steps back to the Schuylkill River Trail.
Follow the Schuylkill River Trail to the right where the live tracks run a level below and the Schuylkill River a level below that.
After a little over 2 miles turn left into the Stony Creek Parking Lot.
Or continue straight on the rail trail for 1.4 miles to the end of the trail as it exists today with a break spot and the river flowing below.  From this point retrace back to the Stony Creek parking lot.
Walk straight through the parking lot to a short footpath then left on a woods road which will start to ascend, steeply at times
When the woods road ends at a pipeline cut, turn left and ascend very steeply but be sure to stop and turn around for great views in the opposite direction nearing the top.
After the pipeline cut turns left and flattens out along a ridge, the ridge of the Appalachian Trail is visible to the right.
After just a little incline, the pipeline cut meets up with the AT just before descending steeply.  Turn right on the AT and when meeting up with the woods road, that can be taken the rest of the way to give weary feet a break from the jagged rocks of the AT.
Take the gravel road back down the switchbacks to the lower parking lot.  The views are clearer now with the sun out of the way.

[  0.00]    Continue up gravel road beyond gate
[  0.80]    View to the east along switchback
[  1.20]    Veer right towards upper parking; turn left before wooden barrier on path, cross AT to Auburn Overlook
[  1.30]    From Auburn Overlook retrace to AT, turn left on AT
[  1.35]    AT joins woods road briefly before leaving to the left
[  1.65]    AT crosses over woods road
[  2.20]    First pipeline cut (will be coming in from the left at end of hike)
[  2.60]    Second pipline cut
[  3.30]    Cross unmarked trail
[  3.40]    Turn left briefly on cinder trail then follow AT to the right down steep steps; cross live tracks and follow AT over two bridges
[  3.70]    AT turns right after fire station; continue straight to end and turn left to follow along the left side of Route 61
[  4.90]    Port Clinton Peanut Shop; continue to end of block, turn left 1 block, turn left back to AT, right on AT over bridges then railraod tracks
[  4.25]    Ascend steep steps and turn right on Schuylkill River Trail
[  6.60]    Turn left into Stony Creek parking lot, walk straight through to path then left on woods road
               (Continue straight for 2.8 mile out and back to end of Schuylkill River Trail)
[  7.20]    Woods road ends at pipeline cut, turn left and go uphill very steeply
[  7.30]    Pipeline cut turns left and levels out following ridge
[  8.60]    After short incline turn right on AT at top before pipeline descends
[  9.20]    Turn left on woods road for smoother walking surface (or continue on AT to Auburn Overlook Sign)
[  9.50]    AT joins woods road briefly before leaving to the right
[  9.60]    Walk through upper parking then turn left on gravel road to switchback down
[10.00]    View to the east along switchback
[10.80]    Back at lower parking lot