Monday, February 27, 2012

Pequannock Watershed, NJ: Echo Lake West

Pequannock Watershed - Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation

GSP Coordinates 41.046983, -74.410376

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A permit is required to hike in the Pequannock Watershed.  Permits must be purchased in person in the office at the starting point for this hike.  Click here for information on obtaining permits.

North Jersey Trails Map #116 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCE:   4.3 miles

Crossing the dam at Echo Lake.
Echo Lake from the dam.
The teal-blazed Highlands Trail starts out smooth along Echo Lake before it becomes rocky and wet in places.
A female and male Common Merganser.
Canada geese in flight.
Ice in Echo Lake breaking up in 50 degree weather.
The white trail leaves the Highlands Trail at the end of Echo Lake and leads into a swamp.
Looking back at Echo Lake from the swamp.
Kanouse Mountain Road
The sometimes white square blazed woods road back down to Echo Lake and the Highlands Trail.
Heading back on the Highlands Trail.
Some litter removal from along the trail.

[  0.00]  From the parking follow the teal diamond blazes of the Highlands Trail towards Echo Lake
[  0.30]  Trail begins to follow along Echo Lake, occasional white blazes along with teal
[  1.65]  Left on teal uphill when white forks to the right (white trail ends in swamp)
[  1.85]  Left on unmarked woods road (Kanouse Road) when teal goes right
[  2.10]  Keep straight on woods road with unmarked trail blocked by logs goes right
[  2.35]  Keep straight on woods road when unmarked trail at a large rock goes left
[  2.40]  Keep straight on woods road when unmarked woods road at cairn goes left
[  2.65]  Turn left on woods road just as Kanouse Road starts to descend and bend to the left
[  2.70]  At intersection with another woods road, turn left and descend down to Echo Lake (occasional white square blazes along this trail)
[  3.05]  Right on teal blazed Highlands Trail at Echo Lake
[  4.30]  Back at parking lot

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Musconetcong Gorge Preserve and Sweet Hollow Preserve, NJ

Musconetcong Gorge Preserve - Hunterdon County Department of Parks and Recreation
Sweet Hollow Preserve - New Jersey Natural Lands Trust
Highlands Trail Section 9 - New York/New Jersey Trail Conference

GPS Coordinates 40.627328, -75.135697

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Musconetcong Gorge Preserve - Hunterdon County Department of Parks and Recreation
A few of things to note about the map:
- The teal/yellow trail on the map is blazed teal diamond/yellow diamond/white rectangle
- White rectangle trail along Pine Run to old rail bed not shown on map

- The red trail on the map is blazed orange

- The orange trail on the map is blazed blue

- The dark blue trail on the map is blazed orange

- The light blue trail on the map (the Nature Trail) is blazed dark blue/orange

- The white diamond trail and white rectangle trail are 2 different trails plus there are some old white blazes along the rail bed

Highlands Trail Section 9 - New York/New Jersey Trail Conference  (includes Sweet Hollow portion)
Nature Trail at end of hike - Click here for interpretive brochure.

Musconetcong Gorge Preserve and Sweet Hollow Preserve - 10 miles
Musconetcong Gorge Preserve to white rectangle trail at Pine Run - 5.30 miles
Musconetcong Gorge Preserve to white square trail - 3.65 miles

The first part of the hike follows the combined teal Highlands Trail, yellow park trail, and white rectangle trail along a ridge for almost 2 miles.
Seasonal views all along the ridge trail.
The Highlands Trail follows Staats Road briefly...
... before turning on to Schaaf Road, a quite residential/farm road.
The Highlands Trail leaves Schaaf Road to follow the perimeter of a cornfield.
Looking back at the cornfield before entering the woods.
The first sign of spring - skunk cabbage.
A creek through Sweet Hollow Preserve
Another creek in Sweet Hollow Preserve
A .6 mile road walk on quiet Sweet Hollow Road to the second section of Sweet Hollow Preserve.
At the top of the hill in the second section of Sweet Hollow Perserve.
Woods road through second section of Sweet Hollow Preserve.
Farm with a view from Schaaf Road
Highlands Trail leaves Staats Road to the left behind a row of 4 mailboxes.
The white rectangle trail descends the rocky gorge next to Pine Run.
Old rail bed parallels the Musconetcong River.
Musconetcong River
Dam on the Musconetcong River.
Scout Run Waterfalls
Bridge over Scout Run
Fibermark Paper Mill seen from the Nature Trail.
If you like REAL cage-free eggs (most in the grocery store that claim to be cage-free really aren't - click here to check) watch for farmers selling eggs on your drive out.  Bring some empty cartons along - farmers will gladly reuse them.

[  0.00]  Start on the trail to the far right of the parking lot - teal/yellow/white rectangle
[  0.55]  Rock hop over creek; continue uphill to the right as blue goes left on a woods road
[  1.25]  Keep right on teal/yellow/white rectangle as white diamond goes left
              *** turn left here for 3.65 mile hike, turn left on white/orange at bottom and continue from 8.3 mile point below
[  1.90]  Keep right and rock hop over creek on yellow/teal as white rectangle leaves downhill to the left; rock hop over smaller creek
             *** turn left here for 5.3 mile hike and continue from 7.6 mile point below
[  2.50]  Right on Staats Road on teal Highlands Trail (sparse blazing along road)
[  2.60]  Left on Schaaf Road on teal Highlands Trail (sparse blazing along road)
[  3.10]  When road veers to the left, turn right on Highlands Trail towards cornfield then follow perimeter of cornfield to the right
[  3.30]  Teal Highlands Trail continues straight into woods from far end of cornfield
[  3.50]  Cross power cut; after few steps trail follows along top of stone wall to right
[  3.60]  Teal trail leaves stone wall to the left, keep straight through clearing back into woods
[  3.80]  Dilapidated building in bamboo grove to the left
[  3.85]  Rock hop over creek; at paved Sweet Hollow Road turn left and walk along road (sparse blazing along road)
[  4.45]  Almost at the top of a gradual incline, teal Highlands Trail leaves paved road to the left on woods road
[  4.70]  Old stone fireplace at top of hill
[  4.85]  Keep left on teal as it leaves woods road to the left at fork
[  5.00]  Rock hop over creek then a few steps later another creek
[  5.15]  Cross power cut
[  5.35]  Turn left on Route 579 when Highlands Trail goes right
[  5.70]  Turn left on paved Schaaf Road
[  6.40]  Meet back up with teal Highlands Trail coming in from right from cornfield
[  6.90]  Turn right on Myler (turns into Staats Road)
[  7.00]  Turn left into woods behind 4 mailboxes as Staats Road bends to the right
[  7.60]  Rock hop over smaller creek, then wider creek; turn right on white rectangle trail
[  7.70]  At bottom of descent, turn left on old rail bed
[  8.20]  Unmarked side trail to right goes down to river and dam; trail continues to meet back up with rail bed
[  8.30]  Continue to the right on old rail bed a few steps then turn left on white diamond trail; after a few steps when white diamond goes left, turn right on white diamond/orange trail
[  8.95]  At intersection with gate on the right, blue goes left on woods road uphill; take the orange trail to the right of the blue trail; when the orange trail splits at the top of a short steep section, take the right fork.
[  9.15]  Orange trail ends at waterfalls; retrace back to intersection
[  9.35]  At intersection with metal gate, turn right on blue/orange trail
[  9.40]  Cross wooden footbridge (this is #10 on the Nature Trail map)
[  9.45]  Rock hop over creek, few more steps rock hop over another creek
[  9.70]  At fork go either way
[  9.85]  Blue trail that previously forked meets back together; continue uphill
[10.00]  Back at parking lot

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Long Path from Buttermilk Falls County Park to Clausland Mountain County Park, NY

This hike goes through a cluster of adjoining parks in the Hudson Palisades:
Buttermilk Falls County Park - Rockland County, NY
Sean Hunter Ryan Memorial County Park - Rockland County, NY
Blauvelt State Park - Wikipedia
Tackamack Park - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Clausland Mountain County Park - Rockland County, NY
Camp Bluefields and Tweed Tunnels - Dan and Laura's Photo Album

GPS Coordinates 41.086899, -73.947150

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Hudson Palisades Trail Map #109 - NY/NJ Trail Conference (shows all trail on one map)
Buttermilk Falls County Park - Rockland County, NY
Sean Hunter Ryan Memorial County Park - Rockland County, NY
Clausland Mountain County Park - Rockland County, NY

HIKE DISTANCE:  11 miles

Buttermilk Falls, less than 1/4 mile from the parking lot.
Amazing tree roots at Buttermilk Falls.
First view west from the blue trail.
Second view west from the blue trail.
The orange trail crosses Schuyler Road then appears to go through a back yard before entering the woods.
Unfortunately, just beyond those homes, the orange trail skirts an active construction site.
When the orange trail ends, the white trail continues along the construction site with heavy machinery noise and exhaust stench.  Kind of puts a damper on the hike but it's only temporary - the trail leaves that area soon.
Once on the Long Path, construction noise starts to face and seasonal glimpses of the Hudson River come into view.
Sean Hunter Ryan memorial with the Hudson River.
The Tappan Zee Bridge from the Long Path.
Graffiti and lots of broken glass (watch those paws) at a scenic overlook on the Long Path.  Sad.
Looking beyond the ugly to the view.
The Tweed Tunnels at Camp Bluefields - an old firing range with tunnels so soldiers could pass through safely.
I only stepped inside one tunnel opening to get a quick shot.  I was too chicken to go through the tunnels.  If you want to see more of the inside of the tunnels, hop over to Dan Balogh's site where he has several pictures.
After the tunnels, the Long Path goes through some gorgeous stands of huge pine trees.
A creek in Tackamack Park.
The blue trail in Clausland Mountain County Park.
The orange trail in Clausland Mountain County Park.
I believe this is a Southern Flying Squirrel.  He must have been in a hole alongside the trail and ran up the tree when we walked by.  He looked like he had been sleeping.
White trail back to Buttermilk Falls County Park.
The white trail leads back to the parking lot.

[  0.00]  With you back to the road, go to the left corner of the parking lot to start on the blue trail
[  0.20]  Buttermilk Falls; continue on blue trail
[  0.50]  View west
[  0.55]  Orange trail starts to the left; keep straight on blue
[  0.60]  View west; retrace on blue trail back to orange trail
[  0.65]  Right on orange trail
[  0.80]  Rock hop over creek
[  0.85]  Cross paved Schuyler Road and proceed between back yards of homes
[  0.95]  When orange trail ends, turn left on white
[  1.00]  Rock hop over creek
[  1.30]  White trail ends, turn right on aqua-blazed Long Path
[  1.40]  Sean Hunter Ryan memorial plaque at bench
[  1.65]  Cross paved Bradley Hill Road diagonally to the right
[  1.95]  Long Path turns left at woods road
[  2.00]  Seasonal views at top of rock slab on the right
[  2.10]  Seasonal view of Tappan Zee bridge on left
[  2.35]  Cross gravel road
[  2.65]  After going up log steps, keep left on Long Path when red goes right
[  2.70]  View west at graffiti covered rock slab; no aqua blazes but trail continues straight over slab and downhill
[  2.85]  Cross paved Tweed Boulevard slightly to the left
[  3.25]  Rock hop over creek, white goes right, unmarked straight, turn left to continue on Long Path
[  3.35]  Turn right at unmarked intersection when unmarked goes left; blazes continue
[  3.70]  Camp Bluefields and Tweed Tunnels
[  4.05]  Rock hop over creek
[  4.20]  Cross paved Marsico Court
[  4.30]  When unmarked goes right, turn left and cross bridge over creek
[  4.45]  After dam on right, Long Path turns right at wood road coming in from left
[  4.50]  Long Path veers right when unmarked goes left
[  4.65]  Walk through Tackamack Park parking lot; cross paved Clausland Mountain Road
[  4.70]  At fork other side of road, keep right on Long Path when unmarked goes left
[  5.00]  Rock hop over creek
[  5.55]  At T-intersection when Long Path turns right, turn left on orange
[  5.80]  Orange trail goes through hole in chain link fence then through wet area
[  5.90]  Left at fork when orange also goes right; cross paved road at parking lot to blue trail
[  5.95]  At fork keep left on blue when blue also goes right (return route will come in from right)
[  6.30]  At completion of blue loop, left at intersection, cross parking lot and paved road to orange trail
[  6.35]  Turn left on orange when orange also goes right
[  6.55]  Orange ends at the aqua-blazed Long Path, right on Long Path
[  6.70]  Rock hop over creek
[  7.00]  Left on aqua Long Path when orange goes right
[  7.50]  Rock hop over creek
[  7.70]  Cross over bridge
[  7.85]  Cross paved McClausland Mountain Road and proceed through Tackamack Park parking lot
[  8.20]  Cross over bridge
[  8.35]  Cross paved Marisco Court
[  8.70]  Keep right when woods road comes in from left
[  8.90]  Camp Bluefields and Tweed Tunnels
[  9.30]  When Long Path veers right, veer left on to white-blazed trail (to the left of the white trail is an unmarked woods road); rock hop over creek
[  9.70]  Turn left on the red trail at end of white trail after steep climb
[10.00]  Red trail crosses paved Bradley Hill Road then ends at white; turn left on white (no blazes for the left turn so take a few steps right on while then turn around to follow the white blazes in the other direction)
[10.15]  White trail turns left before stone wall; blazes are temporarily hard to see but will continue straight ahead after making left turn
[10.30]  Cross paved Schuyler Road then a footbridge over a creek
[10.50]  White turns left at a gravel road and continues on gravel road
[10.65]  Keep straight when blue goes right
[10.80]  White trail leaves gravel road to the right as footpath; goes down steps and crosses boardwalk
[11.00]  Back at parking lot