Saturday, April 21, 2012

Farny State Park, NJ - Splitrock Reservoir North

Four Birds Trail

Farny State Park - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Pequannock Watershed - Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation

GPS Coordinates 40.997962, -74.457232

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Parking for 4-5 cars to the left just outside the entrance to Camp Winnebago.

It is not clear to me whether a Pequannock Watershed hiking permit is required for this hike.  No signs indicate when you are leaving Farny State Park and entering watershed property except on the return route about half a mile from the parking area on the woods road.  I have a permit so it didn't matter but if you don't have a permit, you might want to check first.  Click here for information on obtaining permits.
This sign is not visible until the end of the hike, then only if you turn around.

Jersey Highlands Trail Map 125 - NY/NJ Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCE:  8.6 miles

Start on the yellow-blazed Timberbrook Trail from the parking lot.  The parking and first 3/4 mile of this hike are the same as last week's hike.  It is interesting to note how the spring foliage has changed in exactly one week, almost to the minute.
April 14, 2012                        compared to                                  April 21, 2012
Another hiker on the Timberbrook Trail.

When the yellow Timberbrook Trail ends, turn right on the white Four Birds Trail. A short distance to the left is the swamp part of Timberbrook Pond:
April 14, 2012                        compared to                                  April 21, 2012
Heading south on the Four Birds Trail.
The trail goes through an area of old stone walls, remnants of farming.
Although you can continue straight on the white trail, I turned off on an unmarked woods road...
... which led to a red-blazed trail - I suppose that is OK as long as you are not on a horse.
The red trail meets back up with the white-blazed Four Birds Trail.
The orange diamond trail with very faded blazes loops around the northern end of Splitrock Reservoir.
Splitrock Reservoir
A startled Great Blue Heron taking off....
... and keeping a close eye on us from afar.
Canada geese must be nesting here as they were exceptionally unhappy about our presence.
A beaver lodge.
Beaver lodge construction materials.
How relaxing does this look?  I saw something on an island in the reservoir but could not make out what it was until I got home and blew up the picture.  Now I realize this was the nice man in the kayak I later ran into along the banks of the reservoir and had a conversation with.
A blue-blazed trail leads up to Indian Cliffs.
Climbing up to Indian Cliffs.
Indian Cliffs.
View of Splitrock Reservoir from Indian Cliffs.
View of Misty Pond from Indian Cliffs.
Misty Pond at ground level.
Woods road back to the parking lot.
In honor of Earth Day (4/22/12) non-hiking dog Sydney poses with the litter we hauled out.  Sadly, there was much more litter there but at least this much is no more.

[  0.00]  Take the yellow-blazed Timberbrook Trail from the parking lot
[  0.45]  Cross over woods road
[  0.75]  Yellow trail ends at the white-blazed Four Birds Trail, turn right and follow white
[  1.05]  Cross woods road
[  1.55]  Rock hop over creek
[  2.30]  Turn right on unmarked woods road, then short distance ahead left on less defined woods road when more defined woods road goes right (or stay on white-blazed trail and pick up from 2.95 mile point)
[  2.55]  Turn left on red-blazed trail (Horseback Riders Will Be Prosecuted sign on right)
[  2.85]  Triple red blaze does not indicate end of trail rather that you can go either way around tree, continue on red
[  2.95]  Turn right as red joins in on white-blazed Four Birds Trail
[  3.00]  Keep straight on white (footpath) as red leaves left on woods road that crosses over
[  3.90]  At triple orange blaze on right, turn left on orange (blazes faded and sometimes hard to see)
[  3.95]  Orange comes out on woods road and is easier to follow
[  4.05]  When orange turns left, turn right on unmarked to views of Splitrock Reservoir; retrace
[  4.15]  Continue on orange after views
[  4.50]  Rock hop over swamp
[  4.70]  Watch for left turn through washed out, eroded area that leads to a campsite - if you to up and short hill and come out on a woods road, you missed the turn - orange hugs the reservoir so keep right and ignore woods road branching off to the left
[  5.30]  Orange trail veers left away from reservoir and crosses woods road
[  5.40]  Turn left on orange as blue joins in from right
[  5.45]  Left on blue when orange leaves to the right
[  5.65]  Indian Cliffs
[  5.90]  Cross woods road
[  6.10]  Views of Misty Pond
[  6.25]  Blue ends; turn right on the white-blazed Four Birds Trail
[  6.55]  Cross woods road (this was woods road taken to red trail earlier)
[  7.30]  Rock hop over creek
[  7.80]  Turn left on woods road (or stay on white to left on yellow which is a prettier way and 1/4 mile longer - woods road has lots of litter and is not very attractive)
[  8.60]  Back at parking lot


  1. What an adorable little Cattle Dog!! Glad you posted her. She can't go hiking??

    1. Thanks, Elsie. Kind of a long story about her, there goes. I pulled Sydney from the Newark, NJ animal shelter about 6 years ago with the intention of fostering her and placing her for adoption. She had an atrophied hind leg and it was obvious she had had many, many litters of puppies. Turns out she had a broken hip (hence the shriveled up leg), a cancerous mammary tumor (which was caught early and had not spread), heartworm, four broken canine teeth and every intestinal worm a dog can have. She had 3 surgeries over a period of 6 weeks and then 3 months of physical therapy to build up her bad leg and learn how to use it again. She has root canals in her canine teeth so if they look odd in the picture, that is why. Although she was good as new once fixed up (and spayed, of course) nobody wanted to adopt her because they were afraid of health problems which was silly because like I said, she was completely fixed up. So she ended up staying and has not had a sick day in the 6 years she has been here. She has to be around 10-12 years old now and she has not aged one bit. She walks beautifully with her leg but she only wants to walk about a mile, two miles tops, then she will lay down and go belly up and there is no moving her. So a hiking dog she is not and she just walks short distances locally. She is happy to stay home with the third dog, Dixie, a retired hiking dog, and hold down the fort while Shawnee is off hiking with me.


    2. Daniela

      I can't believe this - I remember this dog being on Petfinder!! I remember her vividly as she had SUCH a sad story, and they had mentioned that she was the sweetest natured dog ever too. I was just heartsick at her story and really wanted to consider taking her, but I also have a female cattle dog who is NOT partial to other dogs - especially females!! I am amazed to come across her again, and am so happy she is in a great home and doing well!! Bless you for taking her and giving her a good life, she looks so adorable and happy.

      Lesley (and Elsie- the cattle dog in the picture :))

    3. Lesley (and Elsie, sorry, LOL)!

      Oh my gosh, that is AMAZING that you know of her and remember her! And yes, at the time I wanted to place her as an only dog because Sydney, also, can be persnickety with other dogs although she has gotten so much better about it. She didn't have a choice living here when I was fostering because strange dogs were coming and going all the time. I remember it took her 3 days to like Shawnee and Dixie early on then it got to the point where 5 minutes of visiting through a baby gate was all she needed to like a newcomer and once she gives the paws up, she's good and I don't have to worry about any attitude. It was a fear thing with her. But yes, she is very happy now and lives the good life, as they all should!


    4. makes my YEAR to heat this!!
      We were petty sure Elsie was going to have to be an only dog too, but she finally found her soul mate in a kindly hound boy, who is a zero on the reactivity scale, so made the perfect companion for her.
      Girl cattle dogs are NOT like potato chips ..LOL, you cannot have more than one of those!!

      Happy Hiking
      Lesley and Elsie