Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ramapo Valley County Reservation, NJ

Ramapo Valley County Reservation - Bergen County Parks

GPS Coordinates 41.077826, -74.187197

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North Jersey Trails Map 115 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Ramapo Valley County Reservation Trail Map (free map) - New York New Jersey Trail Conference

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.8 miles

With your back to the road, head towards the kiosk at the far left corner of the lot and take the orange/silver trail.
Cross the bridge over...
... the Ramapo River then turn left following the orange trail.
The orange trail follows along the bank of the Ramapo River before going through a flooded/swampy area.
Crossing on a pile of sticks - it actually worked pretty well.
The trail returns to higher and drier ground and because nobody else had walked on the fresh snow I was able to follow what I am pretty sure are fox prints.
The fox had walked very nicely on the orange trail, across the bridge ...
... and along the ruins before eventually leaving the trail into the woods.
Fox Paw ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Shawnee Paw
The trail ascends along pretty cascades and waterfalls.
Paved road to...
MacMillan Reservoir
Christmas Day snow ...
... on the red Marsh Loop Trail.
It was all pretty much a sloppy muddy mess at the end of the hike but early on the light coating of snow was simply gorgeous.
All but maybe 1 mile of this route had been cleared of blowdowns and those still down were not that hard to navigate around.
Heading to the top of that mountain on the Silver-Yellow Trail.
More ruins off of the trail.
The first time a bridge spans Swamp Brook on a road but later on it is crossed again on rocks.
More fox prints and all the little dots are from snow falling off of the trees - it was like rain for a while.
I am thinking maybe mouse tracks - there were several sets all over this area so apparently the mice has a Christmas gathering.
Finishing the climb up the mountain on the yellow trail.
At the overlook.
New York City skyline in the distant haze.
Continuing on orange/yellow along the ridge.
This was the first and worst  jumble of blowdowns right when the trail starts to descend. 
Log cabin ruins next to a creek.
Rock hop over creek.
Lots of pretty creeks to cross in the woods.
Back at MacMillan Reservoir, it is early afternoon and getting crowded.
The snow had almost all melted heading to Scarlet Oak Pond.
Scarlet Oak Pond

[  0.00]  With back to road, head towards kiosk on the left for the start of the orange and silver trails
[  0.15]  Cross bridge over Ramapo River then turn left on orange when silver continues straight
[  0.60]  Cross bridge where green on white starts, continue on orange towards ruins
[  0.90]  Follow orange as it joins road and crosses old stone bridge when silver goes to the right
[  1.10]  MacMillan Reservoir; continue straight on orange when yellow-silver goes left
[  1.45]  Turn left on red-blazed Marsh Loop
[  1.75]  Red ends, turn right on yellow-silver
[  2.25]  Rock hop creek
[  2.40]  Rock hop creek
[  2.55]  Ruins on left; trail joins paved road and crosses Swamp Brook on bridge, when road veers left, leave road on orange to the right
[  2.70]  Rock hop creek
[  2.80]  Rock hop creek
[  2.90]  At T-intersection turn right on yellow-silver when unmarked goes left
[  3.80]  At intersection with old rusty fire tower ruins, turn right on yellow when yellow-silver goes left towards bridge
[  4.05]  Views were orange joins in from left; continue following combined yellow/orange
[  4.15]  Keep straight on yellow/orange when green starts to the left
[  4.55]  Turn right on orange when yellow continues straight; rock hop creek
[  4.65]  Old log cabin, rock hop creek
[  4.95]  Trail turns right on paved road and crosses bridge, cross another paved road at intersection and continue on orange as it leaves paved road uphill into woods
[  5.65]  Rock hop creek
[  6.10]  Right on orange when red-silver goes left
[  6.25]  Straight on orange when blue starts on the left
[  6.40]  Straight on orange when red starts on the right
[  6.75]  MacMillan Reservoir; continue straight on orange
[  6.95]  Keep straight on silver when orange leaves to the right
[  7.10]  Right on silver when blue starts on the left
[  7.40]  Scarlet Oak Lake
[  7.70]  Orange joins in from the right, cross bridge over Ramapo River
[  7.80]  Back at parking lot

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Martins Creek Environmental Preserve, PA - Tekening and LMBT Trails

Martins Creek Environmental Preserve is now apparently CLOSED

Martins Creek Environmental Preserve - PPL Corporation

GPS Coordinates 40.825970, -75.087597

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Parking lot at Lower Mount Bethel Township Recreaction Fields

Martin's Creek Preserve Trail Map - PPL Corporation (only shows Tekening Trails, not LMBT Trails)
The map at the kiosk shows all of the trail but is not completely accurate.

HIKE DISTANCE:  10 miles

From the far end of the parking lot take the trail (left), which is the Lower Meadow Trail (no sign), past the wetlands (center) and around to the kiosk (right).
Shortly after the kiosk take the PPL Tekening Blue Trail.
This part of the blue trail had been nicely cleared of Sandy blowdowns.
The blue trail starts to follow along the Delaware River and the dark blue painted blazes become...

... light blue diamond markers.
A nice sturdy bridge along the way.
The Delaware River early on a cold, windy morning.
Turn off on the orange trail to leave the rest of the blue trail (the best part) for last.
The only problem with that is the orange trail has quite a few blowdowns blocking the trail although they can all be navigated without too much difficulty.
Pay no attention to that - it is not the wrong way.
On the red trail many of the trees have name tags.
A short side trail leads to a vernal pool.
Just about the time you start hearing chickens and roosters and see sheep off to the left, a huge blowdown blocks the red trail.  A few steps to the left of the blowdown ...
... and you come out on a drive that leads to where the red trail starts ...
... across the street from ...
... the PPL power plant.
All of those NO HUNTING signs along the way... they are wrong apparently. This was in the kiosk at this southern parking lot.
There is a large parking lot and off to the left...
... the LMBT Trail which is shown as yellow on the kiosk map but is not blazed at all.
The LMBT Trail starts between the road and farm fields with lots of pylons emanating from the power company.
The trail descends to Oughoughton Creek with stepping stones for crossing.  This is what is referred to as "the ford" in the kiosk information. 
With the water at this level, it flows over the stepping stones.  I had waterproof hiking shoes on and did not get wet.
The trail then follows over sections of boardwalk along a secondary creek on the right.
After these posts the trail follows closely along busy roads and is more suited to biking than hiking.
Some things I saw along the road portion...
These signs are everywhere.
Back at the parking lot, take the red trail where it starts at the kiosk.  It's easier to work around that massive blowdown going in this direction.  That red building in the distance is where the chickens and sheep are.
Turn right on the blue trail when it crosses over.  (A yellow trail to the left and the blue trail to the left are completely impassible due to the massive blowdowns.)
This part of the blue trail is pretty rugged.
Soon the blue trail starts to follow along the scenic Delaware River.
Eastern Bluebird
A deck for scenic viewing and ...
... having a snack.

Downy Woodpecker
A bug on a freezing cold windy day in December?
American Kestrel
On the Lower Meadow Trail

[  0.00]  Take the trail from the far end of the parking lot at the wetlands
[  0.05]  Keep right at fork towards kiosk
[  0.15]  At top of steep climb keep straight on PPL blue trail when paved trail to visitor center goes right
[  0.20]  Keep left on blue when right goes to the PPL north parking area
[  0.40]  Keep left on blue when right goes to the PPL north parking area; blazes change from dark blue paint to light blue plastic diamonds
[  0.70]  Cross bridge
[  0.95]  Turn right on orange when blue continues straight
[  1.00]  At top of climb keep left on orange when orange also goes right
[  1.20]  Tree with "wrong way" painted on it; keep straight on orange
[  1.35]  At T-intersection turn right on red when red also goes left
[  1.60]  Tree identification signs start
[  1.75]  Keep straight when yellow comes in from the right (faint trail, no markers but it is the yellow trail, not passable due to massive blowdowns)
[  1.80]  Keep straight on red when blue crosses over (blue to the right is also not passable at this time due to massive blowdowns)
[  1.85]  Short side trail on right to vernal pool; small farm with goats and chickens through woods on left
[  2.00]  If the red trail is obstructed by blowdowns, go to the left of the blowdown a short distance to a gravel drive, turn right and walk on gravel drive (did not notice any no trespassing signs)
[  2.10]  Turn right on paved road to the beginning of the red trail at the kiosk on the right; continue to parking lot
[  2.15]  Enter parking lot and turn left to the LMBT Trail
[  2.55]  Turn left and cross DePues Ferry Road on crosswalk
[  3.10]  Trail descends through pipeline cut to Oughoughton Creek
[  3.20]  Cross creek on stepping stones that might be under water; cross bridge; continue through area with intermittent boardwalks
[  3.50]  Trail continues beyond posts and runs along Martins Creek-Belvidere Highway
[  4.15]  Trail turns left and follows Del Haven Road
[  4.55]  Trail appears to end after section of pretty pine trees - it apparently continues on to athletic fields but I could not see the continuation and turned around at this point
[  5.60]  Trail leaves Martins Creek-Belvidere Highway between posts and crosses intermittent boardwalks
[  5.90]  Cross bridge then stepping stones over Oughoughton Creek
[  6.90]  Back at PPL parking lot, take the red trail at the kiosk (easier to work through blowdowns in this direction)
[  7.15]  Keep straight on red when yellow goes left, just after this intersection is the blowdown that had to be bypassed earlier, work around to other side and stay on red
[  7.20]  Trail to vernal pool on left, straight on red
[  7.25]  Turn right on blue when red goes straight
[  7.45]  Keep straight on blue when red leaves to left
[  7.80]  Overlook deck
[  8.15]  Straight on blue when orange goes left
[  8.25]  Cross bridge
[  8.70]  Keep right at fork, blazes change from light blue diamonds to dark blue paint
[  8.90]  Keep straight on blue when left goes to PPL north parking lot
[  8.95]  Straight on paved trail towards visitor's center when Lower Meadow Trail goes right, continue following path around past visitor center and across parking lot
[  9.35]  Mowed path on left goes to dilapidated house at the river; return and continue following trail around recreation fields and meadow
[10.00]  Back at parking lot