Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve, NJ

Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve - Borough of Franklin Lakes

GPS Coordinates 40.975767, -74.195462

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Franklin Lakes Nature Preserve - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Note:  The blue-blazed trail does not span across the lake as shown on the map.  It currently consists of two separate sections that do not connect.

HIKE DISTANCE:  2.3 miles

Facing the lake there is a kiosk on the right...
Turn left and cross the dam to start the hike on the white-blazed trail.
White-blazed trail around the lake.
A Red-winged Blackbird seen from the dam.
Part of the trail runs along a chain link fence between the lake and the road...
... but focusing on what is in the water drowns out the traffic noise.
Franklin Lake from the High Mountain Road side.
Irises along the lake.
Leave the trail briefly through an opening in the fence to cross on the road bridge, then reenter at the next fence opening.
After reentering through the fence opening, turn right on the blue-blazed trail for a short out-and-back.
High Mountain on the other side of the lake from the blue-blazed trail.
Back on the white-blazed trail, a rock hop over a creek.
When Dan Balogh did this hike on April 15, 2012, there were Canada goose nests with eggs.  I saw no goslings at all.  It is supposed to take 56 days for goslings to attain full plumage but it has only been 38 days since they were eggs - could they be this big already?
Another section of blue-blazed trail.
High Mountain from the blue-blazed trail.
Pine trees near the end of the white-blazed trail.
Picnic tables in a pretty pine area along the lake.
Watched the swan family from the picnic table.
After the children were tucked away with one parent, the other came back out and put on quite a show.

[  0.00]  Facing lake turn left and cross dam on white-blazed trail
[  0.75]  Leave trail to left through break in fence to cross bridge
[  0.80]  Reenter trail to right through fence opening on the other side of the bridge; turn right on blue-blazed trail
[  0.95]  End of blue-blazed trail; retrace
[  1.15]  Turn right on white at end of blue trail
[  1.25]  Rock hop over creek
[  1.55]  Turn right on blue-blazed trail
[  1.75]  End of blue-blazed trail; retrace
[  1.95]  Turn right on white when blue-blazed trail ends
[  2.30]  Picnic tables; back at parking lot

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sourland Mountain Preserve, Somerset County, NJ

Sourland Mountain Preserve - Somerset County Park Commission

GPS Coordinates 40.473853, -74.693961

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Large parking lot at 7 am on a holiday.
Parking lot at 11 am on the same day.

Sourland Mountain Preserve - Somerset County Park Commission
Numbered posts along trail correspond with numbers on the map.
The map does not show how the trails are marked:
  • Ridge Trail = white square markers
  • Maple Flats = white triangle markers
  • Pondside Trail = white circle markers
  • Roaring Brook Trail = red circle markers
  • Connector Trails = white circle markers with black "C"

HIKE DISTANCE:  5.85 miles

With the pond on your left, turn right towards the kiosk...
... and follow the combined white square/white triangle/white circle trail.  Stay on white square when the others leave to the left over a bridge.
Connector trail marker.
Devil's Half Acre Boulders
More Devil's Half Acres
Red circle-blazed Roaring Brook Trail
Pipeline crossing
Roaring Brook Trail
Roaring Brook
Huge pile of rocks at post #7
Sign on dilapidated chain link fence - have to turn around after passing through fence to see it.
A bird nest off the trail.
Several bridges and boardwalks through swampy areas.
But still lots of mud to walk through.
Coming up on the pond at the end of the hike.
A turtle swimming in the pond.
One more gosling picture - they were too darned cute.

[  0.00]  Take the white square/white triangle/white circle trail from the kiosk
[  0.25]  At post #1 keep straight on white square when white triangle and white circle go left over the bridge
[  0.50]  Keep right on white square when connector trail goes left
[  0.70]  Start of Devil's Half Acre Boulders
[  1.00]  Keep right on white square when connector trail goes left coming out of Devil's Half Acre
[  1.75]  Keep right on white square at post #4 when connector trail goes left
[  1.80]  Turn right on red circle when white square goes left
[  2.15]  Go through opening in chain link fence
[  2.25]  Cross pipeline clearing
[  3.15]  Keep right on red circle when connector trail goes left
[  3.45]  Roaring Rocks Boulders
[  3.50]  Red circle trail ends at white square trail, turn right on white square
[  3.60]  At post #7 keep right on white square when connector trail goes left
[  3.85]  At post #8 keep right on white square when connector trail goes left, go through open gate at chain link fence with 3M property sign facing the other way
[  4.15]  Cross boardwalk; there will be several more boardwalks along this final stretch
[  4.45]  At post #9 keep straight on white square when connector trail goes left and unmarked goes right
[  4.95]  Rock hop creek flowing across trail
[  5.05]  At post #10 keep right on white square when white triangle joins in from the left
[  5.50]  Cross pipeline clearing at post #11
[  5.60]  At post #12 turn right on white square/white triangle/white circle
[  5.75]  Turn right at pond to circle around pond
[  5.85]  Back at parking lot

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Appalachian Trail, NY - Eastern Pinnacles, Cat Rocks, Fitzgerald Falls

Hiking the AT in NY and NJ - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Terrain by Region: New York - Appalachian Trail Conservancy

GPS Coordinates 41.244104, -74.286587

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(Heading West) There is an island between Continental Lane (left) and Route 17A (right) where there are a few parking spots along Continental Lane and also opposite the hot dog stand in the island.
Parking in island at opposite end of hot dog stand.

Sterling Forest Trails Map 100 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Note:  Map does not show blue-blazed bypass trails that are used in this hike.

To Fitzgerald Falls and back - 8.25 miles
To Highlands Trail viewpoint and back - 10.65 miles

APPALACHIAN TRAIL SECTION HIKING: - AT section miles 1354.3 to 1359.3

Start the hike by turning right from the parking area and walking along Route 17A.  It's not that far but if you watch for a faint path into the woods on the left you can cut the road walk short.  Follow that path to the blue-blazed trail, turn right and then left when the blue trail ends and you meet up with the white-blazed Appalachian Trail.
Mountain laurel in bloom along the trail.
Cat Rocks
Blooming mountain laurel.
Crossing Lakes Road to Fitzgerald Falls.
Through a power cut with dense vegetation.
Bridge over Trout Brook
Fitzgerald Falls - the AT ascends steeply to the right of the falls.
Looking back down the steep ascent.
Smaller cascades at the top.
Trail register where the AT turns left and the Highland Trails turns right; go right on the Highlands Trail following the blue blazes a short distance to a view which is the turn around point for this hike.
There is more to see from this viewpoint but it was a very humid and hazy day so visibility was poor.
The blue-blazed bypass trail around Fitzgerald Falls - a very pleasant trail as an alternative to making the steep descent along the falls.
After crossing Lakes Road, it's a climb back up to the ridge with lots of water breaks on this hot and humid day.
Taking the blue bypass trail around Cat Rocks on the way back to conserve energy for the Eastern Pinnacles which we bypassed on the way out because of thick fog and wet, slippery rock surfaces.
Lots of mountain laurel on the blue bypass trail around Cat Rocks.
Ascending Eastern Pinnacles.  There are two blue-blazed bypass trails, one before the rock scramble up and another after climbing up so you have an out if you need it.  I found Cat Rocks to be a more vertical scramble but shorter than Eastern Pinnacles.
New north from Eastern Pinnacles, again with poor visibility on a hazy and humid day.  You can see Cat Rocks on the left, zoomed in, below.
Cat Rocks from Eastern Pinnacle - you can see the white AT blaze on the right side of the rocks towards the top.
Heading south over Eastern Pinnacles.
Viewing platform at the end of the blue-blazed trail near Route 17A.
Another hazy view from the platform.
Somebody was very happy there was a hot dog stand in the parking lot.

[  0.00]  Turn right from parking lot and walk along Route 17A
[  0.10]  Turn left on faint path into woods (or continue on Route 17A until AT turns left into woods)
[  0.15]  Turn right on blue-blazed trail
[  0.20]  Blue trail ends, turn left on white-blazed Appalachian Trail
[  0.75]  Rock hop creek then cross pipeline
[  1.30]  Left on blue-blazed bypass trail when AT goes right to Eastern Pinnacles
[  1.50]  Blue bypass trail ends, continue on white-blazed AT
[  1.80]  Stay left on white-blazed AT to ascend Cat Rocks when blue bypass trail goes right
[  1.85]  After descending Cat Rocks, continue on AT when blue bypass trail comes in from right
[  2.10]  Keep straight on AT when blue side trail to left leads to Wildcat Shelter
[  2.15]  Other end of blue trail from shelter comes in to the left
[  2.95]  Right at fork
[  3.45]  Left at fork
[  3.50]  Unmarked trail crosses over
[  3.65]  Cross paved Lakes Road
[  3.70]  Cross power cut then bridge over Trout Brook
[  3.85]  Keep right on AT when blue-blazed trail goes left (Falls bypass trail for return route)
[  3.95]  Fitzgerald Falls, AT continues on steep ascent along right side of falls
[  4.05]  Rock hop to left over creek, keep right on AT when blue bypass trail goes left (or turn left on blue for 8.3 mile hike)
[  4.15]  Cross woods road
[  5.10]  Trail register; AT goes left, turn right on Highlands Trail following blue blazes
[  5.15]  Views; retrace
[  5.20]  Left on AT at trail register for return route
[  6.25]  Cross woods road
[  6.35]  Right on blue bypass trail when AT turns left and crosses creek
[  6.65]  Turn right on Appalachian Trail when blue ends
[  6.80]  Cross bridge over Trout Brook then pass through power cut
[  6.85]  Cross paved Lakes Road
[  8.30]  Keep straight on AT when blue trail to shelter goes right
[  8.65]  Turn left on blue bypass trail with AT goes right up Cat Rocks
[  8.70]  Blue trail ends, continue on AT
[  9.00]  Keep left on AT and ascent Eastern Pinnacles when blue-blazed bypass trail goes right
[  9.10]  Second bypass option at blue blaze painted on rock to the right
[  9.15]  Other end of second blue bypass trail comes in on the right
[  9.20]  Other end of first blue bypass trail comes in on the right
[  9.70]  Cross pipeline then rock hop creek
[10.25]  Straight on blue when AT turns left to Route 17A
[10.30]  Straight on blue when side path to left leads to Route 17A
[10.45]  Overlook deck; retrace
[10.55]  Turn right on side path to Route 17A, turn right on Route 17A back to parking
[10.65]  Back at parking