Sunday, September 29, 2013

Long Pond Ironworks State Park, NJ - Monks Mountain and Highlands Meadow

Long Pond Ironworks State Park, NJ - NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Highlands Meadow - The Passaic River Coalition

GPS Coordinates 41.127107, -74.301432

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North Jersey Trails Map 115 - New York New Jersey Trail Conference
Highlands Meadow Trail Guide - Passaic River Coalition

Long Pond Ironworks State Park, NJ - Monks Mountain at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE:  5.2 miles

I had intended to hike Horse Pond Mountain in Long Pond Ironworks State Park but upon arrival at the Lake Riconda Drive parking area, found a sign that said the trails were closed due to pipeline construction.  It wasn't until I arrived home and researched the trail closing (which I had not heard of previously) that I found the Monks Trail (this hike) was closed, too, but there were no signs.  Do check on the park's web site before heading out to this area.  Although the hike is beautiful, the loud clanging and banging of pipeline construction (they work on Sundays, too) is quite annoying.
Early morning view of Monksville Reservoir from the boat launch.
Facing the far end of the parking lot with the boat launch on your left, a small opening in the far right corner of the lot leads to the trails.  A few steps in the trail forks.
To the left is the Rocky Beach Trail (a new trail with a temporary sign?).  It appears to only go a short distance to the water.
View of Harrison Mountain (left) and Horse Pond Mountain (right) from the Rocky Beach Trail.
Back at the fork, the right trail (unmarked) leads to the white-blazed Monks Trail.
A left turn on the white trail leads to the blue-on-white trail to views.  (This trail is not shown as blazed on the map.)
Views at the end of the short blue-on-white trail.
Fall Flowers
The white-blazed Monks Trail.
A very colorful vegetation tunnel through the power cut.
An unmarked side trail to the left leaving the white trail crosses a woods road and leads to ...
Monksville Reservoir views.
Retracing to the woods road and turning right leads to ...
More water views.
It's a great break spot where you can watch boats go by.
A Monksville Reservoir resident.
Leaving the white trail again on a woods road uphill to the summit of Monks Mountain.
A right fork leads to a view in a power cut but beyond that the trail was too overgrown.
Retracing back and taking the left fork leads to ...
Views in the pipeline cut.
And the construction in progress over where we had originally intended to hike.
We climbed on up to the summit in the pipeline cut but not much of a view on the other side.
Coming back down through the pipeline cut and ...
back down on the same woods road to continue on ...
the white-blazed Monks Trail where there are a couple more opportunities for water views.
A very large single-parent swan family out for a Sunday swim.
The white trail begins and ends at the North Boat Launch where it crosses over a gravel road.
A left turn on the yellow trail begins the outer loop (there is an inner loop also) around Highlands Meadows.
A small corn field.
Back at the Rocky Beach Trail you can turn left to get back to the parking lot.

[  0.00]  Pick up unmarked trail at for right corner of parking lot, at fork keep left on Rocky Beach Trail to reservoir; retrace
[  0.15]  Back at fork, continue on unmarked towards the white-blazed trail
[  0.50]  Left on blue-on-white
[  0.55]  End of blue-on-white trail at views; retrace
[  0.60]  Left on white
[  1.20]  Left on unmarked just after passing through power cut; cross woods road 
[  1.25]  Views at reservoir; retrace
[  1.30]  Right on unmarked woods road
[  1.80]  Views at reservoir at end of woods road; retrace
[  2.40]  Right on unmarked trail taken previously then left on white
[  2.50]  Turn right on unmarked woods road
[  2.55]  Left at fork (right goes to power cut but trail ends in overgrowth)
[  2.70]  Left at fork (right goes to power cut)
[  2.75]  Views in pipeline cut; right in pipeline cut
[  2.85]  Summit of Monks Mountain; retrace
[  2.95]  Left on unmarked woods road (same as entry to pipeline cut
[  3.00]  Right at fork
[  3.20]  Right at fork
[  3.25]  Right on white
[  3.65]  Cross woods road where white begins and ends with parking lot on left
[  3.95]  Straight on white when green goes left
[  4.50]  Left on yellow
[  4.60]  Left on outer loop of yellow trail when inner loop goes right
[  4.85]  Left on outer loop of yellow trail when inner loop goes straight
[  4.90]  Left on white when yellow joins with white to the right
[  5.05]  Left on unmarked
[  5.10]  At intersection straight on Rocky Beach Trail when parking lot is to the left
[  5.15]  Left at reservoir to follow trail back to parking lot
[  5.20]  Back at parking lot

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Old Bridge Waterfront Park, NJ

Old Bridge Waterfront Park - Middlesex County Parks and Recreation

GPS Coordinates 40.461628, -74.254531

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It's not easy to get to and my GPS was all kinds of confused so I'm afraid I can't give any good directions.  All I can tell you is heading north on Route 35, you want to exit where it's just a small road veering off to the right, no exit signs, no signs at all, and that takes you directly to the parking lot.  If you get off at the marked exit just a short distance beyond that, you overshot it and have to loop back around.

Old Bridge Waterfront Park, NJ at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE:  2.9 miles total out and back

I had to be in Aberdeen for a couple of hours early in the morning so Shawnee waited patiently in the car (it was very cool out and I could see her at all times) then we went to check out Old Bridge Waterfront Park to see if it was possible to walk the entire length after Hurricane Sandy from almost a year ago.
From the parking lot veer right towards the building then turn left through the center walkway with the Old Bridge Police on the left and restrooms on the right.
Straight ahead leads to views of the Raritan Bay.
A right turn after exiting the walkway leads to the paved path.
The paved path becomes a boardwalk.
Raritan Bay from the boardwalk.
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
The boardwalk comes to an abrupt end compliments of Sandy.
Backtrack to the sand path near the pier and take that to continue on.
Remnants of the boardwalk.
The sand path comes out at another parking lot on the right where a paved path continues on past a playground and through ...
... a fenced off lead contaminated area.
Yet people are on the other side of the fence fishing WITH THEIR CHILDREN!  Unbelievable!
The paved path leads to a boardwalk ...
... over Marquis Creek.
When the boardwalk ends at another sand path, things become trashy and there are more EPA warning signs but no fencing so this was a good point to turn around.  A path is supposed to continue on to the Monmouth County line someday but with all of the Sandy damage to be repaired, can't see that happening anytime soon.
Probably a feral cat - saw a few of them.
A herd of Brown-headed Cowbirds.
Route 35 Victory Bridge
First pier on the way back.
Views from the pier.
The third pier on the way back.
Back at the parking lot.