Friday, August 30, 2013

Watchung Reservation, NJ - Blue Brook


ABOUT THE PARK:
Watchung Reservation - Union County, NJ

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates for Sky Top Picnic Area:  40.670467, -74.393181

View Larger Map
Parking along both sides of Sky Top Drive.

TRAIL MAP:  
Watchung Reservation Trail Map - County of Union, NJ
Watchung Reservation, NJ - Blue Brook at EveryTrail


HIKE DISTANCE:
3.75 miles

THE HIKE:
The white-blazed trail goes into the woods around the porta potty.
A molting cardinal on the picnic table.
The white-blazed trail enters the woods.
Passing through a pretty pine area.
An unmarked trail comes to a bridge over Blue Brook.
On combined white and pink ...
then leaving white when pink splits to the right to ...
Hermit Pond
The pink trail then follows closely along Blue Brook.
Ruins of Feltville Mill.
Deserted Village of Feltville up above.
When pink crosses over a bridge to the right, an unmarked trail continues along Blue Brook.
Back on white briefly ...
before crossing the spillway (currently dry) at Lake Surprise.
Lake Surprise from the spillway.
White Baneberry
On the blue-blazed trail to ...
another unmarked trail on the other side of Blue Brook.
The trail crosses over Blue Brook on a rock hop to loop around and repeat part of the unmarked trail from earlier back to the bridge below Feltville.
Just the other side of the bridge an unmarked trail goes steeply up ...
the Gorge ...
and meets back up with the white trail.
A tunnel through Sandy blowdowns.
Back at Sky Top Picnic Area.

HIKE SUMMARY:
[  0.00]  Take the white-blazed trail to the left of the picnic pavillion
[  0.10]  Stay right on white at the fork
[  0.35]  Keep right on white when a trail also goes left then after a few steps turn left on unmarked when white continues straight
[  0.50]  Keep straight when pink starts at Drake Farmhouse ruins; straight when boardwalk goes left
[  0.55]  Turn right on white/pink
[  0.85]  Turn right on pink when white goes straight
[  0.95]  Short side trail on right to Hermit's Pond
[  1.05]  Trail goes left along Blue Brook
[  1.35]  Pass Feltville Mill ruins; Deserted Village of Feltville up above to the left
[  1.40]  Keep straight when bridge goes right and another trail goes uphill to the left
[  1.55]  Go uphill to the left towards ruins when trail fizzles out, then right on upper level trail before log steps
[  1.90]  Left at T-intersection with bridge on right; after a few steps turn right on white
[  2.10]  Turn right at dam and if dry, cross over
[  2.15]  Turn right other side of dam
[  2.25]  Turn left at T-intersection then keep right at fork on blue; keep right on unmarked at next fork
[  2.35]  Keep right on trail coming in from the left (not all of these trails are on the map but was keeping along the brook as much as possible)
[  2.40]  Keep right towards Blue Brook when blue continues straight
[  2.50]  Keep right on blue as it comes in from the left; after few steps, straight on white when blue leaves left
[  2.60]  Keep right downhill on unmarked when white forks to the left
[  2.70]  Rock hop over Blue Brook when trail ends and continue left on other side
[  2.80]  Turn left and cross bridge; at fork keep left uphill
[  2.90]  Keep left at fork at top of ascent
[  2.95]  Turn right at T-intersection on white
[  3.05]  Right on white at next T-intersection
[  3.25]  Cross over unmarked trail
[  3.60]  Turn left on unmarked when white goes straight
[  3.75]  Back at parking

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Schooleys Mountain County Park, NJ


ABOUT THE PARK:
Schooley's Mountain County Park - Morris County Park Commission

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 40.794731, -74.770254

View Larger Map
Parking lot at the Langdon Palmer Fishing Access Area on Fairview Avenue.

TRAIL MAP:
Schooley's Mountain County Park Trail Maps - Morris County Parks Commission

Schooley's Mountain County Park, NJ at EveryTrail


HIKE DISTANCE:  5.7 miles

THE HIKE:
Sunrise and fog at the parking area.  The path behind the kiosk leads to the Columbia Trail.
And an amazing view of the moon above.
Cross Fairview Avenue at the crosswalk to the "Patriot's Path" sign.
The combined white-blazed Patriot's Path and teal-blazed Highland's Trail turn left, the unmarked Bee-Line Trail is to the right.
Morning sunshine through the trees on the Bee-Line Trail.
The yellow-blazed Grand Loop Trail.
Intersection of the Grand Loop Trail and Highland Cut Trail.
Meadow Trails (not on map but northwest of the Upland Meadow Trail)
Exiting the Meadow Trails ...
and proceeding across the play field to ...
Lake George.
Broken floating bridge (closed).
Lake George from the dam.
Bridge over dam outlet.
Meadow trails lead to East Springtown Road.  A right turn and short road walk lead to the continuation of the Patriot's Path on the left.
A bridge tossed to the side crossing nothing.
Another bridge isn't quite long enough.
There is detour to the left of the bridge via a rock hop.
Electric Brook
Colorful wildflower, butterflies and birds along the meadow trails.
A boardwalk around the bridge to nowhere from earlier.
Back at the park on the Patriot's Path/Highland Trail
Approaching Lake George the same way as before.
The blue-blazed Falling Waters Trail starts near the dam at the far end of the lake.
The trail starts out smooth ...
but becomes more rugged.
A small cascade in Electric Brook.
The trail becomes rockier in the gorge.
The waterfalls become larger.
Views at the end of the Falling Waters Trail just before ...
meeting back up with the Patriot's Path/Highland Trail
Crossing Fairview Avenue back to the parking lot.
The last time we were at Schooley's Mountain was February 27, 2010.  The snow was between 10 and 15 inches deep.

HIKE SUMMARY:
[  0.00]  From parking lot cross Fairview Avenue on crosswalk at Patriot's Path sign; keep right on unmarked when Patriot's Path/Highland Trail goes left
[  0.20]  Keep right at fork on unmarked Bee-Line Trail
[  0.50]  Turn right at T-intersection on yellow-blazed Grand Loop Trail
[  0.85]  Straight on yellow at cairn when red-blazed Highland Cut goes left
[  0.95]  Yellow turns left when unmarked goes straight
[  1.35]  Looped around meadow trails
[  1.90]  Exit meadow trails to Play Field; continue straight across park road towards kiosk next to playground, continue towards Lake George
[  2.20]  Cross dam then take mowed paths to the right around Lake George
[  2.45]  Turn right on East Springtown Road
[  2.65]  Turn left through small parking lot to Patriot's Path/Highland Trail to left of Kiosk
[  3.10]  Turn right on unmarked and circle meadow
[  3.55]  Return to Patriot's Path/Highland Trail and retrace to East Springtown Road
[  4.05]  Turn left on Springtown Road, cross bridge, then turn right and cross at small building; continue on Patriot's Path/Highland Trail then leave to the right back to Lake George
[  4.45]  At dam take blue-blazed Falling Waters Trail straight ahead
[  5.05]  Overlook at end of blue trail; continue to the right to pick up white/teal Patriot's Path/Highland Trail
[  5.20]  Stay on white/teal when the Boulder Gorge Trail starts to the right
[  5.65]  Keep right on white/teal and cross Fairview Road
[  5.70]  Back at parking lot