Monday, January 20, 2014

Duke Island Park, NJ

Duke Island Park - Somerset County Park Commission

GPS Coordinates to Parking Lot B 40.551174, -74.666689

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Parking Lot B

Duke Island Park Map - Somerset County Park Commission
Duke Island Park, NJ at EveryTrail


From the parking lot cross the park road at the crosswalk on the left side of the Visitor Center.
Then turn left on the Canal Trail - this is looking back at the Visitor Center from the Canal Trail.
The Canal Trail is between the Raritan Power Canal on the right and the paved Bikeway on the left.
Some recent beaver activity along the canal.
There must be a bluejay smorgasbord along this trail - have never seen so many at one time - 5 in this one picture!
Promised her an easier hike this time and this is about as easy as it gets.
The dirt Canal Trail merges into the paved Bikeway ...
... and passes a dam.
When the Bikeway ends at a parking lot, you can continue up the footpath on the hill ...
... for some views of the Raritan River from up above before retracing.
Have never seen so many squirrels at one time either.  They are everywhere!
Looks like raccoon and deer tracks along the river.
More Canada geese on the ground and in the air than I have ever seen in one place also.
Raritan River
Canada geese on the ground and this is just one small group.
The Bikeway was heavily salted so we tried to stay on the grass.  Neither of us is big on walking on pavement anyway.
Red-bellied Woodpecker
The Bikeway starts to feel more remote once it enters the woods beyond the picnic areas.
That's where this guy was hanging out.
The Bikeway hits Robert Street where it continues to the right and ends at ...
... the Hibernia Mine Railroad Bridge over the Raritan Power Canal with the York Road parking lot on the other side.
Raritan Power Canal from the bridge.
Pick up the Canal Trail at the bridge to head back.
Beaver teeth chisel marks.
Our favorite part along the canal.  Everyone else was over on the paved Bikeway.  We had the Canal Trail all to ourselves.
Just us and the beavers.
The Canal Trail crosses over Robert Street and continues all the way back to the Visitor Center.
Some fake geese along the canal.
Duck Pond nearing the Visitor Center.
Back at the Visitor Center and Parking Lot B.

[  0.00]  Facing the Visitor Center from the parking lot, cross the park road on the crosswalk at the left side of the Visitor Center, follow paved path uphill then turn left on the dirt Canal Trail
[  0.75]  Keep right on paved Bikeway when the Canal Trail ends
[  1.00]  End of paved Bikeway, continue through parking lot to path to top of hill, retrace
[  1.35]  Keep right on paved Bikeway when the Canal Trail starts on the left
[  1.45]  Keep right at intersection
[  1.90]  Keep right at fork
[  2.15]  Keep right at fork and cross bridge
[  3.15]  Turn right on Robert Street and continue straight where Bikeway resumes at end of street
[  3.60]  End of Bikeway at bridge, turn left before bridge on dirt Canal Tail
[  4.15]  Cross Robert Street
[  4.50]  Duck Pond on left
[  4.75]  Cross park entrance road
[  4.90]  Back at Visitor Center/Parking Lot B

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NJ - Van Campens Glen

Millbrook Village - National Park Service
Van Campens Glen - National Park Service (Link no longer works and unable to find any additional NPS information at this time.)
NPS Closures - National Park Service (States dirt roadway closed from Millbrook Village to Watergate but did not find this to be closed at the time of this hike.  There was a power line closure before Watergate, detour described below.)
Tocks Island Dam Project - Wikipedia
DePue Burying Ground - Find A Grave
Susquehanna-Roseland Power Line Construction - New Jersey Herald

Millbrook Village Parking GPS Coordinates 41.073833, -74.963142

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Millbrook Village Parking

Southern Kittatinny Trail Map 121 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Delaware Water Gap NRA, NJ - Van Campens Glen at EveryTrail

8 miles - would be 7 miles without additional exploring along Delaware River

I did this hike in reverse on July 2, 2011.  A lot has changed since then and there is no accurate information online that I could find.  With power line construction through April 2014 things could change again from what I have shown here.

Walk out the parking lot drive near the restrooms, cross Millbrook-Flatbrook Road and take the woods road to ...
... the Orchard Trail.
Hairy Woodpecker
Lots of old stone walls along the Orchard Trail.
The Orchard Trail ends at the old paved Hamilton Ridge Trail.
The Hamilton Ridge Trail is supposed to be blazed blue but faded blue blazes are rare.  Just follow the old pavement.
Turn right on the orange-blazed Pioneer Trail.
An old lime kiln a few feet off of the trail on the right.
Nice winter views that you don't get in the summer.
Some roaring water heading down to the Delaware River through a beautiful gorge.  After 2 major snow storms then tropical thunderstorms since January 1, creeks were running at full blast.
The Pioneer Tail descends to follow the Delaware River from a level up.
There used to be a trail (shown on older maps) down to the river bank but I could not find it in the summer previously.  It is overgrown but possible to pick your way down in the winter.
Ice jams in the Delaware River.
Several campsites along the river.
We climbed up the very steep and slippery hill at the second campsite since there seemed to be a trail but after going in circles due to thorny overgrowth, ended up back at the same place.
Headed back along the top of what looks to be an old stone wall.  It was too steep and slippery to go back down to the river bank.
Back on the Pioneer Trail heading straight for construction in the power cut.
This part is open and you can cross over.
The Pioneer Trail continues on a gravel road coming in from the right.
There used to be old abandoned houses, old rusty vintage cars, all left behind during the Tocks Dam Project that never happened.  A year ago all of the abandoned houses were torn down and removed.
This is the exact same spot as it looks today versus how it looked on 7/2/11.
Another abandoned home.
Just before the gravel road turns left, look for a trail on the right to ...
The DePue Cemetery.  Older hike directions say to turn before a guardrail - that guardrail is now gone so you have to watch carefully for the path.
A short road walk on Old Mine Road to the Van Campens Picnic Area on the right - there used to be a sign but it is no longer there.
Unlocked and clean!  Hadn't expected that this time of year.
Head to the left opposite the restrooms towards the kiosk and pick up the yellow trail through Van Campens Glen.
This section required microspikes for me and assistance for Shawnee who kept sliding down on her rear end :(
A repurposed electrical line pole as a step
This whole section was slippery and wet and called for a break afterwards.
Some assistance needed to get up on the bridge.  She's turning 13 within the next month or two and this hike proved to be a bit too challenging for her now.
The raging water from the bridge.
Van Campens Falls - partially frozen but LOUD!

Looking back at the bridge from the top of the falls.
The trail ends at a paved path.  Turn left but there are no blazes.  After a short distance, just before the bridge, the trail leaves to the right where Shawnee is standing.  Again, no blazes.
If you continue on a few steps to the bridge first there is an old dam to the right.
Eventually the yellow blazes start up again.
But when you reach the power cut...
This is the part that is currently closed.
Turn left and cross the rickety bridge.
Hang a right on Old Mine Road to get through the closed power cut portion.
After a short distance turn right into Watergate.
Just follow the path as it parallels the power cut then veers left...
towards some beautiful pine trees...
under which you can stop to pay your respects to Bozo.
Several ponds along the way.
This is the part that is supposed to be closed but it is completely passable and there were no closed signs anywhere.
Just this fencing at the end which was open.
Entering Millbrook Village.
Continue through Millbrook Village on the other side of Old Mine Road/Millbrook-Blairstown Road...
... back to the parking lot.
In the parking lot, some information on Appalachian Trail rerouting in the area.
Red is the old route, green is the relocation.

[  0.00]  Walk out the parking lot near the restrooms and cross the paved road to the orange-blazed Orchard Trail
[  0.60]  Turn left on paved Hamilton Ridge Trail (some faded blue blazes)
[  1.30]  Turn right on the orange-blazed Pioneer Trail
[  1.40]  Lime kiln on right
[  2.45]  Optional bushwhack (trail overgrown) to riverbank
[  2.80]  Cross power cut
[  2.90]  Continue straight on orange when gravel road comes in from the right
[  3.70]  End of Pioneer Trail when the Hamilton Ridge Trail comes in from the left; continue straight
[  3.85]  Turn right to DePue Cemetery when the gravel road turns left; retrace
[  3.95]  Continue on gravel road
[  4.00]  Turn left on paved Old Mine Road a short distance then right into the Van Campens Picnic Area (sign currently missing)
[  4.25]  In the picnic area turn left towards the kiosk and take the yellow-blazed Van Campens Trail
[  5.25]  Turn left on mossy paved path then right on footpath just before bridge (no blazes)
[  5.70]  Turn left and cross bridge at power cut trail closure; turn right on paved Old Mine Road
[  5.85]  Turn right into Watergate at the gate
[  6.15]  Bozo's grave on left under tree; continue straight until Millbrook Village, continue through village crossing paved road
[  7.00]  Back at parking lot