Sunday, April 5, 2015

Abram Hewitt State Forest, NJ with Appalachian Trail, NY

Abram S. Hewitt State Forest - New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Appalachian Trail Region/Hiking the AT in NY and NJ - New York New Jersey Trail Conference

GPS Coordinates 41.186069, -74.332194

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Parking at NJ side of NY/NJ state line opposite marina entrance.  This is looking back at Greenwood Lane and the marina from the trail head.

North Jersey Trails Map #116 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
Abram Hewitt State Forest Map - NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Abram Hewitt State Forest, NJ with Appalachian Trail into NY at EveryTrail

HIKE DISTANCE: 7.2 miles

Shawnee has been out of commission again.  Two weeks ago she started stumbling, her eyes started twitching, her head tilted to the side, it was that vestibular syndrome again.  No need for the emergency clinic this time since I knew what it was and you just have to wait it out.  In reading up on it, they claim it rarely happens more than once but in talking with other people with dogs that have had this, they all got it again and some claim they never fully recovered the second time.   Shawnee is doing better, it was not near as severe as the last time, and we are seeing the chiropractor weekly to straighten her head back out.  She is definitely not steady enough to hike yet so I sneaked my hiking gear into the basement, left in my pajamas, went to the basement to change and slipped out (successfuly!) to do a hike.  This is a hike I could never do with Shawnee since the scrambles are too difficult and one of them made us turn back about 5 years ago when she flat out refused and I could find no way to get her down.
Starting on the blue-blazed State Line Trail which starts just to the right of the kiosk.
Just two days before this whole area was still covered in snow according to the snow depth map.
As the trail ascends, Greenwood Lake comes into view from behind.
About 3/4 of a mile into the hike, hang a left on the yellow-blazed Ernest Walter Trail.
The trail gets rockier and steeper.
And the views get better.
Surprise Lake comes into view.  This lake gets crowded but not at 8 AM!
Frozen Surprise Lake
I actually had to break out the Kahtoola microspikes to get down in icy section through the rhododendron tunnel.
Crossing the Surprise Lake outlet.
Views at the intersection of the yellow and white trails.
It's from this point on that the Ernest Walter Trail becomes more challenging.
And this would be the downhill scramble that Shawnee would call "The Scramble of Death" - the point where we had to turn back about 5 years ago.  But today, downward and onward.
West Pond from the Ernest Walter Trail.
Tufted Titmice
Once you turn right on the white-blazed Appalachian Trail, there is an uphill scramble.
I suppose because Shawnee was not along I was being more vigilant about bears.  Not that she would do anything, she never bothers wildlife, but I count on her to let me know when a bear is around because she looks at me a certain way and I just know.  Or call it 6th sense, but I had been intentionally hitting rocks with my trekking pole to make noise because I just had a feeling...  Then on this scramble on the AT, fresh, wet bear prints!  I had probably missed him by minutes.  Fortunately he was heading in the opposite direction of where I was going so all was good.
Surprise Lake from the AT.
The intersection with the State Line Trail which is the return route, or a shorter loop if you want to skip hiking to New York.
AT trail register at the state line.
Crossing into New York.
Prospect Rock on the AT
Views into New York beyond Prospect Rock
Some areas still had snow.
And in other places melting snow make a creek out of the trail.
At the bottom of waterfalls.
The AT crosses over the top of the falls.  I found a better crossing spot a few feet upstream.
This is where things get really fun, scrambling up Bellvale Mountain.
I knew this ladder was here and always knew there was no way Shawnee could get up that ladder.  I got up OK, forgetting I was going to have to get back down.
Views of Greenwood Lake from the top.
Heading back down...
"Oh ****!"  Yes, I said something along those lines.  It's a narrow ledge to get back on the ladder with loose rocks and it's steep down, and well, somehow I made it only because I had no choice.
Crossing back over the top of the falls.
Coming back up on Prospect Rock.
Greenwood Lake from Prospect Rock.
Looking back into New York.
Crossing back into New Jersey.
A left on the blue State Line Trail and the the descent begins.
Back at the parking lot.

[  0.00]  Take the blue-on-white State Line Trail at the right side of the kiosk
[  0.70]  Left on the yellow Ernest Walter Trail
[  1.20]  Surprise Lake; keep right on yellow when orange goes left
[  1.70]  Keep straight on yellow when white goes right
[  2.55]  Right on the white Appalachian Trail when yellow ends
[  2.85]  Straight on white when blue-on-white goes left
[  3.00]  Trail register and NY/NJ state line
[  3.30]  Prospect Rock
[  3.40]  Straight on white when blue goes left
[  4.50]  Views at top after ladder, retrace
[  5.60]  Straight on white when blue goes right
[  5.70]  Prospect Rock
[  6.00]  Trail register and NY/NJ state line
[  6.15]  Turn left on white-on-blue State Line Trail
[  6.60]  Straight on blue-on-white when yellow goes right
[  7.20]  Back at parking


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  2. So sorry to hear that Shawnee is ailing, but happy that you are taking such good care of her. This was a beautiful hike which I would have loved once upon a time. Like Shawnee, I just can't do what I once could.

  3. Hi Daniela -- welcome back! I had a feeling something may have been wrong with Shawnee (and was subsequently sorry to hear she was getting those nasty symptoms again), but I'm glad she's recovering. But it's great you were able to do a few trails that she would have had trouble with anyway! (Sort of get them done now so you can do other ones that Shawnee will not have trouble with.)

    As always -- excellent scenery...loved the views of NYC in the one shot! Pretty cool crossing into NY from NJ on that rock that apparently has dual [state] citizenship; although scenery-wise, it sort of looks like "Meh, just passing into NY/NJ -- no big whoop." The ladder part did seem sort of interesting as well...gotta hand it to you -- you conquered your fears yet again (i.e. going back down!) Great shots of wildlife -- and glad you didn't run into that bear! (I like your "style"...when ya see the fresh wet paw prints going one way: go the OTHER way! :) )

    Hope I can get up to North Jersey sometime to get some adventures up there; in the meantime, looking forward to your next adventure!


  4. Very nice pictures especially of the butterfly. I feel bad for Shawnee. Hope she continues to get well.

  5. Oh my gosh! I remember that ladder. We have been doing day hikes of all of the NY AT with our dogs. We've done them as out & backs - which means we did that ladder both up and down. It was INSANE! Somehow we managed, but our dogs hated it! We held onto their harnesses, but they especially hated going down. The ledge to get TO the ladder going down was very tricky as well. I think they both ended up with torn up pads from that section.

    Hoping Shawnee improves! We missed seeing your blog entries recently.