Sunday, July 31, 2016

Appalachian Trail, NJ - Route 284 to Vernie Swamp

Appalachian Trail in New Jersey - Appalachian Trail Conservancy

GPS Coordinates 41.28845, -74.55236
Parking on western side of Route 284.  The Appalachian Trail crosses Route 284 into the woods just beyond my car.

New York/New Jersey Guide - Appalachian Trail Conservancy

HIKE DISTANCE:  5.3 miles (2.65 miles each way)

Heading south on the Appalachian Trail.
This section of the AT runs right along the New Jersey/New York state line and is one of the easiest sections we have hiked.
The most rugged parts were going over old stone walls.
At first the trail alternates between woods and wild flower meadows.
Pochuck Mountain
The AT follows an old rail bed.
Leaving the old rail bed to the left.
Some thru-hikers camped along the trail overnight.
Coming up on Lott Road.
Turn right on Lott Road towards the pond then left back into the woods.
How sad that this German Shepherd is doomed to a life in an outdoor pen with a dog house watching hikers go by on the AT.
I would have never seen this teeny little frog had he not jumped off of the trail.
The frog had apparently been hanging out with this little red eft.
Countryside views from the trail.
A short section of puncheons.
Where the next section of puncheons start at the northern end of Vernie Swamp ...
... they go on for about .2 miles and looked to be pretty uneven.  That would have been more challenging for Shawnee this far into the hike and it had started to rain so this is where we turned around and headed back.  She had been having some stability issues in her back end all week and even though her gait smooths out when hiking, she wasn't quite on her game this hike.
Passing back by her poor relative in the dog pen.
Back on Lott Road crossing on the bridge back to the AT on the left just beyond the bridge. (There is also a parking area just the other side of the bridge where the AT goes back into the woods.)
It was still raining.
Back on the rail bed.
The AT leaves the rail bed to the left.  I wondered where the rail bed continued on to but needed to finish with Shawnee so wasn't able to investigate.  On the map it looks like it goes to Quarryville Brook Preserve, assuming it isn't broken up by private property along the way.
Almost there and of course the rain stopped and the sky was blue.
Coming up on the parking area.
The AT continues northbound across Route 284.
No balloons today but did pack out a couple of plastic water bottles that I probably hate just a bit more than I hate Mylar balloons.