Saturday, September 3, 2016

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, NJ - Appalachian Trail and Pool Colony

Blue Mountain Lake Trail - National Park Service
(This is not where the hike took place, it was the other side of the paved park road, the area referred to as "Pool Colony" on the map, also a network of roads reverting back to nature.)

GPS Coordinates 41.087842, -74.909042
Parking at the dead end of Fairview Lake Road.  (This parking is not shown on the trail map but parking is allowed here.)

Southern Kittatinny Trails Map 121 - NY/NJ Trail Conference
I found for the Pool Colony part my GPS showed the old wood road that still exist more accurately,

HIKE DISTANCE:  7.7 miles

From the parking area, a gray catbird.
The Appalachian Trail can be accessed by walking up the gated, partially paved road.
Some parts are chunky and eroded but it's walkable.
Towards the top, some views over New Jersey.
Chugging along up the switchbacks.
Keep left at the gate at the top to...
The Appalachian Trail southbound on the left.
A short distance along, a side trail to the left leads to ...
... some views!
Fairview Lake down below.
Cousins enjoying the view.
Back on the AT.
Another side trail to the viewpoint shown on the map.
This part was a little challenging for Shawnee but there were plenty of us along to assist so all was well even though we were all run over a few times.
Wide open views.
And break time, of course.
On the way back we saw this memorial and all observed a moment of silence for Mickey.  We all noticed the resemblance to Shawnee right away.
Back on the AT.  It's all woods road in this section to perfect for wheelchair practice.

Views west into Pennsylvania.
Big Pocono Mountain
A huge advantage of being in a wheelchair - makes you immune from having to join the others up on the boulder,
A porcupine!  Sebastian almost had an up close and personal encounter with the porcupine but my son was able to yank him back just in time and saved him from getting quilled.  The porcupine went up a tree where he sat and watched us ...
... with one eye from behind a leaf.
The last time it was wasps, now a porcupine.  Sebastian had better rethink the battles he chooses.
We went out about 2 miles on the AT and had been searching for access to Pool Colony but everything that looked like a woods road ended at a camp site.
Finally we found the right one.  (The map shows 3 woods roads doing down but we only found this one.)
The woods road descends steeply to a T intersection.  We turned right.  These are old roads that were graded for a development that never happened.  There is no maintenance here and apparently very little use so lots of large downed branches across the trail.
Pristine mushrooms because nobody goes here to step on them.
A balloon!  I hadn't found one in a while because they tend to become more concealed in the summer.
An old broken bottle.
We started clearing the trail of downed branches to make way for Shawnee.
But she soon figured out how to vault over them and there were times the woods roads were grassy.
A teeny frog.
Uh oh.  We had to bushwhack around this one.
Uh oh again - would the wheelchair fit on this old bridge - maybe a remnant of when this area was maintain for hiking trails?
It was like it was custom built for her!
Time for another break.
Tired dogs ...
... falling ....
... asleep.
Break over.  Let's go find Mountain Ridge Lake.
Mountain Ridge Lake.  Or what is left of it.
That's all there is, a puddle with some frogs and little fish in it.
We would have explored more but the hike was getting kind of long so we looped around the lake and found the woods road that would take us out.
Old phone poles/electric poles everywhere.
No idea what these are.
Now look at this.  Could have saved myself a boatload of money on Shawnee's wheelchair!
At the gate exiting to the road.
Even other dogs seem interested in the wheelchair.
Another woods road into pool colony that runs parallel to the one we came out on.
Heading back down the eroded paved road.
Waiting for a group of hikers coming up to pass.
Back at the parking area.


  1. Shawnee is too funny with that cart! You can see in the photos how happy she is to be out. Amazing what a new lease it has given her.

    1. It really has and it is so much easier on her. It makes hiking more effortless for her and even though she has always loved it, I see her enjoying it more again and not tiring out as fast.