Sunday, December 25, 2016

Ramapo Mountain State Forest, NJ - Hoeferlin/Todd/Yellow/Schuber

Ramapo Mountain State Forest - NJ Division of Parks and Forestry

GPS Coordinates 41.04742, -74.25130
Parking lot on Skyline Drive.

North Jersey Trails Map 115 - NYNJ Trail Conference
Ramapo Mountain State Forest Trail Map (free map) - NYNJ Trail Conference
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HIKE DISTANCE:  6.65 miles

Shawnee had just hiked 2 days prior and had a Christmas Day function to attend at cousin Sebastian's house in the afternoon so she sat this one out which allowed me to do a more difficult hike.
Several short trails from the parking lot lead to the kiosk and ...
... the yellow-blazed Hoeferlin Trail to the right of the kiosk.  (No bears were seen during this hike.)
Again, I was there at the crack of dawn just as ...
... the sun started to rise.
It was very icy in spots so it was constantly on and off with the Kahtoola microspikes.
There really is nothing more beautiful than the woods at sunrise.  The bonus is there is nobody else around that early.
At the blue-blazed Macevoy Trail ahead I would have turned left but went right on blue/yellow for a short distance...
... to Ramapo Lake from the dam.
Retracing on blue/yellow where I crossed paths with another early morning hiker - the only other person I saw until the last mile of the hike.
Passing where I came down from yellow on the left, keeping straight on blue.
Just after rock hopping this creek...
... left on the white-blazed Todd Trail.
The Todd Trail parallels the creek for a while.
The trail leaves the creek and climbs back up to the top,
I assume these are park vehicle tracks since this is not a place where there would be any traffic.
A few steps after crossing this bridge the white trail leaves the woods road to the right.
And so did a raccoon.
In a short distance the white trail crosses over Skyline Drive.
Some views near the top.
All the way at the top of the ascent it's open with winter views.
White turns left when yellow begins; I took yellow.
Todd Lake
At the far end of Todd Lake a red trail, not on the map, starts to the left.  I later passed where it came out on orange so it is apparently a shortcut past Lake Tamarack over to orange but I continued on yellow.
Another look back at Todd Lake
A water tower near Todd Lake.
A couple of creek crossings with pretty cascades.
All you can hear in this section is babbling brook sounds.
Before I turned left on white, I followed yellow/white a short distance to...
... a millstone.
Heading back to white.
Based on the faded sign leaning to the left of this boulder ...
... this must be Rattlesnake Cave and Balanced Rock.
White crosses over orange, I turned left on orange and this is where I ran into more people coming up from the parking lot with more to follow.  It gets busy here later in the day.
You know, it was not even on my mind and I was not even looking in that direction.  Something just made me turn my head far to the right and there it was.
It's like I see them before I even see them.
I don't think that would offer much protection against ticks.
Here is the other end of that red trail that is not on the map.
Coming up on Skyline Drive ...
... and back to the parking lot on the other side, which at noon was packed.  I was the only one there at 7 AM.