Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ash Brook Reservation - North Trail


ABOUT THE PARK:
I found out about this trail when I happened across this article online.  It's not even 5 miles from my house and I did not know about it.  At this time there is no information online but Marc Grobman, the trail steward at Ash Brook Reservation, sent me his PDF files to share.





DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates to Union Country Vocational and Technical Schools entrance 40.61912, -74.35715
From the entrance drive straight towards these signs.  (The spur trail comes out just to the left of these signs.)  Turn right and continue straight to the police academy at the far corner.
Turn right in front of the police academy to park.
Parking in front of the police academy.
I added in the starts representing trail access points.

TRAIL MAP:

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HIKE DISTANCE:
1.9 mile loop returning from the spur trail; probably about 2.5 miles as a lollipop returning on the trail

THE HIKE:
Kiosk in front of the police academy with the trail head just beyond the picnic table on the left.
A dry section of the trail over West Hill.
Returning the map I used to scan.  I had been here with Shawnee the previous day but did not get very far because the trail became too swampy for her.
A power cut to the right.
The trail starts crossing drainage culverts as it enters Ash Swamp.
Swamp water off to the side.
And then the trail becomes swamp, probably because we had torrential downpours the previous two weekends.
Wearing old sneakers was a great idea.
Not much visible but I think this might be a Great Crested Flycatcher.
This is the trail.
I thought I had stepped on a log.  Obviously not.  But after that point, what did it matter?  I just slogged on through.
Looks like a Canada Goose was hiking the trail also.
At the bridge a spur trail to the left goes to the parking lot.  Because the trail was so swampy, it took longer than I thought to get through it and the sun was setting, I decided this would be my return route but first over the bridge to Red Hill.
From the bridge ooking down the culvert (creek?) that the spur trail follows.
After just a little more wet trail, the trail suddenly dries out completely.
At this time there were no blazed looping around Red Hill and there are several different paths but it's hard to get lost.
This was one huge den.
Darned camera would not focus.
At the big spool, the trail turns back to form the loop.
Back at the bridge and turning right on the spur trail.
Coming out at the corner of the Union County VoTech lot.
Looking back at where the trail comes out - this would be an alternate access point.
I walked along the perimeter of the lot the way I had driven in.
Driving home in my socks, which didn't look much better.  Definitely a place to return to when it is drier out.

8 comments:

  1. I live close to this as well and I had heard something about a possible trail back there but never found anything online. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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    1. It always amazes me the hard work put into creating trails that nobody knows about! And I would assume that since this is called "North Trail" there might be a "South Trail" in the future? We'll have to keep an eye on it.

      Daniela

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  2. Daniela, this trail is marked on OpenStreetMap: https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/40.6153/-74.3603&layers=C

    I also think the footprints may be of wild turkey - I have seen some while exploring this trail before.

    I was puzzled by this den too - I wondered if that was a fox or perhaps a coyote den.

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    1. Ahhhh, I didn't think of turkeys but makes better sense than Canada geese!

      Daniela

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  3. And I thought some of the trails we've been on here in Virginia were muddy!!! Should have brought some old hiking shoes as you did. Well...they're old NOW. :( How'd you explain all that mud to Shawnee when you got home? Thinking of you both. :)
    Linda

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    1. Yay, you made it to Virginia! Want to hear all about it. I drove home in my socks and hosed the shoes off in the front yard before even bringing them around back to be soaked in a bucket of soapy water. Shawnee was probably just thrilled that she wasn't the one getting hosed :)

      Daniela

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  4. Coincidentally I spotted the sign for this just a couple of weeks ago when I was dropping off some stuff on electronics recycling day at the Vo Tec. Couldn't find anything on line, so thanks for exploring it for us. But I think I'll wait for drier weather or frozen ground to try it myself.

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    1. I think that would be wise :) The mosquitoes are horrendous there, too. I had not sprayed any OFF on my the day before when I attempted it with Shawnee and there weren't any but when I went back the following day I was bitten the minute I stepped foot on the trail so the 90 degree weather must have awakened them. Fortunately I had OFF with me but had to apply twice because those skeeters were hungry!

      Daniela

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