Sunday, May 6, 2018

Pochuck Boardwalk

Sussex Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.7 Miles

Pros: Unique scenery in interesting environment
Cons: Can be busy with many people

This an interesting hike quite different from the others I typically do. Instead of hiking through forests and vistas, this one is through a swamp on a wooden boardwalk. Its fairly easy and has lots of birds, and views of the mountains in the distance.

I first noticed this section while hiking the Pinwheel Vista/Stairway to Heaven on the Appalachian Trail at Wawayanda State Park several years earlier. I noticed the wooden planks of the trail below from the summit and thought they would be interesting. Later on I did some reasearch and learned this is indeed a popular trail area, where the Appalachain Trail is forced to cross a wetlands valley between Wawayanda and Pochuck Mountains.

I parked on the side of the road on County Route 517, after Meadowlands Drive, where the boardwalk starts on its western side. I crossed the wooden suspension bridge at Pochuck Creek, and continued until the trail went into woods on slightly higher elevation. I continued past Canal Road, and on off off the smaller wooden plank boardwalks. I continued past the railroad, across the field, and then hit Route 94. I went a bit in to the Pinewheel Vista trailhead, and then turned around and went back the same way I came.

Map of the Route

Information Kiosk at the Boardwalk Trailhead

Looking East Towards the Swamp

The Beginning of the Boardwalk

Wooded Area at the Beginning of the Hike

AT Near the Beginning

Boardwalk Winding Through the Swamp

Cattails and Foxtails in the Swamp

Me on the Pochuck Boardwalk

Red Windged Blackbird in the Swamp

Boardwalk Section after the Bend

New Construction in Progress on the Boardwalk

The Wooden Suspension Bridge Crossing Pochuk Bridge

Atop the Wooden Suspension Bridge

Wooden Suspension Bridge from the Other Side of the Brook

Single Lane Boardwalk after the main Boardwalk Area

Continuation of the Wooden Planks

Railroad Crossing along the Appalachian Trail

Looking down the Railroad Track from the Trail Crossing

Wooden Planks Near the Cow Meadows

Wawayanda Mountain in the Background

Wooden Planks Boardwalk

Me on the Wooden Planks

Kiosk on the Appalachian Trail prior to the Wawayanda Mountain Climb

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sherwood Path to Pine Meadow Lake

Sherwood Path to Pine Meadow Lake
Harriman State Park,
Rockland Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Sherwood Path: Unblazed
Suffern-Bear Mountain (S-BM) Trail: Yellow blaze
Conklins Crossing: White blaze
Pine Meadow Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:55 hour
Estimated Distance: 5.5 Miles

Hiking Partners:
David Koegel
Debbie Koegel

Pros: Very quiet and scenic area, nice view and scenic lake
Cons: Difficult crossing at Mahwah River

Pine Meadow Lake is one of my favorite lakes in the area. It is away from any road or parking area, and is very scenic and tranquil. We parked at the corner of Wilder Road and Route 202, where there is a small pull-off area at the corner. We walked southbound along Route 202 for about 400 feet, and then headed into to the woods at this point where Harriman State Park connects to Route 202. We walked down to the river, crossing it along a narrow log. As the river was very swollen from recent rains, crossing was much more difficult than usual. We then went along the path on the side of the river, crossing the gas and power lines. The path turns into the Sherwood Path, and climbs in a snake-like pattern up the mountain.

Upon reaching the Stone Mountain Shelter, we turned southwest on to the Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail, towards a rock formation called the "Egg." The Egg is large oval rock with a rounded top (hence its name), which also affords a very nice view. We then continued along the S-BM Trail, to the Conklin's Crossing Trail, taking this short trail in its entirety to eastern edge of Pine Meadow Lake. We bushwacked down to the lake where there are some large rocks in the lake, took some photos, and continuned to the Pine Meadow Trail. We took the Pine Meadow Trail back to the Sherwood Path, which we took back down the mountain, and then took the path along the gas line back to the Pine Meadow Trail near the horse stables. We went down the Pine Meadow Trail to its terminus, walked through the equestrian area and parking area, and along Route for a short while back to our car.

Map of the Route

Crossing the Mahwah River on a Fallen Tree

Photo Inside the Stone Mountain Shelter

View from Stone Mountain Shelter

Plaque on the Stone Mountain Shelter along the S-BM Trail

Me at the Stone Mountain Shelter Area

Me on the Rock on the Stone Mountain Shelter

View from the Egg Facing Horse Stable Mountain

Vuew from the Egg, Facing Southeast

Another View from the top of the Egg 
Rocks at the Egg Area

View from the Egg, Facing North

Me and David

Me and David Atop the Egg

Me on the Egg

Pine Meadow Lake

Pine Meadow Lake, Eastern Part

Looking Across the Length of Pine Meadow Lake

Looking Towards the South at Pine Meadow Lake

Me Crossing a Rock on Pine Meadow Lake

Me on a Rock in Pine Meadow Lake

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Apshawa Preserve Full Loop Spring Hike

Apshawa Preserve Full Loop Spring Hike
West Milford, near Butler
Passaic Co,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Purple Trail: Purple blaze
Blue Trail: Blue blaze
Orange Trail: Orange blaze
Green Trail: Green blaze
Red Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 2:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.9 Miles

Pros: Scenic and quiet area
Cons: Views aren't exceptional

I had been here two weeks earlier, and has lacked the time to properly explore this area. I had also been to this preserve the year prior, but took the Blue Trail to the White to the Butler Trail. I had wanted to explore this other part of the preserve. I parked in the parking area off Northwood Drive, and went to to the end of the parking lot to the small Pond at the Purple Trail. After passing the pond, I took an old trail that is no longer blazed as a shortcut to the Blue Trail. I took this to the Orange Trail, and then to the Green Trail.

I took the green trail south to where it crossed the Apshawa Brook. There is a really pretty dam over here spilling water over like a waterfall. I continued along the trail past some unknown metal drums, and then continued on the trail as it climbed to the top, affording a view. I then continued down the path to the Read Trail at the Butler Reservoir, which I looped around, then taking the Green Trail back to the Orange Trail, and to the same shortcut to the Purple Trail, though this time I continued ahead and went out via the Blue Trail.

Map of the Route

Koplen Pond at the Beginning of the Hike

Waterfall Over the Dam at a Pond on Apshawa Brook

Pond on Apshawa Brook

Below the Waterfall over the Dam at Apshawa Brook

Abandoned Rock Structure and Tanks Along the Trail

Another View of an Abandoned Rock Hut

View from the Summit View on the Green Trail

Another View from the Summit View

Butler Reservoir Facing North

Butler Reservoir Facing East

Selfie at Butler Reservoir

Butler Reservoir Facing Southeast

Butler Reservoir Facing South, with Partially Submerged Boat