Sunday, February 28, 2016

K9 Search at Bear Swamp Lake and Ilgenstein Rock

Ramapo Valley County Reservation /
Ringwood State Park
Bergen Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Shore Trail: Blue blaze
Unnamed Red Trail: Red blaze
Red-Silver Trail: Red & Silver blaze
Hoeferline Memorial Trail: Yellow blaze
Crossover Trail: White blaze

Total Time: 3:00 Hours (including K9 Training)
Estimated Distance: 3.4 Miles
Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Level of Recommendation: Recommended though far to get to

Points of Interest: Scenic lake, nice view, remote area
Cons: Hard to get to under normal circumstances

Hiking Partners:
Shimmy Rosenberg
Sruly Rosenberg

This hike was combined with a training from a Search & Rescue K9 Unit. Jay Schwartz of CommSAR had organized a training with the NJ SAR K9 unit, with 2 dogs in training for sniffing human scent. The training was combined with members of Chaverim, and we hid in the wood off the trail and then waited to see if the dogs could spot us.

We staged at Bear Swamp Road and Route 202 near the Mahwah/Oakland municipal line, and the NJ SAR team opened the gates for us so that we could drive up Bear Swamp Road. We drove up the road, climbing up mountain on the narrow route that at some places is dirt only. We parked by Bear Swamp Lake and did the K9 Training. It was very interesting to see how the dogs are trained and how they work.

The weather was once again extremely warm for this time of year. By the end of the hike, we had shed our jackets for shirt sleeves as it was in the upper 50's.

Once we were up at Bear Swamp Lake, some of us took the opportunity to take a hike to Ilgenstein Rock, which has a very nice view of Bear Swamp Lake and the Ramapo Mountains. We took the Shore Trail around the northern part of Bear Swamp Lake, and then took an unnamed Red Trail up the mountain. (I had thought this was the Hoeferlin Memorial Trail at first as this must be a new trail not yet on my map.)

At the top by the stream, we bushwacked towards the Hoeferline Memorial Trail, and met up with that trail at the Butler Mine. The mine is relatively small and easy to miss. We continued along the trail, joining up with the Crossover Trail, to Ilgenstein Rock, where we took a short break and some pictures. We then headed down the mountain on the Crossover Trail, then continued down on the Cannonball Trail, to its terminus at the southern point of Bear Swamp Lake at the dam. We then took the Shore Trail (which is combined with Bear Swamp Road) back to the cars and met everyone as they were wrapping things up.

Map of the Route. North Jersey Trails Eastern Map

At the Staging Area

Bear Swamp Road

Dogs in Training

This Dog is a Twin to the One Above

Trained SAR German Shepard

Our Group Posing with the NJ SAR K9 Unit

Dog Retrieving a Hidden Subject

Sruli and Shimmy Maneuvering Over a Swollen Brook

The Butler Mine

View from Ilgenstein Rock Towards Bear Swamp Lake. Facing Northeast.

Zoomed Out from Ilgenstein Rock

From Ilgenstein Rock, Facing Southeast.

Facing Southeast, Zoomed In Towards the Manhattan Skyline

From Ilgenstein Rock, Facing South

Me on Ilgenstein Rock

Me and Sruli Rosenberg, Captured by Photographer Shimmy

Another Perspective of me and Sruli

Zoomed in to the Staging Area Where our Cars were Parked

Bear Swamp Lake at the Outlet, from the Dam

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