Sunday, November 29, 2020

Appalachian Trail to Cascade Lake Park

Appalachian Trail Natural Scenic Area /
Cascade Lake Park /
Passaic Co., New Jersey &
Orange Co., New York

Hiking Trails:
Appalachian Trail: White blaze
Red Trail: Red blaze
Green Trail: Green blaze
Blue Trail: Blue blaze

Total Time: 2:10 hour
Estimated Distance: 4.6 Miles
Hike Type: Lollipop Loop

Pros: Quiet area with nice scenery
Cons: Cascade Lake Park trails are not well marked

Google Map of Parking:

Two weeks prior was my first visit to Cascade Lake Park. I wanted to reach the westernmost contiguous end of the my Appalachian Trail visit, and it involved Cascade Lake Park and the beautiful area of Prospect Rock along Bellvale/Bearfort Mountain. On my trip two weeks prior I determined to come back and explore the area more. So this trip involved a further west approach on the Appalachian Trail, and then exploring more trails in Cascade Lake Park.

I parked on Longhouse Drive, in New Jersey, just a short distance from from the New York State Line. I took the Appalachian Trail from the roadside parking east, heading along some small ridges and then alongside the marsh at Long House Creek. I crossed the creek on the bridge, then climbed the hill to the connector trail to the Red Trail of Cascade Lake Park. This trail is not on the map, but is a wide unmarked trail that connects the Cascade Lake Park Red Trail to the Appalachian Trail.

I took this trail to the Red Trail, taking it north alongside the western side of Cascade Lake. There is a vast range of wide trails in Cascade Lake Park, some marked and many unmarked, and it can be confusing. I veered off the Green Trail at an intersection, and took this trail to the Blue Trail. I did not see any markers on the Green Trail, but it is listed on the map as such.

I then walked past the lake dam, which is quite an impressive cascade, and then climbed up to the northern end of the dam, walking along an unmarked trail alongside the trail and up the hill, and then intersecting another trail which I took which goes alongside the creek back to the Red Trail. I then took the Connector Trail back to the Appalachian Trail, and went back along the Appalachian Trail on the same route as I came heading back to my car.

Map of the Route

Sign for Ride Help at the AT at the Beginning of the Hike

Appalachian Trail at the Beginning of the Hike

Small Newly Constructed Bridge on the AT

Large Swamp Alongside the Appalachian Trail

Bridge Across the Long House Creek on the Appalachian Trail

Long House Creek

Cascade at the Cascade Lake Dam

Waterfall over the Cascade Lake Dam

Dam Waterfall Low Shutter Speed

Me at the Cascade Lake Dam Waterfalls

View of the Cascade Lake Dam and Waterfalls from Above

View of Cascade Lake from the Dam

Me at the Cascade Lake Dam View of the Lake

View of Cascade Lake from the Overlook at the Swinging Rope

Swinging Rope with Platform to Swing into the Lake

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Pine Swamp Mountain to Lake Tiorati Area

Harriman State Park,
Orange Co.,
New York

Hiking Trails:
Arden-Surebridge Trail: Red blaze
"Pacman" Trail: Pacman blazes
Pine Swamp Road: Unblazed
Bottle Cap Trail: Bottle cap blazes
Red Cross Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 1:45 hour
Estimated Distance: 3.7 Miles

Pros: Nice views, mostly quiet area after the beginning
Cons: No remarkable views
Hike Type: Loop hike

Google Maps of Parking:

This was a dreary, cold and gray day. It was cloudy and windy for the hike, with few people out on the trail. I parked at the Lake Skanatati Parking area, and took the Arden-Surebridge Trail for a short distance and then took the old trail route above the rock scramble. I then took the old trail to the Pine Swamp Mountain view no longer serviced by the trail. I noticed some new trail markers on this original, now disused trails. They were surprisingly different blaze symbols relating to Pacman: Pacman, ghosts, and digital raspberries and strawberries. I am not sure if this was some sort of Halloween prank, and if it was put up by someone without authorization. But what I did find interesting is that there were no marked symbols at the beginning or end or the trail to notice from the Arden-Surebridge Trail. The end markers were only on the other side, so if you weren't looking you wouldn't notice the trail marking. I would love to get more information about this.

I then continued on the Arden-Surebridge Trail, and at the northern area of Pine Swamp Mine. I then took the unblazed Pine Swamp Mine Road North towards Seven Lakes Drive, crossed the road, and then took the paved road to Camp Thendara to the Bottle Cap Trail. This Bottle Cap trail is not the same as the one nearby on the west side of Seven Lakes Drive. It's a short trail, not listed on the map as marked, that connects the Camp Thendara Road to the Red Cross Trail. I then took the Red Cross Trail to the view and down the mountain to the northern part of Lake Askoti. I took the Red Cross Trail across the road, back up the hill, and back up to the parking area.

Map of the Route

Lake Skanatati

Arden-Surebridge Trail

Pacman Trail Marker

Ghost Trail Marker on the "Pacman" Trail

Fire Pit Atop the Pine Swamp Mine Lookout with Lake Skanatati and Kanawauke Below

Lake Skanatati and Kanawauke from Pine Swamp Mountain

Lake Skanatati from Pine Swamp Mountain

Looking West Towards Black Rock Mountain

Me at Pine Swamp Mountain

Ghosts at the End of the "Pacman" Trail

Small Pit at the Pine Swamp Mine

Looking Towards Lake Tiorati from Thendara Road

Large Exposed Rock at the Bottle Cap Trail

Start of the Unofficial Bottle Cap Trail

Bottle Cap Trail Marker

Cairn at the end of the Bottle Cap Trail at the Red Cross Trail

View Towards Hogencamp Mountain from the Red Cross Trail

Descending Towards Lake Askoti

Lake Askoti

Lake Askoti from the Northern Shoreline

Peninsula at Lake Askoti

Rock in the Water at the Northern End of Lake Askoti

Monday, November 16, 2020

Mt. Tammany Delaware Water Gap Lower View

Worthington State Forest
Warren Co.,
New Jersey

Hiking Trails:
Red Dot Trail: Red blaze

Total Time: 0:40 hour
Estimated Distance: 0.9 Miles
Hike Type: In and out

Pros: Good climb and very scenic view
Cons: None, except for limited parking on weekends

Google Map of Parking:

I had a wedding in Bushkills Falls, Pennsylvania. The route is beautiful where Route 80 passes through the Delaware Water Gap, with steep cliffs on each side as Mt. Tammany and Mt. Minsi drop sharply into the water for the Delaware River to pass through. Route 80 winds its way through this narrow gap, with a parking area and trailhead and some very popular hiking.

I figured once I was driving through, I would do a short, quick hike in the area. How could I drive through the area without stopping there? I parked in the first parking area at the Red Dot Trail trailhead, and took the Red Dot Trail up the mountain to the first view. This is a short but steep climb with some rocky areas. The view faces east towards the top of Mt. Tammany and the Delaware River and Route 80 below. I then turned around and went back the same way, changing from my hiking clothing into wedding clothing in the parking area.

Map of the Route
Parking Area and Steep Cliffs

Signs at the Beginning of the Hike

Rocky Climb Ascending on the Red Dot Trail

Steep Rock Face on the Trail on the Ascent

Approaching the View

First View at Mt. Tammy Overlooking the Delaware River and Route 80.

Summit of Mt. Tammany in the Distance from the Lower View

Mt. Minsi on the Pennsylvania Side of the Delaware River

Late Afternoon Sun Above Mt. Minsi
Another Late Afternoon View with the Sun Descending Towards the Horizon

Me at the Mt. Tammany Lower View

Me Overlooking Mt. Minsi Across the River

Final View on Mt. Tammany Prior to my Descent