Lord Stirling Park

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  6.04 miles

Trails:  I was on most of them: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, connectors – Orange was closed

My map:

The Ides of March.  When I left home, it was cloudy and low 40s.  I got to the park and was the fourth or fifth car there; the temperatures had warmed up to about 45.  I stopped in the Environmental Education Center for a map, and by the time I got back out the sun was coming out.  I could tell this would be a great day.  And it was.

Lord Stirling Park (part of the Somerset County Parks) is immensely diverse, and should be on your list of hikes; if it already isn’t.  There’s forest, mud, ponds, mud, swamp and wetland, mud, fields, mud, observation towers, mud and even blinds to check out both the scenery and wildlife.  I would be remiss not to mention that the trails in the southern part of the park can be muddy.  To me, the southeastern portion of the park reminds me of the La Brea Tar Pits.  Looking at my split times for miles, I see my times are down – partly because there is so much to see and read in the park; and partly because the really muddy sections will slow you down.  Really though, what was I expecting hiking in The Great Swamp?

The trail in the southeast starts off nice and flat and wide.

One of your first stops, if starting in the southeast, is the eastern observation blind, right outside Lily Pad Pond.

Eastern Observation Blind
Lily Pad Pond

As you are walking, you can tell you are near the Passaic River.

Passaic River

This section of the park has lots of mud:

You really don’t have to worry about losing the trail, look for the mud (or the boardwalks when you get to them.)  There are plenty of blazes and you don’t really need to worry about turns.  As a bonus, at EVERY trail junction, there’s a sign that shows exactly where you are and because of that I really did not need my trail map.  Frequently, I changed my mind on where I was going when I reached a sign.

Trail junction – I headed right at this one

My next stopping point would be the East Observation Tower, overlooking the Passaic River. Bonus points were given as I was out of the mud and onto a boardwalk.

East Observation Tower
Passaic River
Passaic River

Back on the trail, I headed for my next waypoint.

What the…?

I thought I was out of it, but

I wouldn’t see mud again until I finished with the northern section of the park which included the swamp and boardwalks.  It was very pleasant walking at his point; the sun was out and it was getting warmer.

Loch Ness Monster?

Finally, onto the boards.

wetlands

I came across a landing overlooking the Passaic River called the Dance Floor.  No music was playing, but there were benches to sit and watch the river amble by.

The Dance Floor

It would be boards all the way to the Boondocks Boardwalk, which traversed La Plus Grande, part of the Great Swamp.  This was by far my favorite section of the park.  Just before La Plus Grande:

Boondocks Bypass

It’s shown on the map as Boondocks Bypass, but taking it would detour you around the fabulous wetlands and boardwalk.  And you can see, looking down the trail in the picture, yep:  mud.

There was no question in my mind where I was going.

Entering La Plus Grande

I can imagine this section of the trail is HOT in the Summer months.  Off the boards and back into the woods made a nice change of scenery.  It should be noted that there are benches at almost all the trail junctions.

After walking around Woodpecker Swamp, I came to The Great Swamp Oak.  This tree was huge; I figure it would take three or four people holding hands to be able to reach around it.

The Great Swamp Oak

The Southwestern portion of the park skirts a bunch of fields and leads to the West Observation Deck.

West Observation Deck

There was evidence of recent burning in the fields and I read that this was a result of prescribed burns, so that the fields can grow anew.  I made a quick detour up to the Sugar Shack, where they were making syrup.  This was the last weekend of the year for the demonstration.

I had to stop at Bullfrog Pond – I didn’t see any frogs but I heard one.

Bullfrog Pond
A little too close to the trail
Branta Pond – just outside the Environmental Education Center

This was a great hike!  It is only the middle of March, but I would be surprised if this hike does not end up in the Top 5 by the end of the year.  The weather was perfect, the trails were great (despite the mud) and there is so much to see.  I had planned to hit the orange trail as well, but it was closed due to construction; looks like I’ll be back.  I finished hiking around 12:30 and by this time the parking lot was packed.  I stopped into the center after the hike, and there are great exhibits detailing the wildlife and the history of the Great Swamp.  Finally, I headed over to the Turtle Pond.  No turtles.

Ticks:  0  (Though I imagine that number changes in the Summer)

Blazes:

Hiked:  3/15/2020

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest – Batona trail to Ong’s Hat

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  9.26 miles

Trails:  Batona Trail (to Ong’s Hat), Shinn’s road (back)

My Map:

 

My route, lollypop, going counter-clockwise

Back to Brendan T Byrne for another trail in 50 Hikes in New Jersey.  Today was a much better day, gorgeous sun, and not a cloud in the sky.  It was 33 when I got out of the car, and 42 when I returned with a light wind blowing the whole time.  Though, I didn’t notice it much as I was in the trees.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m not likely to backpack the whole trail, there are some other sections I might do; but I wanted to come back and do this section.

The trails were the of the same makeup, soft dirt, covered with pine needles or sandy roads – truly great to walk on.

Be aware that walking this portion of the Batona Trail does cross over some busy roads, though early on a Sunday morning I had no difficulty and saw limited traffic.  Two paved roads in particular to cross are Route 70 and Four Mile Road.  Within the forest there are numerous woods roads, unmarked trails and sandy/dirt roads that you will cross and are not on all maps.

A wide sandy portion of the trail, after crossing Route 70

After crossing Route 70, the first feature you will come to is Deep Hollow Pond.

Deep Hollow Pond

The trail meanders generally to the northeast, almost parallel to Bisphams Mill Creek.  There was no place that the trail actually goes to the creek, so my pictures had to be through the brambles.  You wouldn’t be able to see the creek in the summer with the foliage out.

Bisphams Mill Creek

There’s evidence of fire.

On a day like today, you could walk and walk.  I saw a couple of people running on the trail, and towards the end I met a couple with two dogs on leash.  Supposedly, bikes are not allowed, but there is definitely evidence that bikes use the trail.  Fortunately, I did not run into any.  On the way back from Ong’s Hat, I heard a motorbike, but I never saw it.  The only other noise to be heard were the cars on the roads you cross, and traffic on Route 72 while the trail is close by.

There is a spot where you have to cross Four Mile Road.  On a Sunday morning, there was no traffic.

Four Mile Road, looking north

Finally, I reached the northern terminus of the Batona Trail, located in Ong’s Hat.

Very much likely not THE tree

What is Ong’s Hat?  I’ll quote from 50 Hikes In New Jersey (second edition):

The story begins in the early 1700s, when Jacob Ong built a tavern here.  He was a Quaker from Pennsylvania who apparently strayed from the steady course and took a liking to dancing and flirting.  The tavern, which made an excellent halfway stop for stagecoaches travelling between Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore, soon became the scene of some wild goings-on, and in 1715, the history-making event occurred.  Jacob got in a fight with one of his girlfriends.  In a jealous rage, she grabbed the hat off his head and thew it high into a huge oak tree beside the tavern.  For years the hat remained caught in the high branches, and passersby would frequently say, “Look, there’s Ong’s hat.”  It took a while, but in 1828 the town got official recognition on New Jersey maps.  It is also shown on the USGS Browns Mills quad.  As for the tree, well, it was cut down in 1978 by the county highway department.

I walked around, I didn’t see any buildings or anything remaining of Ong’s Hat.  There was a deserted building across Route 72, but I wasn’t going to cross a very busy road to investigate.

On the way back, I took Shinns Road.  Straight.  Wide.  Sandy.

Shinns Road

I passed a section on the right where you could see that the trees had been cleared out, and after a while, where the forest resumed.

There were a bunch of spots along the Batona Trail where you entered forests of young trees, nature reclaiming its space.  The trees were close together, but not very tall.

Here’s a shot of (re)crossing Route 70 (early on a Sunday morning.)

At the beginning of the trail I walked by the Lebanon Fire Tower.  On the way back, I investigated.  There was nothing preventing me from climbing the tower, I don’t know if the door to the room at the top was open.  I wasn’t finding out.  And it had nothing do with the sign saying “no trespassing.”  There was no way I was going up those stairs.

Nope
Double Nope

I had a great time on this hike; the weather co-operated which made the hike pleasant.  This would be even better in the Spring or early Summer as you are in the shade for much of the hike.  Highly recommended.

Ticks:  0

Jersey Devil sightings: 0

Blazes:

Connector trail
Batona Trail
Batona Trail across a road

Hiked:  3/1/2020

Fire on Mt. Tammany

Attention New Jersey hikers, and those hikers from the surrounding areas headed to the Delaware Water Gap:

News broke today of a fire on Mt. Tammany in the Delaware Water Gap.  Numerous sources have plenty of information:

Lehigh Valley Online

NJ101.5

The Daily Record

At this time I did not see anything on the Worthington State Forrest page, nor did I see anything on the Delaware Water Gap National Park page.

It is reported that the fire was contained this afternoon.  Trails to the summit have been reported as closed, though sites are reporting that the Appalachian Trail remained open.

Brendan T. Byrne State Forest – Batona, Cranberry, Mount Misery, Lebanon Trails

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  12.5 Miles

Trails:  Connector, Batona, Cranberry, Mount Misery, Lebanon

My Map:

You can tell by the first picture that the sun is out and it looks like great weather for a hike.  That was true, to start.  I finished in the rain and with the temperatures lower than when I started.  This is another hike in “50 Hikes in New Jersey” that I wanted to check off, and it’s a great hike in the heart of the Pine Barrens.  One mistake I made (and rather crucial.)  I used the online map to plan my hike, figuring that there would be parking sort of where the Lebanon and the Cranberry Dot trail met.  That would make for a nice round trip of around eight miles.  Oops.  Parking is at the visitor center…I needed to take a trail or two to GET to my route, then a walk back to the car (from my proposed route.)  That’s how I got to 12 miles.  And yes, I’m still sore.

You’ll notice for this post there are almost as many pictures of blazes as there are of the hike itself.  There were many blazes on this hike, including one that isn’t on any map.

My original plan did not call for me to walk a portion of the Batona trail, but I’m glad I did.  I’m not one for much backpacking, so it’s doubtful I’ll ever hike the whole trail in one shot.  I may section hike it, because I really liked what I walked.  It’s well marked, and the trail (in this section) was a dream – loose dirt/sand, covered with pine needles.

Some pictures from the Batona trail:

I took the Batona trail to Pakim Pond Day Use Area, which, believe it or not, had people enjoying a cookout.  In 40 degree weather.  Pakim Pond looked like a cool area to hang out in the summer.

The next section of the hike was spent on the Mount Misery trail and the Lebanon trail, which is mostly a paved road through the forest.  It was at this point that the rain started, mostly as sprinkles.  But, it started to get dark, and the rain a little more intense, so I stuck to the Lebanon trail to shave off some time (and distance.)

I got back on the Mount Misery trail heading back to the park office.  Doing so took me through Reeves Cranberry bogs, which were really neat to see (even in the rain.)

Finally, I was back on the Cranberry trail headed back to the office.  There was a portion of the trail that was wide, but forest close-in on both sides of the trail.

This was a great hike in the Pine Barrens.  There was no elevation change to speak of and the trails were a dream to walk on, loose dirt/sand usually topped with pine needles.  There were only a couple of locations with plenty of roots.  And, on the Batona trail there was a long stretch of boardwalk.  As it had rained the night before, there were a few sections that were a little spongy but nothing impassable.  The Lebanon trail is paved (for vehicles) most of the way, with one portion that is a dirt road.  The Park office wasn’t open (it was a Sunday) so I would like to come back and see what the office had to offer.

Ticks:  0

Jersey Devil sightings: 0

Blazes:

Connector trail to the Batona trail:

Batona Trail:

Batona and Cranberry:

Mount Misery:

One of two blazes I saw for the Lebanon trail:

I have no idea what the heck this one is, it wasn’t on ANY map.  I saw a second one too.  Anyone who knows, leave a comment.

Cranberry Trail:

Hiked:  02/02/2020

2019 Analysis

If I was disappointed I didn’t get out much in 2018, then I would be surprised by my 2019 totals. There were too many extra activities in the summer of 2019 that prevented me from getting to the trails. Of course, the Jersey weather did not hold it’s end of the bargain.

2017 hikes: 12
2018 hikes: 10
2019 hikes: 5

5! That’s all my spreadsheet shows. Seeing that saddens me, especially after vowing in 2018 that I would get out more in 2019. Fortunately, that means I should be able to beat that number this year (and really, I’ve already been out once, so that’s a good start.) I can see the summer shaping up to be busy, but the spring should be a little easier.

2017 miles: 40.45
2018 miles: 41.54
2019 miles: 23.35

As expected, with less trips came less miles. I’m hoping this year to accomplish more miles and more verticle. In reality, that shouldn’t be too hard, as I’ve hiked most of the local parks and now have to drive further to find new trails.

Highlights from this year:

Hacklebarney State Park:  This was a fun hike by the Black River. While it starts out easy by the trailhead, there are tons of rocks along the river. I did this in the Spring, it must be spectacular with color in the Fall.

Bear Mountain State Park: Major Welch Trail. This was probably my favorite hike of the year. I loved the rock scrambling. This was a little bit of a drive, but oh so worth it. Pro Tip: Don’t do this on the hottest/most humid day of the year. Great views!

Of course, I have great plans for the year, let’s see what it brings.

See you on the trails!

Sandy Hook – South Beach Dune Trail – Multi Use Path

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance: 3.99 Miles

Tails:  South Beach Dune Trail, Multi Use Path

My Map:

Sandy Hook is the closest National Park to me, and almost the closest set of trails to me as well.  Sandy Hook is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and the only piece in New Jersey; with the rest in New York.   I have been on Sandy Hook quite a bit, I have documented over 500 hours as a tour guide at the Sandy Hook lighthouse.  But, in going to the lighthouse, I stayed on all the major roads, never really seeing the rest of the park.  Of course, I have frequented the beaches many many times.  Today was supposed to be windy and rainy, yet when I woke up, it was partly cloudy with no rain in the forecast.  True, it was below 40 degrees when I started out, the wind would be the bigger factor.

A variation of this hike is in 50 Hikes in New Jersey, though my version of the book is really really old; old enough that the Multi Use Path is not on the maps in the book.  The hike in the book is a four-mile straight shot, using a shorter South Beach Dune Trail, and ending up in the Fort Hancock historic district.  I opted for a loop, starting on the South Beach Dune trail and returning on the Multi Use Path.  I parked just south of E lot, at the visitor’s center (closed) and started out on the Multi Use Path for a very short distance.

At the first junction, I made a right onto the South Beach Dune trail.

Most of the South Beach Dune Trail is all sand (as expected,) sometimes walking out on the beach.  When the trail headed into the Holly Forrest it became dirt, with a lot of sand.

The holly looked awesome.

There was a side trail that led to Nike Pond, a freshwater pond.  However, it looked like I would not be able to visit today.

A short distance a way, it would be beach walking.  One qualm I had is there are not many blazes to really mark the trail.  I ended up on the beach before I should have, I could have stayed on the trail longer.  It’s tough when you find markers like this:

So, it was on to the beach.  Weather was beautiful:  sun most of the time, with small clouds.  The wind was brutal.  On the beach it was a little colder, in the holly forest – you could hear the wind but it was quite protected.

So…here’s the tricky part.  The map shows a short walk on the beach, then a left turn into the forest.  However, there are NO blazes or signs to show where to turn left.  Here are my notes.

  1.  This is where I came out on to the beach.  The trail headed east from Nike Pond sort of disappears in the dunes and deposits you on the beach.
  2.   At this point, there should be markers/signs/blazes to let you know to make the left hand turn back onto the trail and off the beach.  I, obviously, missed this.  It should be obvious, as you walk past the Nike missile installation.
  3. At the road, I made a left, knowing that I missed the turn.  By making the left here, I know I missed part of the trail.  A shot of the road is below.

A washed-out pillbox and old fortifications.

Shots of the forest.

Eventually the trail ends at the Multi Use Path, an asphalt path that runs the length of Sandy Hook.  Immediately, I came upon the Nike missile base radar installation.

I decided to turn around at the Hallyburton memorial.  In the picture below, you get a good sense of the wind.

At this point I turned around and took the Multi Use Path back.

The wind on the bay side:

The Multi Use Path goes by the missile launch area.

Finally, before the parking lot, I jumped back on the South Beach Dune Trail, where I passed a grove of cactus.

This was a great hike on a nice day (despite the wind.)  I was dressed appropriately so was comfortable the whole way.  I imagine this could be a brutal hike on a hot and humid July or August day.  This was the perfect hike to start the new year.  I did not hike as much as I wanted to last year (stats to come) and I vowed to get out more in the current year – starting out locally was a good start.  I would have liked to have seen more signs and blazes, for a National Park, that was a little surprising.

Ticks:  0

Blazes (sort of):

(I don’t know what that reflector was for…)

(At the end of the trail, I found this marker; I never saw another number.)

Hiked:  1/5/2020

 

Forest Resource Education Center

(This from the Pine Acre Drive entrance)

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance: 5.7 miles

Trails:  Yellow, Red, Blue (parts)

Map:

Edit:  Today is National Take A Hike Day, I knew about this in the past, but had forgotten when I set out today.

This was the first hike in a while, the hazards of hockey season.  And what a day:  42 degrees, cloudy, and windy.  I can’t remember where I heard of this park, but I was glad for a relatively close hike.  I wanted to hike starting at the southern section and I drove down Bowman Road where I had seen a parking lot on the map, but I couldn’t find the pull-off/parking area.  I didn’t know it was down Pine Acre Drive (pictures below.)  In fact, the kiosk picture is from that entrance.  Not finding the entrance, I drove to the Education Center (closed on a Sunday) and modified my hike.

There was one other car in the parking lot, and that gentleman was returning from a walk down the Sensory Trail.  I started with the Yellow (Pine Acre) trail and headed off.  Trails are wide, sandy, and at this time, covered with leaves and pine needles – super comfy to walk.

You have to keep your eyes open, horses can use the trail.

A couple of shots from the trail:

On a cold blustery day, this was the only color I saw:

Hunting is allowed in some areas, I did not see or hear any hunters, but I did see the following:

When I reached the southern entrance to the yellow trail, I took some pictures so I would know where to return to should I want to use this entrance.  Pine Acre Drive is right next to two houses off of Bowman Road, it doesn’t look like much of a road and it is certainly overgrown.

The Yellow trail deposits you back in the parking lot, so I headed off to the Red trail which is named the Firewise trail.  This path was crushed gravel and had numerous interpretive displays.

There were numerous Blue Bird houses with anti-squirrel baffles.  The Blue Birds prey on some of the invasive insects in the area.

On a cold blustery day, this was a good hike, taking me about two hours.  While the trails are well marked, there are other paint markings which I’m not sure what they were marking.  Also, there are numerous forest roads and intersecting trails that are not marked.  However, if you follow the blazes, you shouldn’t get lost.  Bear in mind, the Yellow trail crosses Don Connor Boulevard a couple of times – the road could be busy, but was not on this Sunday.  There was no road noise, and I did not hear any planes overhead either.  I heard a couple of birds, but saw no other wildlife.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked: 11/17/2019

National Parks Free on Veterans Day

I was checking the National Parks Service page on Free Days and I see that on Monday, November 11, 2019, Veterans Day, National Parks will be free.

Those of you with National Parks near by will be able to take advantage of free trails for the day.

Here in New Jersey, we have the following National Parks:

  • The Appalachian Trail  (multiple states)
  • Crossroads of the American Revolution
  • The Delaware Water Gap
  • Ellis Island
  • Gateway National Recreation Area (Sandy Hook, in New Jersey)
  • Great Egg Harbor
  • Lower Delaware
  • Morristown National Historic Park
  • New Jersey Pinelands
  • Patterson Falls
  • Thomas Edison National Historic Park
  • Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route  (multiple states)

There are many miles of trails to walk and lots of history to absorb.

Weltz Park

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  1.99 Miles

Trails:  Sweetbriar Trail, Eastern Loop, and an unmarked trail

Map:

I had some time to kill, and I just recently learned there was a Monmouth County park in Ocean Township.  Weather was great, partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-70s.  I almost didn’t break a sweat during the walk.

There’s a pull-off, right off West Park Avenue, that fits 5-7 cars comfortably.  The trails start off with a wide dirt road.

Most of the trails are sand or dirt, no rocks to speak of, and no elevation change.  A good portion of the trails were mowed paths through fields.

A bat house:

I was hiking along fine until:

Now what?

According to the map, I should have headed left.  Consulting AllTrails, there was a whole new trail to the left.  Of course, this is not on the trail map provided by the Park System.  (By the way, print one off, if you want one, there were none at the kiosk.)  I chose right, and added on to the hike.

The grass along side the paths was taller than me in some spots.

I was surprised to find cactus here:

This was a great way to kill an hour or so.  You really can’t get lost.  Some of the unmarked side trails appear to head off to the properties to the East of the park.

Ticks:  0

Blazes (I think I captured every signpost on the trails.  There are no actual blazes):

Hiked:  9/1/2019

 

 

Bear Mountain State Park – Major Welch Trail and the Appalachian Trail

Park Site

Trail Map

Distance:  3.6 Miles

Trails – Major Welch going up, Appalachian Trail coming down

Map:

This hike has been on my list for a while.  What’s interesting is that I remember going by the park when I was little when we would visit my grandparents.  We would take the Palisades Parkway to the Bear Mountain bridge, cross, and take 9D up.  But, it’s been a long long time since I had been up this way.  Leaving the house a little after 8:00, skies were clear, the sun was out, and it was the middle 70s.  When I got to the park, it was already in the middle 80s.  My plan of attack was to go up the Major Welch as I had heard that there was some rock scrambling on the way up.  Oh, there was.  Just look at the map:  after you go by the lake, and turn off the paved trail, you can see how many contour lines I crossed in a short amount of time.

A little foreshadowing:

I’m pretty sure this guy was circling overhead when I was part way through the rocks.  I think he was just getting a count of how many walked by so he could triage lunch.

Some shots of walking by Hessian Lake:

It was walking on pavement around the lake.  Make sure the lake is immediately to your right – the trail head isn’t the most intuitive.

Here’s where the trail leaves the pavement and the lake.  Read the sign.  That’s the longest 1.5 miles I think I’ve ever walked.  Of course, I started to blow through the rocks when I left the pavement – it wasn’t that bad.

There were some (short) sections that were pretty flat.

There were lots and lots of those stairs.  And yes, they took a toll.

After an immediate left turn, the fun began.  I like rock scrambling as much as the next guy; but wow, this went on for a while – or so it seemed/felt.  These next pictures just don’t do it justice.  There were multiple sections of these immense boulders to scramble up.  And in the heat, it got tiring.

I only managed two pictures.  There were more sections.  At this point there were three or four groups of us leap frogging each other as we passed through the scrambles.  At one point, though, a young woman came RUNNING by us.  She blew by us like we were standing still (we were.)  Just before the top, the trail crosses Perkins Drive, and it’s a nice place to stop and get a drink.  The groups I was with all commented on how someone was RUNNING up that trail.

After crossing the road, and one more scramble, the trail flattens for a bit.

Don’t be surprised at the top, Perkins  Drive stops at the fire tower for people to picnic.  The looks I got when I came out of the woods were priceless.  Probably the best part, there was a soda machine selling  Powerade, maybe the best $3 I have ever spent.  I had plenty of water, but I needed something else.

I looked at the fire tower for a good ten minutes.  After coming up that grueling trail, did I really want to climb the steps to the top to see the view?  No.  But when was I coming back – so of course I climbed.  And I’ll admit, the view was nice.  Supposedly, you could see four states from the top.  But I needed to eat, and finish that Powerade.

My eating rock:

After a good long rest, it was down the Appalachian Trail.

Don’t kid yourself.  Yes, it’s crushed gravel, all the way down – a welcome respite from what I climbed going up.  However, there are a ton of stairs cut out of rock – which I really appreciate – but takes its toll on the way down.

There were a couple of viewpoints on the way down:

To give you an idea on the stairs, I took this picture looking back:

It’s really impressive how this portion of the Appalachian Trail was built.  And, when you reach the bottom, there are interpretive displays on building the trail, and some of the features that make up a trail.  I highly recommend stopping to see the displays.

Another great hike, though if I were to plan it again, I would wait until the temperatures have dropped a bit.  Be prepared when doing this hike.  Bring plenty of water (though there are vending machines at the top.)  And know that the rock scrambling truly is strenuous.  My final verdict:  I loved it, I’ll pay the price tomorrow, but it will be worth it.  One final note: the park was PACKED with people, so get there early.  I didn’t have a problem at 10:00 when I arrived, but I suspect parking would be a premium much after that.  (Side note, it was $10 to get in the park.)

Ticks: 0

(A new feature I’ll add going forward)

Blazes:

Major Welch:

Appalachian Trail:

(Missing:  the piece of the trail at the top, around the fire tower.  Markers had the Major Welch red circle above the AT white blaze.)

Hiked:  7/28/2019