Hike Distance: 1.02 Miles
Trails: White Oak trail
Another hike while still “shut down.” Great Swamp is another park that is a relatively short drive from home, so I figured I would explore this. Reading about it in 50 Hikes of New Jersey (the really old edition,) I noticed that they called out that this would be one of the wettest hikes in their book that you would undertake. Further, it rained the night before I went up. However, it was bright and sunny, so I figured this would be interesting.
And interesting it was. There are two longish out-and-back hikes that have separate trailheads. I planned on walking the longer one. After parking and getting ready, I walked in…only to find shin-deep mud. I bushwacked and stayed as dry as possible, looking for passable routes. Nope, none. After about a quarter mile (and an hour of walking) I turned around and sought the other trail head. Unfortunately, it was much the same. I don’t mind a little mud, but the hiking was long for such a short distance, and upon scouting what was in front of me, it didn’t appear to be getting better, on the contrary; it was getting worse.
I realize the park is a wildlife refuge, and as such trails are not “maintained” to the degree that other parks maintain trails. The trails and the park are left to nature. I resolved to come back another day, such as after a week of no rain – maybe it would dry out a little.
On the way out of the park I passed the visitor’s center, and happened to see a trailhead out of the corner of my eye. So, turning around, I parked and investigated. It was too nice a day to drive the distance I did for nothing. I found the White Oak trail, which was a short loop right across from the the parking lot. This trail was split between a meadow walk and a short jaunt into the woods.
A couple of pictures:
The large white oak tree: