Roebling Memorial Park

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance – 5.13 miles

Trails – Bluff Trail (red), Abbott Brook Trail (yellow), Spring Lake Trail (blue), Island Trail (orange), Annabelle Trail (white)

My Map

I had not gotten out in over month.  The holidays, commitments, you name it; it all conspired to prevent me from getting out.  I had planned to go somewhere last week, but we got a foot of snow on Saturday, and I did not feel like driving in that kind of weather.  So, today was the first day to get out.  And that I did.  In 26 degree weather.  With the wind blowing.  It was sunny, so once moving, it didn’t feel that bad – and the forests and wooded areas kept the wind down.

There’s a lesson to be learned here as well.  I’m pretty thorough in planning my trips, I like to keep the real surprises to a minimum.  I can’t help trail closures, or re-routes, or detours.  Roebling Memorial Park is the northern most part of the Abbott Marshlands.  There are other trails that go through the marshlands, including the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail which I did sections of last year.  So, in planning the trip for today, I looked at the map and thought I would take the Tidal Water Trail all by the creek, down to the Delaware and Raritan Canal, and figure out a way back.  Until I looked a little closer.  The Tidal Water Trail is trail for canoes and kayaks.  So, a little scrambling led me Roebling Memorial Park and the trails it contained.

Trails were wide and flat.  It rained all day yesterday, but the temperature plummeted last night, and everything froze.  Flooded out sections of the trail were easy to walk through.  And sections of the trail that appeared to be normally muddy were just a little crunchy.

There wasn’t too much green.  Most of the green was made up of Holly Trees.

Up on the hill I could see Route 295.

Many of the trails contained a light dusting of snow from yesterday’s storm.

Crossing the bridge below, I could hear the ice creak and crack.

Very slippery

On the Abbott Brook Trail I had to cross over the water.  To do so meant crossing a bridge made of planks that had roofing shingles and small fencing wrapped around.  It was still slippery and one misstep landed you in frigid water.  I took my time over this.  I’m not sure it would have been much easier in warmer weather.

the marshlands

One the way to Spring Lake I passed an outlet for water to flow into the marshlands.  Normally, I don’t like graffiti, but both sides of this were painted appropriately.

Silver Lake was mostly frozen over.  There were spots of open water that the geese were swimming in.  Definitely no hockey here.

There was at one time an amusement park up the hill from the lake called White City.  It allegedly had rides including a Ferris wheel and merry go round.  The rides are long gone, but the “grand staircase” that led from the rides to the lake still remains.

There were a couple of beaver lodges in and around the lake.

The Annabelle trail is where I found all the mushrooms and fungi.

Lots of cattails, all round the lake.

And plenty of evidence of said beavers.

I was surprised to find this – as I saw plenty of signs prohibiting hunting.

On the Island trail there were a couple of spots that had benches facing the sun.  And while it was cold out, and the wind was fierce; sitting in the sun felt pretty nice.  I imagine in the summer these spots are pretty hot during the day.

Just off the Island trail was a little spur trail.  As I was surrounded by water, I figured I would see where it leads.

While nice, this is definitely not built by the park system.  In fact, it was pretty precarious going out.  There is a nice view at the end though.

Roebling Memorial Park was the perfect hike to begin the year.  The mileage was just right, and it was a good warm up for getting back into the trails.  Upon leaving I saw more cars, and I can imagine in the summer the park can be crowded.

Ticks: 0


Spring Lake isn’t really blazed. This is the closest I found to a blaze.

Hiked: 2/5/2022

Baldpate Mountain

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance: 7.21 Miles

Trails:  Summit Trail (Blue), NW Loop (Red), Ridge Trail (White), Kuser (Green), Cooper Hill (Orange)

My Map:

After two weeks of cold and rain, it was time to get out on the trails.  Leaving my house it was cloudy and about 45.  The sun would come out as I crested Baldpate mountain and the temperature would warm up to about 60 making for some perfect hiking weather.

This hike was the perfect warm-up, even though I I did a good stretch of the Delaware and Raritan Canal two weeks ago.  Baldpate Mountain, at Ted Stiles Preserve, has some minor elevation, very minor scrambling, but mostly flat dirt trails.  Be warned, though, the northern east-west section of the NW Loop had sections with very deep mud.  I also encountered mud on the Kuser  and Cooper Hill trail where very small streams flow down the middle of the trail.  Trails can be used by bicycles (I saw none) and horses (I saw one.)

Right off the bat I saw what appears to grow all over Mercer County, garlic mustard.

On both sides of the trail, all over the park is plenty of Multiflora Rose, an invasive species.  And this is all over.

A little further, I found some fungi in the rose bush, Little Nest Polypore.

Little Nest Polypore

And when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for an instant, I saw:

cut leaved Toothwort

All this was found on the beginning of the Summit Trail.  I hadn’t gone far.  The trail winds up Strawberry Hill, and there are a couple of good scrambles.

Before reaching the Strawberry Hill Lodge, there was more to see.

Bloodroot (before the sun came out)
Lesser Calendine
Siberian Squill

Once at the top I explored the grounds of the Strawberry Hill Lodge – which looks like a great reception center on expansive grounds and a view of the Delaware River (though maybe not with leaves on the trees.)

Heading to the NW Loop, I stumbled across a patch of Virginia Bluebells.

Virginia Bluebells

I had to bushwack around some serious mud while on the NW Loop.  And, it climbs steeply to get back to the Ridge Trail.  The Ridge Trail is mostly flat, somewhat-wide packed dirt.

Every so often I ran into unblazed trails with an ominous sign.

Where the Summit Trail junctions with the Ridge Trail are a couple of old farm buildings, part of the Welling/Burd Farmstead.  On the way back, I would turn here to visit the pond.

Just before cresting Baldpate Mountain, I came across an area with many trees cut down.  I have no idea for the reason, and some of the trees looked really tall.

Right after this I was passed by a rider on a horse.

The Ridge Trail ends at a parking lot, and when I got there the sun was out, and there were two horse trailers parked.  A power cut runs through the parking lot, I took the Kuser trail which followed the cut for a short while.

False Turkey Tail
Bloodroot (in the sun)

The Cooper Hill trail climbs up to junction with the Ridge Trail (in order to make my way back.)  Along the way I came across the ruins of an old house.

I took the Ridge Trail all the way back to the farm buildings and turned left on the Summit trail headed towards a pond.  Behind a building on the pond is a secluded concrete slab which made the perfect place for lunch.  People passed by on the Summit Trail, and probably had no idea I was there.   The fish were picking the insects off the water’s surface, and frogs were croaking – the perfect spot for lunch.

After lunch it was a quick jaunt down the Summit Trail back to the car.

Turkey Tail

This is a great place to hike, there are enough trails to make loops of any mileage.  Do note that there are some muddy spots.  And while there are some ascents and descents, it’s nothing too strenuous.  The trails are a pleasure to walk on, and there is ample signage.  I got there by about 8:30 in the morning and was the fourth car in the lot.  When I returned, the lot was full.

Ticks: 0


Hiked:  4/4/2021