Hike Distance – 9.01 miles
Trails: Red Maple (Red leaf on white), Brink Road (Shay?), AT (White), Jacob’s Ladder (Blue and White)
Mountain – Blue Mountain
I haven’t been in this area of NJ i n quite a while, and it was a great day to get out. Leaving the house I could see my breath. I was the first car to pull into the Lake Ashroe parking lot in Stokes State Forest, and the temperature made it to the 60s. It would reach the middle 70s later in the day. I started without the fleece, and that was a wise move.
This hike starts on the Red Maple trail, which skirts a campground before heading into the woods. The campground seemed full when I went by, and has, by far, the best access to the lake.
The trail is single track until it joins a woods road, named Woods Road. From here on out the trail is wide and fairly level. I should note, this section of the trail was infested with mosquitoes. I couldn’t stop or I would be covered by them. It was so bad during this stretch I though of cutting the hike short. Fortunately, it was only this area that was so bad; no other part of the hike had any bugs to speak of.
I made good time in this section, a) because it was wide and flat, and b) the mosquitoes may have carried me off if tried stopping. At one point I passed a large swamp on my right. I crossed over Brink Road (the Shay trail), saw the gate, but didn’t realize that’s where I needed to turn in order to reach the Appalachian Trail. It wasn’t until the Red Maple leaves the woods road and heads off into the woods towards Tillman Ravine that I realized I missed my turn. Fortunately, I had not gone too far.
The section of Brink Road I used to connect to the AT is not long, maybe a half mile. The Brink Road shelter is on this trail and is about a quarter of a mile from the AT. At the junction, I turned right (southbound) to head up Blue Mountain. A steep climb takes you to some rocks, but there’s no view. In the research I did for this trip, I distinctly remember views. A quick look at the map showed a small descent, then climb to another “top.” After coming out of the woods, and walking through the scrub oak, BAM, views all around, though generally looking north, and west into Pennsylvania. It was a clear day, so I could see far.
If you zoom in on the next picture you can see the High Point tower.
I stopped to eat here, and it was really warm in the sun. From this point I retraced my steps back to Brink Road, and proceed to head north on the Appalachian Trail. This walk was atop the ridge, and there would be views to both sides if the foliage wasn’t already on the trees.
Of course, I stopped to sign the trail register.
Continuing north on the AT, I found a small spur trail that lead to a partial view looking into NJ.
I took the Jacob’s Ladder trail back to the Red Maple trail which would lead to my car. Jacob’s Ladder had one section that was pretty steep, descending a large rock slab. Here’s what it looked like looking back up.
There was one tricky stream crossing just before the junction with the Red Maple. At this point I had only seen about four people in total. When I rejoined the Red Maple trail, I started to see many more people. And when I returned to the lot there were many more cars there, though the lot was not entirely full. After changing, I walked over to see what Lake Ashroe looked like. This is just one end.
4 5 (a far cry from the 20+ of two weeks ago.)
Lantern Flies: 0