Terrace Pond – West Loop

Park Site – a note here:  The trails are located in Wawayanda State Park, however they appear on the Abram Hewitt map.

Trail Map – here is the official map, linked to the site.  However, trails have been re-blazed.  This map is much better (until the official map is updated.)

Hike  Distance:  4.9 miles

Trails:  Terrace Pond Loop (Yellow)

My Map:

The weather was supposed to be nice, with rain coming in the week, so I figured I would head out again.  When I reached the pond, with the sun out, it was pretty hot.  But, overcast moved in, and the temperature dropped though out the day.  I did this hike clockwise, which put the scrambling and the ups and downs at the beginning of the hike.  As you move away from the pond, you will go downhill and finish up on a woods road, and a smaller trail.

A note about the pond, swimming is NOT allowed, not that I had planned it.  There is ample signage both at the trailhead and at the pond.    Bear in mind that much of the edge of the pond is surrounded by rock and if you get in trouble, search and rescue will take a while to reach you.  While I was at the pond, it was starting to fill up with people – hiking just to the pond is a nice hike.

A note on parking:  I got to drive on New Jersey’s most haunted road.  I had read about this road often enough in Weird NJ, so it was fun to actually visit this landmark.  I can safely say I didn’t experience anything.  Park in lot P-7, when I arrived at 9:00 in the morning I was the third car; when I returned a little after 12:00, the lot was packed.  Walk across the street to the trailhead.

The new blazes really stand out, and are spaced appropriately.  They’re easy to see – maybe because they are so new.  The hike starts out on nice wide trails, and early on you will cross some streams.

The big rocks are a nice touch.

The Ents are still asleep.

After a short distance, you will arrive at a power-cut, make a right, and head up.

Puddingstone!

You won’t go up the whole hill, but will turn part way up.  At that turn is a nice view.

There will be a couple of good scrambles before you reach the pond.

From the top of this scramble, there is another nice view.

With leaves down, it’s easier to pick out anything not brown.  Unfortunately, no mushrooms on this hike.

Rock Greenshield Lichen
Smooth Rock Tripe
Eastern Teaberry

Just before reaching the pond, there will be a good-sized scramble that ends at this fin-shaped rock.

The trail goes around the rock, but you can scramble to the top for a great view.  I did not.  There’s not a lot to stand on, and a sheer drop on the other side.  Crawling most of the way to the top, I can vouch that the view is nice.

More puddingstone

Eventually you will reach the pond, and connect with the Circular Trail (White.)  I put the pond about a third of the way into the hike.  While there is some minor scrambling after the pond, you’re mostly done with the hard stuff.

After leaving the pond, and going over some rocks, I came to this smallish cave.  You can see that it goes back a bit, and there’s water; but I wasn’t willing to find out who might be napping in there.

Haircap Moss

There were a couple of sections of the trail that were just perfect to walk…wide dirt trails covered in pine needles.

Desiccated puffball

Eventually the trail will wind down to a swamp, and join a woods road.  You will go over three drainage pipes, that form small cascades across the road from the swamp.

Follow the woods road for a while.

Bracket fungi

Eventually, the road will veer left, with the trail making a hard right, and becoming more of a trail than a road.  You will follow this back to the trailhead.

Flat-Branched Tree Club-Moss

Just before descending to the trailhead there is a good-sized Rhododendron tunnel to pass through.

This is another great hike.  I may attempt the northern loop in the future as a new trail has been cut to form a true loop.  I can imagine this hike would be much more crowded in the summer and nicer weather.  Because of the popularity of the pond, I did come across more people, but not the insane crowds on some of my previous hikes.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked:  11/21/2020

Stairway to Heaven

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  7.7 miles

Trails:  Appalachian, blue

My Map:

(a note on my map, I forgot to un-pause GPS after sitting, but I essentially retraced my steps.)

There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to Heaven
When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Oh oh oh oh and she’s buying a stairway to Heaven

Like the famous song, this hike is usually listed in the top three hikes of New Jersey.  The scenery is gorgeous.  The boardwalks and suspension bridge are great.  The “Stairway to Heaven” portion of the the Appalachian Trail is steep and rugged, but the payoff is totally worth it.

This had been on my to do list for a long time; but since I knew it was such popular hike I had to find the right time to do it.  The Sunday of Labor Day seemed as good as any.  Be warned, parking is crazy:  lots are small, the parking on the road in the Pochuk Valley is limited, and the local towns are fierce with their ticketing.  I left the house at 6:00 in the morning, figuring if I got there “too early” I could nap.  I was the 5th car by the boardwalks, arriving at 8:00.  But, I couldn’t nap, so I headed out.

This hike is an out an back.  From Pinwheel Vista at the top of Wawayanda Mountain, retrace your steps.  I’ve divided this hike up into three sections:  The Pochuck Valley boardwalk, the middle, and Stairway to Heaven, with the terminus at Pinwheel Vista.

There’s a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings
In a tree by the brook
There’s a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiving

The first section contains the boardwalks of Pochuck Valley, and there were plenty of people just walking the boards.  It was 59 degrees when I started, and the temps were only supposed to get into the low 70s.  Boardwalks are easy going, and I made the best time here.  But the scenery is incredible; lots of wild flowers.  There were tons of crickets, making a symphony of noise.   Bozza’s Aria it wasn’t.

One of the neatest features is the suspension bridge over Pochuck Creek.

Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it makes me wonder

The next section I deemed the middle, and it roughly started at the bike path at Canal Road.  It was here that the boardwalk ended, and I moved into the woods; hard-packed dirt and a wide trail.  Due to the constant shade, it was noticeably cooler on this section.

Also, there were a handful of stiles to go over the fences; though some of the fences were missing.  (I still went over the stiles when I could.)

The stile above deposited you into a farm where there were cows (not until my way back.)  And yes, you had to watch where you walked.

And yes, that’s Wawayanda Mountain in the background.  Imposing.

There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who standing looking

Upon crossing the last stile you’re deposited in the roadway.  Be careful crossing, cars go flying by.  (There’s also a dairy farm a short trip up the road, I didn’t stop, it was too crowded.)  Here, for a small lot, there were a ton of cars.  All of these people were just climbing the mountain to head to Pinwheel Vista.  I apologize, there are not too many pictures of the climb up….you’ll understand in a minute.

These pictures don’t do it justice.  And really, there are a lot of “stairs.”  A.  LOT.  Plus, in some sections it gets pretty steep.  I didn’t break out the poles because there were sections where you needed at least one hand in addition to your feet to climb. Looking at my split times, this section had the slowest time.  Parts of it were brutal.  And it was slow going with the number of people out today.

And it’s whispered that soon, If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter

You’ll know you’ve reached the top when you reach the humongous pile of rocks.  Head to the left to get to Pinwheel Vista.

I, however, wanted to see the mailbox for AT thru hikers, which was less than a half-mile down the path.

Coming back from the mailbox, make a right at the pile of rocks and head to Pinwheel Vista.  It is easy to see why this trail ranks so highly, the views are definitely worth it.

It was so clear I could see the High Point monument directly across from me (way in the distance.)  And you could just barely see Mt. Tammany in the Water Gap.  I sat for quite a while, as it was an exhausting climb and I needed water and something to eat.

If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow
Don’t be alarmed now
It’s just a spring clean for the May queen
Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on
And it makes me wonder

To get back, retrace your steps.  I left Pinwheel Vista at the perfect time, a little before noon.  There was an endless stream of people coming up – switchbacks were jammed up, basically with traffic jams.  And I saw people on those rocks with flipflops and crocs and no water or anything to eat.  I tried to keep a good pace going down, but didn’t want to overtake the family in front of me.  Two little girls were bounding on the rocks until one pulled up sharply and shrieked.

A New Jersey Black Rat snake.  I got a good picture and high tailed it out of there.

I think I stopped counting around 300 people that I passed, and it surely had to be more.

Your head is humming and it won’t go
In case you don’t know
The piper’s calling you to join him
Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow?
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

On the way back down I was able to stop at Annie’s Bluff, which was packed with people when I was climbing.  It was a limited view, but nice none-the-less.

Upon reaching the bottom it was a relatively flat return to the car.  However, the cows were out.

And I spotted this guy basking in the sun.

There were tons of people on the boardwalk and I got back to my car around 1:00.  The road was packed and there were people still showing up, I suspect many were only walking the boardwalk.

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll
And she’s buying a stairway to Heaven

All in all, this was a great hike; it’s easy to see why this hike ranks so highly in polls.  The Pochuck Valley and middle sections are easy enough, you will work hard on “the Stairs.”  But the payoff is worth it.  The trail is super easy to follow, it’s the Appalachian Trail.  Supposedly the trail to the vista is blazed blue, but I didn’t see any blazes.

My only concern is the amount of litter on the trail, presumably a factor of the amount of people. I saw masks, paper towels, tissues, etc.  In fact, I kept my mask on from the time I left the Vista until I reached my car due to the number of people.  If you can do this hike mid-week or in sub optimal weather, do it.  I had no solitude today.

Ticks:  0

Blazes:

You only need to know one….

Hiked: 9/6/2020

Thanks to Robert, Jimmy, John, and John for allowing me this cliche comparison.

High Point State Park

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  7.5 miles

Trails:  Iris, Appalachian, Monument/Shawangunk Ridge, Cedar Swamp

My Map:

This would be some hike.  I believe that this would be the furthest I drive for a hike in New Jersey as this was a long drive; but a really nice day.  I had never been to High Point or the monument even though it is widely known.  The monument is not open due to the pandemic, it is unlikely that I would have climbed it even if it was open.  Forget the fact that I would have just come up a steep section of the Monument/Shawangunk Ridge trail, I’m not sure I could do the steps.

I started this hike at the Appalachian Trail pull off lot, which was good-sized and empty by the time I got there.  I took the connector to the Iris trail, which is part of the Appalachian Trail until Route 23 and the park office.  I was a little disoriented when I came to Route 23 as I knew I had to cross the road, but I wasn’t sure where the trail picked up.  It became very obvious.

The next section on the Appalachian Trail was pretty strenuous, and I was beginning to think of the other week at Apshawa.  Lots and lots of rocks.  And some pretty steep sections as well.  I usually hike in long pants to keep the ticks/bugs off me.  They are the pants that zip off above the knees to convert to shorts.  It was pretty warm, around 85, and somewhat humid; I considered zipping them off when I got to the monument for some relief.  I found the observation deck on the AT and rested a moment before the next leg – which consisted of a descent into a small valley, then a hike uphill to the monument.

The Appalachian Trail will meet the Monument/Shawangunk Ridge Trail, and that’s where I left the Appalachian.  There is one section of this trail that runs straight uphill to the back of the monument.  The rest at the top was totally worth it.  It was here that I thought I would convert my pants to shorts, but after sitting for a few minutes I started to realize it was a little chilly.  It’s a perfect spot for a snack and by the time I had finished eating, people watching, wandering around the monument I was cooled off.  I took a picture looking back at the observation deck.

Be advised that there is a parking lot about 100 yards from the monument and it gets crowded.  I know I got some looks from people as I emerged from the trail dripping with sweat and probably looking like I would collapse.

Here’s where it got interesting for me.  I wanted to continue on the Monument/Shawangunk Ridge trail to find the Cedar Swamp trail.  Monument/Shawangunk Ridge continues on the other side of the parking lot.  While crossing the parking lot I felt something flapping on my left boot.  I took a look and I could see where the boot was separating from the sole.  Sigh.  Now what?  I’m a little under two miles in.  It has gotten partly cloudy, to the point that rain may be arriving.  And I have a boot that may be failing.  Looking at the topo map I saw that there wasn’t too much elevation change.  My questions would be a) what if really started raining? and b) could I make it back over the AT if I needed to?

I decided to press on.

Not a bad decision.  I just had to manage that left boot.  Which held up pretty well.  At a break, I looked at the right boot, and I could see where it too was starting to fail.  Granted, these boots were almost 20 years old, but only used heavily the last five years.

I found the Cedar Swamp trail and completed that circuit.  Backwards I found out.  Typically that trail starts from the parking lot east of Lake Marcia.  The park has set the trail direction as clockwise.  I entered the trail from the Monument/Shawangunk Ridge trail, didn’t see signs, and walked counter-clockwise.  Fortunately, I didn’t see many people, but wondered why I got funny looks from the people I did pass.  When I got to the trail “start” I saw the signs for the temporary directions.  The Cedar Swamp trail was nice, cool, relatively level, and very different from the surrounding terrain.

I finished the loop and got back on the Monument/Shawangunk Ridge trail to complete my loop back towards the AT.  Where the Shawangunk Ridge trails bears right to New York I stopped to take a picture at one of the view points.  I believe that’s Port Jervis in the distance.

I’m pretty sure that’s New York state in the distance.

I continued on the Monument Trail.  After a little bit I noticed some good elevation changes, one of which became pretty rocky.  And, my left boot was becoming worse.  I quickly realized I was going to have to make some decisions soon.  Coming out of the woods, I followed the trail down to Marcia Lake.  The sun was out, it was a little warmer so I stopped to eat and rest again. There’s a beach at the far end, and it was packed with people; some swimming in the lake.

Looking at my boot I realized I would not make it back over the AT.  I decided to road walk the rest of the way back.  And honestly, even without the boot problem, this might have been the better decision as the walk around the lake was extremely pleasant, albeit warmer.

After exiting the park I had a short road walk on Route 23 south, probably a quarter mile or so.  About 300 yards from the AT parking lot, the boot and sole separated.  I am extremely thankful it happened here, rather than on the trail somewhere.  Big lesson learned – I’m now carrying a small role of duct tape for these kinds of situations.

I really enjoyed this hike, I’d like to come back and hike some of the southern area from the parking lot.  The mental stress of the hike was certainly a distraction, but being better prepared on my part would alleviate that.  The AT parking lot was not full when I returned and is a great place to park if you don’t want to pay the fees and/or don’t mind the the extra walk.

Ticks:  0

Blazes:

Cedar Swamp marker

Hiked:  7/3/2020

Princeton Battlefield State Park / Institute Woods

Park Site

Trail Map

Hike Distance:  6.33 Miles

Tails:  Many (of the named ones:  Corfield, Far, River’s Edge, Marsh, Oden & Trolley Track)

My Map:

In the midst of the quarantine, and with parks open for the first week, I thought I would find some place relatively secluded where I could ramble the trails.  And in this case, I wanted to find the swinging bridge.  Arriving at the park early enough there were only six other cars in the parking, which I thought might be a good sign.

I started by hiking out down the road, thinking I would take a trail that skirted the woods and would pick up the River’s Edge trail.  After walking down the road, I found where the map AND AllTrails indicated the turn to towards the woods should be.  However, that trail doesn’t exist.  So, it was back up the road, with the sun blazing down.  I eventually turned on the Cornfield trail by the marker.

Once inside Institute Woods, trails would be wide and packed dirt, with occasional roots.  It’s easy walking with no elevation gain; and it is really hard to get lost – even though blazes are sporadic and trails are only named on the map.  And, there are numerous unmarked trails.

However, I was off to find the bridge.  The path by the river’s edge is very nice, the water moving faster than I expected.  After some time, found it:

The Swinging Bridge

Following the trail on the other side of the bridge led to the Delaware & Raritan Canal and trail of the same name.  However, a rockhop over the canal would be necessary; the rocks were spaced a bit and I didn’t have trekking polls to help balance.  Another day.

I hiked down to the viewing stand and walked around the marsh.  If you are into birding, this is a great place to watch the birds, with a clear view while remaining hidden in the trees.

While walking I got to see a little wildlife:

Frogs in the creeks
Always, ever present, deer

Finally, I walked along the old trolley track and took the trail up to the Columns.  I didn’t hike out to the columns because there were too many people – and I was trying to stay away.

When I got back to the parking lot, there were easily 30+ cars jammed in; and cars lining the driveway.  People were all over the place, and no one was social distancing.  I guess cabin fever crept in.  After unloading, I walked to see the Clarke House, but from a distance.  As there were so many people I figured to come back another day.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked: 5/17/2020

Kittatiny Valley State Park

Park Site

Trail Map:  1 & 2   <— 2 is better, it shows more of the unmarked trails

Hike Distance 5.02 miles

Trails:  White, Yellow, Red, Blue, and a bunch of unmarked trails

My Map:

It was the first weekend of parks being open, so I figured I would make the most of it.  I started out in rain, though by the time I got to the park, the sun was out and it was warming up.  The lot was crowded, mostly with bikes, dogs, and a few people running.  I did see a couple of horses.  Once I got into the woods, I rarely saw anyone; which was nice.  I saw plenty of people out on the lake and when I reached the airport.  Yes, I said airport.

Sorry, no payphone this post.

I started on white, which quickly went up on the ridge.  The trails were wide, soft dirt, with rocks strewn in; but it was easy walking.

I especially like walking next to Lake Aeroflex (I think now named Lake Wawayanda.)  The trail came pretty close to the water, and there were some spots where it would have been pretty easy to fall in.

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Lake Aeroflex / Wawayanda

The trail comes to a little dock with a great view of the lake.  Next to it is an old wall, I took the picture looking back.

Old fireplace

Next to this fireplace was a trail that led down to the water.  At one point the YMCA Wawayanda camp for boys was here, and I suspect that trail led to a boat launch of some kind.

A few minutes more walking brought me to the Aeroflex Andover Airport.  This was the coolest spot, and one other spot where I saw other people.  There were multiple benches where one could sit and watch the planes take off and land.  After getting a selfie with a plane landing, I plopped down on a hill to watch for a while.  The planes would land by coming right over the lake; and took off going away from it.  While I was there I saw four or five takeoffs and landings.

A takeoff

After sitting for a few minutes, it was back to the hike.

While heading towards the Sussex Branch trail, I found this rock.

A few minutes further down the trail I ran into an issue, easily six inches of water cover the trail for about 10 yards.  I had to bushwhack around it.

Towards the southern end of the park there are many unmarked trails.  It looks like there is a new Andover Loop trail (not marked on my map, and with smaller trails branching off it.)  I found my way to the Blue trail, but not using the path I intended.

Andover Loop Trail

Coming back up the Blue trail was nice.  Atop a hill there was a nice view of White’s Pond, which my initial path would have taken me closer to.

All in all this was a great hike.  It’s not often you hike to an airport.  The trails were not too strenuous, and it seemed pretty hard to get lost in the park, even on some of the unmarked trails.  I highly recommend, for the airport alone.

Ticks: 0

Blazes:

Hiked: 5/3/2020

Hacklebarney State Park

Park Site

Trail Map – (as you can see by the picture above, the kiosk was a mess when I arrived around 9 in the morning.  Fortunately, I had a printout of the trail map.  When I finished the hike and returned by this kiosk, park rangers were neatening and restocking the maps.)

Distance:  3.66 miles

Trails:  Riverside -> Windy Ridge -> Main Trail -> Playground Trail -> Upland -> Main Trail

Map:

When I left the house in the morning there was bright sun.  Upon getting to Hacklebarney State Park it was cloudy and hovering around 51 degrees.  The forecast called for 60% chance of rain, but I wasn’t letting a chance of rain deter my first hike of the year.  I should probably pay more attention to forecasts, at least this wasn’t as bad as the Jockey Hollow hike last year.

I hiked my route counter-clockwise, when looking at the map, which started me on the Riverside trail.  This trail starts off on a pseudo paved trail until it descends to the river.  I noticed lots and lots of picnic tables and each table had a charcoal grill by it.  Some of the tables by the water are pretty far from the lot, I’m wondering how many people schlep picnics that far.  Also, I noticed numerous water fountains – none in operation.  Note:  on this day, the only restrooms open were at the trailhead.  Both of the other restrooms were closed.

Heading off the Main trail, onto Riverside:

Crossing Trout Brook:

I really liked this portion of the trail (despite the pavement) due to walking by the brook.  It’s pretty loud and can be heard from a good distance.

Spring is trying to come forth (even though it was 51 when I took this picture.)

Before reaching the Black River, there is a little rock scramble down to Trout Brook to see the falls.

You really get a sense of the trail surface from this next picture.  And yes, you had to squeeze through the fallen trees to continue.

For 90% of the hike, I noticed many many downed trees.  (The one above was recent.)  Upon coming to a sign at the end of the hike, I learned that most of the trees fell during Sandy.  And, the sign continued, there was work ongoing (though not today) to clear dead trees such that invasive species did not take the spots of the fallen trees.  Interesting.

The Black River was great to hike along.

That would be it for the paved trails though until I climbed back up closer to the parking lot.  Along the Black River the Riverside Trail became a rock scramble, a bit more strenuous than the pavement.

It was like that for almost a mile.  Today, while hiking this stretch, I noticed many fishermen along both banks.  Apparently, there is good trout fishing in the Black River – which was stocked on Friday.

Partway down the Black River I came to bridge where Trout Brook fed into the Black River.

More rocks.

A little further along I came to Rhinehart Brook which was smaller than Trout Brook.  I could see cascades up the brook.

And here is where Rhinehard Brook joins the Black River.

At this point I noticed it was starting to rain.  Fortunately, leaves were sprouting from the trees, and not much rainfall was reaching the forest floor.  I could hear it though.

At the southern end of the park were two pillars marking the park boundary.  If you kept walking past the pillars you entered land belonging to the Black River Fish and Game Club.  It is adequately marked.  I walked far enough to take this picture.

From here I took the Riverside Trail until it crossed Rhinehart Brook and I joined the Windy Ridge Trail.  While shorter, there was a steep section that started the climb back.  I hiked the trail to its junction with the Main Trail.  Here, I detoured on to the green trail heading towards the Upland Trail, by a playground.  I had read on other blogs that there was an observation tower.

Found it.

And what could you see?

I doubt if the overcast hid anything.  I wasn’t sure what the tower was actually pointed at.  Anyway, it was back on the Upland Trail heading back to the Main Trail that I would take to the parking lot.

I heard a rustle, and realizing I was in bear country, I scanned around.

Later on Upland Trail, up in some trees

A giant turkey vulture.  I kept walking.

This was a great hike, despite the light rain that fell at the end and the paved portions of trails.  If the whole thing had been paved I would have been disappointed.  But the sections along Trout Brook and the Black River were awesome.  I am definitely coming back on a sunny day, and possibly in the fall to see the colors.  I suspect it will be much more crowded, but I think it will be worth it.  Trails were well marked and easy to follow.

Ticks: 0

Hiked:  4/28/2019

Cheesequake State Park – Yellow and Blue (with a little Red)

Park Site

Trail Map  <- important, see below

Distance:  3 Miles

Trails:  Yellow -> Blue -> Red

Map:

Saturday, December 29th was a warm day for December.  I had some time to kill in the afternoon and ended up at Cheesequake State Park to hike the Blue trail, which I had not hiked previously.  My original plans were to hike on Sunday, but I saw potential rain, and lower temperatures in the forecast.  I left my house around 1:00 p.m. so I knew I couldn’t do anything real long.  Temperatures were in the middle 50s, and it started out sunny, but became overcast as the afternoon wore on.

Driving to the parking lot, I came across this sign:

However, when I got to the lot, I discovered it packed.  And, throughout the afternoon I noticed the same thing, the trails were packed.  There were more people on the trails than I had probably seen on trails all year.  I get it, the last Saturday of the year, people had been together all week, mild temperatures, sun….definitely a great day to get out.  Fortunately, I neither saw or heard hunters.

I started out on the Yellow trail which I had hiked before, it’s rather short, and makes for a good warmup.  Without leaves on the trees, there were good views of Hooks Creek Lake.

“They” say that 2018 has been one of the wettest years on record for our area.  There was rain on Friday, but for the most part trails were ok (except as noted below.)  However, creeks and streams were all gurgling.

There were numerous spots along the trails where good-sized puddles existed, some puddles had deep water.  Many times there were enough rocks or roots that you could effectively hop across.  This would not be the case in the picture below, and little creative bushwhacking would be in order.

There was one place where you had to be careful, and that was coming down some of the hills.  Leaves had gathered near the roots of trees, and you had be careful stepping into them; as you didn’t know how deep the pile would be.  Only once did I almost stumble, probably before this picture as it is what prompted me to take the picture.  The picture doesn’t do the hill justice – not that they were real tall or steep, but the picture is taken looking downhill.

Walking through the woods was peaceful.  And, I was in an area of Cheesequake I had not hiked before.  The sun came out as I reached Perrine Pond, where I stopped to enjoy the sun.  I had a fleece on and it was perfect for the temperatures.

Here’s where it got a little tricky.  I had printed out an old(er) map of Cheesequake (one I used on a previous hike) and was following Blue around the pond.  When, all of a sudden:

I was not attempting to ford that.  Retracing my steps, I came to where the previous picture of Perrine Pond was taking.  At the waterfowl blind, I realized the trail went left.  More signs noting that turn would be helpful.  And, removing the signs on Blue to where the trail stops would be helpful as well.  Although, along that route was an osprey nest and nice views of the marshland.  Worth the extra walk.

No real problem, I followed Blue around the near edge of the pond, found where it met up with the “old” trail, then followed the old trail to see the other side of where it ended:

This is why, if you look at my AllTrails trail map, above; you will notice I almost completely encircle Perrine Pond.  In the map that I link to, the trail is correctly annotated.

I followed Blue until I came upon the “Great Junction” of Blue, Green, and Red.  I have hike Green in the past, noticed that Blue follows Perrine Road back to the parking lot, so called an audible and walked on Red.  Red sort of paralleled the road, then met up with Green, and was familiar at this point.

All in all it was a great hike and I was pleased to get out.  While the trails were crowded there were still plenty of spots of solitude and silence.  I saw the usual squirrel militia, no dear, and a couple of hawks.

Ticks: 0

Hiked:  12/29/2018

Cheesequake State Park

Cheesequake State Park was a park I had visited many many moons ago as part of a Boy Scout campout.  I only remember one part of the trail (which I would pass through on this hike) and I remember that it rained.  I remember not wanting to camp in the rain after that.  On this day, the sun was out – it was in the 60s, which made for great hiking weather.  As it was before Memorial Day, there were no fees, and the parking lot was not that full.

The plan for the day was to do the Yellow Trail into the Green trail.  All trails here are well marked, the trails are easy to walk, with only a couple of hills.  Junctions are well marked both with signs and blazes, so you are not likely to make any mistakes.  Trails cross access roads, and they are very easy to pick up on the other side of the road.  There were benches every so often, which is a nice touch for those who want a quick rest.

My favorite part of the hike was the section of the Green trail that was made up of boardwalks.  This section of the park was pretty swampy, and there were some sections that bordered on the creek with lots of water.

After the boardwalks, the trail goes through a section of White Pine trees that is really nice.  Before coming up to the campground, the trail goes by the Giant Beech tree.

Before the Beech Tree, and while you are heading back towards the trail head, there is a section with a couple of hills.  Certainly, there is not a lot of altitude, but after walking a couple of miles of flat trails, the hills add some strenuous activity.

I had a lot of fun at Cheesequake and look forward to coming back to do some of the other trails.  Having only walked the Yellow and Green trails, there are other sections and trails to explore.

Hiked:  4/14/2017