Sunday, November 30, 2014

NJ Appalachian Trail - Section 3 - NJ 284 to Vernie Swamp

November 30, 2014

Miles: 6.1 miles
Time: 3 hour 15 minutes
Elevation gain: ?
Year to date miles:  455.8

Rest rooms: None

Parking: NJ 284, in NJ just over the NY border. Room for around 5 cars on pullout off road.

Hike directions:

Start the hike on the same side of the street as the parking area.
Cross a field with a view.
Follow a wide railroad grade trail.
Turn left into the woods (the turn blaze was on a small stump - we missed it and ended up at a non-crossable bridge).
Cross Lott Road.
Cross Quarry Road.
Cross Unionville Road.
Cross Goldsmith Lane (looks like a driveway).
Walk along puncheon over Vernie Swamp.
At some point you are supposed to cross Goldsmith Road, but we never reached it.

Map: Appalachian Trail Conservancy New York / New Jersey Appalachian Trail Guide and Maps

Hike description:
Not our favorite AT hike. This hike is right on the NY/NJ border. There is no hunting in NJ on Sundays, but we regularly heard gunshots. There was around 5" of slushy snow on the ground. Parts of this hike went by backyards of houses. Other parts were seriously overgrown with thorny brush. When we reached the puncheon, we tried walking next to it at first, because it was hard to walk on. Then the ground became too swampy, and we had to walk on the puncheon. It was difficult to walk on - having 5" of snow on it. Yikes. We focused carefully on our feet, trying not to fall. We crossed over a bridge and then walked on more puncheon. Then we basically lost the trail/puncheon. We couldn't see the puncheon under the snow, and we couldn't see any blazes. We did see a wood fence in front of us. We decided not to continue, as I didn't want to end up falling into cold water. We'll try from the other direction once there is no snow on the ground.

Parking pullout is right before this sign

Easy hiking in this section - very flat

This is the turn we originally missed.

One of the road crossings

The beginning of the puncheon - at this point we were still walking to the side of it.

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