Posts Tagged With: New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

Watching the Warblers at Watchung

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One of the trailheads for the History Trail at Watchung Reservation, near the Trailside Nature and Science Center.

Well, now, trail heads, you’ve probably been wondering where your trail head in chief has been this winter.

I wish I could tell you that I was off on a long-distance hike in Australia or South America, or perhaps off on a mountain-climbing expedition in the Rockies or the Pyrenees.

But the truth of the matter is, between some ghastly weather in New Jersey this winter, a transition into a new job and not one but two graduate school classes this winter and spring, my hiking time has been severely curtailed. And by extension, so has my blogging time.

This weekend, having finally caught up on some things, I packed up my water bottle, binoculars and copy of “Birds of Eastern North America” and headed someplace I’ve not hiked yet: Watchung Reservation in Union County.

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Categories: Ecology, Hiking, Walking, Wildlife | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Big Boys, Swizzle Sticks and Swampers: Lessons in Trail Maintenance

The participants in the Intro to Trail Maintenance: Trail U 1000 workshop assemble in the parking area off East Shore Road as Peter Dolan (center, green shirt), gives start-of-day instructions.

The participants in the Intro to Trail Maintenance: Trail U 1000 workshop assemble in the parking area off East Shore Road as Peter Dolan (center, green shirt), gives start-of-day instructions.

One recent Saturday morning in northern New Jersey, a group of people went outside to do some yard work.

In this case, however, the “yard” was a loop trail going through the Long Pond Ironworks State Park in West Milford. And the group of people, yours truly included, was out to learn the basics of keeping a trail in hike-able condition.

This was one of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s series of Introduction to Trail Maintenance workshops. And it was a milestone, too: the 1,000th scheduled course. So there was a hint that the day could cap off with some sparkling cider.

Our target for the day was the Jennings Hollow loop trail (yellow-blazed). It looks kind of like an elongated lollipop on the map – on its southeastern edge, the long connector trail will take you over to the Highland Trail as it heads toward upstate New York.

The trail was in need of some serious TLC, having not had very much in the way of maintenance since Hurricane Irene.

So this is where we came in.

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Categories: Equipment, Hiking, Other | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Under Construction on the Appalachian Trail

A view from the black locust footbridge, on the ascent up the Bear Mountain section of the Appalachian Trail.

A view from the black locust footbridge, on the ascent up the Bear Mountain section of the Appalachian Trail.

It goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – that if you’re going to be taking on the Appalachian Trail, especially the bit that goes through Bear Mountain in New York, you’ve got to be ready to do a lot of climbing. Lots and lots of climbing.

It was National Trails Day on June 6, and the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference was presenting a series of trail-maintaining activities at Bear Mountain (see my previous posting about the great barberry battle).

One of the conference’s longer-running projects has been a rebuild of part of the six-mile Bear Mountain stretch of the AT, including overhauling some of the many flights of stone steps you’ll find on the mountain. So one of the activities was a hike along the trail, and a visit to the parts that were being or had just been rebuilt.

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Categories: Ecology, Hiking | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Bear Mountain Barberry Battle

The crew leaders and volunteers on the Invasive Species Strike Force go to work on removing barberry plants at Bear Mountain on June 6.

The crew leaders and volunteers on the Invasives Strike Force go to work on removing barberry plants at Bear Mountain on June 6.

Up until now, I’d never really given much thought to the barberry.

I’d sort of known it as a source of edible fruit, mainly from reading Marsha Mehran’s Babylon Café novels set in 1980s Ireland.

But after volunteering for a morning on an invasive species removal crew up at Bear Mountain and Harriman State Park in New York this past weekend, I found myself knowing a lot more about the barberry (Berberis spp).

Mainly that it’s got lots of little thorns that are a real nuisance to pick out of your fingers, even if you were smart enough to wear garden gloves. Continue reading

Categories: Ecology, Other | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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