Sunday, March 15, 2009

Norvin Green State Forest

When: Saturday, March 14th, from 10:30 until 3
Where: Norvin Green State Forest, near Wanaque, Passaic County
What: Hiking the Wyanokie Circular Trail, and other trails
Weather: Mid-30's when we arrived, Mid-50's by the time we left.

I can't think of many things that can compare to standing on top of New Jersey with two people who are dear to my heart.

There I was, on a gorgeous late-winter afternoon, on Wyanokie Hi-Point (not THE High Point), propping my camera up on a rock to snap a shot of me and my two favorite girls, Lindsay and my sister. We have hiked together a few times since taking up this hobby a year ago, but this was the first time that our trek offered us a 360-degree view of New Jersey. It was beautiful.

Norvin Green State Forest is located in Passaic County and offers its shade to the impressive Wanaque Reservoir. The park is home to the Wyanokie Circular Trail (among others) and the Weis Ecology Center. After passing the purple house on Snake Den Rd., a gravel parking lot will appear on the right. A little further past the lot, the Ecology Center (and clean bathrooms) can be found.

I have always been one to give credit where credit is due, so I feel the need to tell you that almost every hike that the three of us have taken together had already been neatly mapped out for us by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. If you visit their website, http://www.nynjtc.org/, and look under "Hikes of the Week," you will find a listing of great hikes, complete with pertinent informatin such as directions, difficulty and lentgh of the hike. I always like to have a trail map handy, but I will tell you that having a copy of the Hike of The Week while on the trail, I have yet to need one.

This was one of the more strenous hikes that we have taken, especially after a long winter of pizza and ice cream. There were several points on the trail that required some skyward scrambling to reach a summit, with the reward being another beautiful view. The highlight of these, of course, is the 360-degree Wyanokie Hi-point, as seen in the picture above.

The better part of the hike was still barren from the colder weather. Mountain Laurel and Pine were two of the few shades of green that could be found along the trail. Evidence of Black Bears and Deer let us know that we weren't the only mammals in the forest.

The hike took us the full four-and-a-half hours that the Hike of the Week estimated. However, we tend to walk at a fast pace, and take lots and lots of time to sit down and snack and to improve on our careers as amateur photographers. This hike was no different in the fact that we came home again, with some wonderful pictures and some wonderful memories.

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