Sunday, October 25, 2009
Fish/Hiking The Gorge
Where: Ken Lockwood Gorge Wildlife Management Area, near High Bridge, Hunterdon County
What: Hiking the Columbia Trail and doing a bit of trout fishing in the South Branch.
Weather: High well into the 60's. It was a breezy day, but you couldn't feel it in the gorge.
As far as fish/hiking goes, this might be about as good as it gets.
Over the last several years, I have befriended some "trout guys" and heard countless references to the Ken Lockwood Gorge, it's great fishing and it's beauty. I have caught trout from the South Branch of the Raritan River, the river that flows through the gorge, but I had yet to do any exploring in the gorge itself.
I got the full experience on this day.
Lindsay and I planned a day to get outside, and the area seemed like a good idea. It came as no surprise, that when I googled a hike, I came up with a link that brought me to the website for the NYNJ trail conference. The site suggested taking the Columbia Trail, which runs exactly 7 miles (with markers to prove it) from the lovely town of High Bridge to the possibly more lovely town of Califon. We didn't walk the full 7 (it would have been 14 round-trip), but took a drive for lunch and a bit of sightseeing in Califon later in the day.
Our journey started near the Municipal lot in High Bridge, where we parked the car (we slept late, the lot was full), found the trailhead and went on our way.
The scenery was stunning.
The trail runs a distance up from the river, but we took a couple trips down so I could toss my spinner in hopes of catching a trout.
After about 3 miles, we crossed over a trestle and took a path down to a dirt road on the other side of the South Branch. Shortly after I caught a brown trout and we asked a friendly stranger to take a picture of us.
The dirt road continued towards High Bridge, but it was eventually necessary to cross over the river again and head back up to the Columbia Trail.
This turned out to be a wonderful day. The weather was as good as it gets for the end of October and the leaves let us know that fall was in full swing. We enjoyed some amazing scenery and I caught a fish to boot. In all we probably walked between 6 and 7 miles through what "they" call one of the 10 most beautiful places in New Jersey.
I would have to agree with them.