Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Buttermilk Falls, Take 2

Buttermilk Falls after some much-needed rain.
When:Saturday, October 9th, from 9am to 1pm
Where:Buttermilk Falls, the AT and Crater Lake in Sussex County
What:Hiking with Janel and Lindsay
Weather:Quite nice. A cool morning, warming up to the 70's. Partly cloudy.

If one were so inclined to Google "hiking in New Jersey," they would soon find an abundance of detailed outlines from various websites and ambitious individuals. As I've mentioned before, the vast majority of the hikes that we take are from the NY/NJ Trail Conference website, and after this past weekend, I would seriously think twice before using any other source.

The NY/NJ Trail Conference site does not have a long loop that includes Buttermilk Falls, but there are two others that can be found online. I have done both of these in the last month and found them to be very misleading. Furthermore, the one we did on this particular weekend, taken from njhiking.com, was so poorly written and confusing that I would not give credibility to anything else on their site. I've said this before, but I will never again use a hike that doesn't come from the NY/NJ Trail Conference website.

And this time I mean it.

Now, putting aside these strong feelings, the aforementioned details in no way spoiled our good time. We did have to make a first-time executive decision to retrace our steps instead of continuing on with the suggested directions, but Janel, Lindsay and I spent a good 4 hours and 8 miles in the woods and had a wonderful time.

Much to Lindsay's and my delight, the dry, dribbling Buttermilk Falls that we photographed a month prior were now full and gushing with recent rainwater. Beautiful. Seems as if having Janel with us this time brought good fortune. This being a slightly different hike than last time, we skipped Tillman Ravine and instead started at the base of the falls and immediately embarked on the ass-kicking 2 miles up to the Appalachian Trail. It was here that I found out exactly how out of shape I have gotten.

But not too bad.

Crater Lake
Once at the Appalachian Trail, the three of us took a right at the same that point Lindsay and I had turned left the last time. Instead of making our way over a trio of mountain tops, we started along the AT in the hopes of finding Crater Lake.

It was at this point that the quality of the directions deteriorated.

After a little doubt, a bit of second-guessing, a tad of back-tracking and a little more doubt, we finally reached our destination and had a bite to eat in the presence of the spectacular view pictured above.

After our break, we continued along on our journey. After more confusion with the directions, we decided to scrap a trip to Hemlock Pond and return to the car via the AT and Blue Trail to Buttermilk Falls.

At the time of our decision, we still had a good three miles ahead that afforded us plenty of time to enjoy the walk without debating about which way to go. The day had turned out to be simply gorgeous and the sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for the final leg of the hike.

So, we learned a lesson this day. I have been lost in the woods once, although under very different circumstances. I can tell you it's not fun and in fact a little scary. Although hiking is great way to enjoy the outdoors, there is always at least a small element of danger that can be quickly and easily overcome with common sense, a lot of water and a good set of directions.

Next Up:Fishing this Saturday, the 16th of October. Martalus and I are waiting to hear from Big D River Guide Dieter Scheel. We'll either be slaying the smallies on the Delaware with Dieter or on the South Branch from the canoe.

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