Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 9: Swamp Hike

A snapping turtle that we encountered on our hike.
When: Saturday, May 21st, from 10:30am to 3pm.
Where: The Mahlon Dickerson Reservation and Saffins Pond in Morris County
What: Hiking with Janel and Lindsay, and a little fishing.....of course.
Weather: Nice. High in the mid-70's. Cloudy with rain later in the day.
Moon: Waning, 5 days after full.

If you hadn't noticed, it's been raining every day since the middle of March.

Or so it seems.

The three of us had actually done this hike last year, except it was a bit earlier in the season, a lot less green and a lot less WET. Recent rains made the trails more like mud-slides than walking paths, but we kept on keeping on and had ourselves a wonderful time.
Aside from the trail being a bit soggy, there were plenty of pleasant surprises along the way in the way of resident wildlife. We always see our share of snakes, frogs and turtles, but there seemed to be a great many of them today, including a couple that were a little more interesting. We came across a large snapping turtle on the path and found this baby snapper sitting on wooden bridge over a creek. Also somewhat of a rare find and difficult to photograph was this five-lined skink, one of the few species of lizard found in New Jersey.
We also came across a handful of garter snakes and newts as well as a bizarre number of chipmunks. The wildlife made this hike particularly interesting and kept our minds off the fact that we were stomping through mud half the time. We finished the hike in just over 3 hours with stops, and as we were a hundred or so yards from the started raining. What a surprise.
This wouldn't have been a huge issue, but I planned on getting my 30-minutes of fishing in at Saffins Pond where we started the hike. Seeing as it wasn't SUPPOSED to rain until much later, I did not have my rain gear with me. The ladies were troopers and waited it out though, and altough I came up empty, I got my fishing in at the end of another wonderful day.
Next Up: Going to do some fishing with Lido tomorrow and attend to some special business. More on that on Wednesday.

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