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Hiking Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Byrne State Park

Hiking Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Byrne State Park

One of my favorite hikes in NJ is Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Bryne State Park.  To get to Brendan T. Byrne State Park, you take Route 72 East. Turning into Brendan T. Byrne State Park, you’ll see signs for Pakim Pond. You can park at the front and walk the 3 miles to Pakim Pond or there is a parking area too. To drive and get to the parking lot of Pakim Pond, you’ll take sand roads.

Pakim Pond is a beautiful spot in the NJ Pine Barrens with plenty of pine trails, sandy trails, and cranberry bogs. When people think of New Jersey, they don’t think much about the Pine Barrens. I’ve run and hiked Pakim Pond so it’s a fairly flat and smooth surface.

Pakim Pond NJ

During the spring and summer, there can be several ticks so I always caution people to watch out in the Pine Barrens. At Pakim Pond, the signs are vague so make sure you know the trails well. Since I’ve been a dozen times, I don’t typically have an issue.

Pakim Pond NJ

You can start at the front of Brydan T. Byrne State Park or start the hike from Pakim Pond.  Most of the hiking and running is on the Batona Trail. There are plenty of trails in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest from the Cranberry Trail to the Misery Trail White and the Mount Misery Trail (Mt Misery Trail).  Plus at Pakim Pond there is a parking area, park office, and picnic areas.

We decided to park at the front and walk over to Pakim Pond, around, and back. In total it was about 6-7 miles of easy and flat terrain. 

Many years ago, I even ran a race here.

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Beautiful day for a short hike ✌️ 🌞

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You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

What is one of your favorite spots to hike?

Locals: have you been to Pakim Pond or Brendan T. Byrne State Park? 

 

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Hiking Cheesequake State Park

Hiking Cheesequake State Park

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a trip to Cheesequake State Park. I’ve seen Cheesequake Park from the Garden State Parkway, and it even has it’s own Parkway exit. A dirt road runs underneath the Garden State Parkway to connect the northern and southern sides of Cheesequake Park.

Despite being that close to the Parkway, you don’t hear the cars rolling by. Cheesequake State Park has always been on my “to-do list,” but the timing or weather neer worked out. Cheesequake State Park is located in Old Bridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

After doing research, I learned the name Cheesequake comes from the following Native American Lenape words:

Cheseh-oh-ke, which means “upland.”

Chiskhakink, which means the “at the land that has been cleared.”

Here are a Few Things Cheesequake Park Has:

  • Camping, Tent and Trailer Sites with flushable toilets and shower facilities (facilities within walking distance of campsites)
  • Picnic Areas with Fire Rings
  • Swimming with Lifeguards
  • Fishing for trout, largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish
  • Interpretive Center with History of the Park and Colonization History
  • Roughly 8 miles of easy to navigate hiking

 

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJCheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Part of the trails were almost flooded over. I was wearing my Hoka Speedgoat Midi Boot which prevented any water in my shoes.

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Cheesequake State Park offers some beautiful views. There are no mountains to climb, but you do get some glimpses of the North Jersey shore.

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

This might be the most unique thing I’ve noticed on a hike. I looked down to see a “swarm of caterpillars” all climbing over them. I’ve never seen anything like it. After talking with someone in the nature center, she mentioned the caterpillers do this for safety with numbers. It’s known as “as a rolling swarm of caterpillars.”

The caterpillers were harmless but a group of caterpillers bunched together is not something you see every day.

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

In all, I had a fun couple of hours at Cheesequake State Park. If you’re looking for an easy to navigate state park with trailer sites, fire rings, and picnic tables, Cheesequake Park is a good stop.

You Can See All Hikes Here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever seen a swarm of caterpillars?

Where is somewhere you’ve wanted to hike around you? 

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain

Tuscarora Mountain

On the way home from Indianapolis, my husband and I decided to stop at the Tuscarora Mountains for a 2-hour hike. I’m not someone who road trips very well (meaning about 5 hours is my limit for sitting still, and I need to use the bathroom every couple of hours.) The weather was perfect, and we thought it would be a good stop. Since my husband grew up in the area, he knew Tuscarora Mountain well.

The Tuscarora Mountains are an accessible destination to get to if you’re in central PA and Franklin Counties. Many main roads like the Pennsylvania turnpike come within minutes of the trailhead for Tuscarora Mountain. There are a few hiking trails that reach the summit of Tuscarora Mountain, but you can also park at the top of the big mountain and admire the view.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

We saw a few deer as well as a few giant spiders at Tuscarora Mountain.  This was a little to close for comfort.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa spider

The trail at Tuscarora Mountain is one of the more overgrown trails we’ve been too recently. Some spots have a calf-length grass. I advise you to wear long pants (even if it’s hot) and use bug spray. The public health major in me, says that Lyme disease is most prevalent in PA so be protected.).

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

There are a few rocky spots, especially to the summit of Tuscarora Mountain, but for the most part, it’s an easy trail. It’s 4 miles out and back (8 round trip), but if you feel like that’s too overwhelming, you can park at the top of Tuscarora Mountain and walk down then back up.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

The trail at Tuscarora Mountain is well marked, and unless you decide to go bushwhacking, it’s next to impossible to get lost.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

The top of  Tuscarora Mountain is worth the climb and even if you want to make a pit stop and just drive to the top, it’s beautiful. It’s one of my favorite summits of hiking so far. Since we have family around here, it would be a fun stop to go back. It looks like there are plenty of trails.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

 

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa Tim and I

You Can See More Hikes Here. 

Questions for you:

Are you a fan of road trips? How long can you sit in a car? 

Do you like hiking? 

Hiking Watchung Reservation

Hiking Watchung Reservation

Recently I was in Watchung Reservation. The weather wasn’t ideal for hiking, but I was in the area and have wanted to go. Because patience is not a virtue I have, I decided to hike anyway (instead of driving back up the following day). Watchung Reservation is part of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference and the Union County Parks System. There is plenty to do outside of nature trails including the trailside nature science center, loop playground, trailside museum, deserted village of Feltville, and Watchung Stables.

There are also plenty of hiking trails in Watchung Reservation including the History Trail and Sierra Trail. The most famous is the History Trail.  The History Trail at Watchung Reservation is about 6-miles and visits sites of historical significance. The Watchung Reservation, itself is approximately 2,000 acres with Lake Surprise and Glenside Park.

At the Watchung Reservation parking area, there are several posts, benches, historical markers and of course a trail map.  It starts and stops at the Trailside Nature Science Center. It’s not a strenuous hike and was rather enjoyable when we went. Parts were flooded out to rain but no big deal.

It starts on a smooth dirt trail.

Watchung Reservation

There were a ton of trees down at Watchung Reservation!

Watchung Reservation

Watchung Reservation

When we went to cross the reservoir at Watchung Reservation, it was completely flooded out. I had to hop across branches, and stones, which to be honest not falling was one of my biggest accomplishments of the day.

Watchung Reservation

Watchung Reservation

On the other side of the Watchung Reservation and Lake Surprise, there were plenty of historical sites and small huts and houses that were almost completely gone.

Watchung Reservation

In all, Watchung Reservation is a beautiful and peaceful hike. It’s perfect if you want to relax with something not too rigorous.  Or if you want to explore some of the other options available.

You can see all of the hikes here.

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking in the rain?

Are there any historic hikes near you?  Have you been to Watchung Reservation? 

Hiking Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve (California)

Hiking Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve (California)

Hiking Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

Now if that isn’t a mouthful, I don’t know what is.

The final hike while in California was the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve.  After exploring the Marin Headlands the day before, we wanted a change of scenery and decided to go south. The Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve is located on the western slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Parts of the trail at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve overlook Half Moon Bay.

At the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, I was excited to get a glimpse of the Redwood trees as I had never seen any in person. Now,  coast redwoods are only found along the coast from Oregon to Monterey.  The coast redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and can grow up to 360 feet tall. The oldest known age of a redwood is 2,200 years, but the average is 500 to 1,000 year old.

When we got to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, we decided to do the Purisima Creek Trail.  There is no big “parking lot” at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, and we parked on the side of the road.

At Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve there are several trails including the North Ridge Trail, Craig Britton Trail, Whittemore Gulch Trail, Harkins Ridge Trail, and Redwood Trail.

The Purisima Creek Trail was once an old logging road.  It can get steep, and some of the grade was about 15%.  The views at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve are worth it, and it was one of my favorite hikes of the trip. We ended up hiking about 6 miles or so.

At first, I thought this was a banana pepper LOL. 

The Purisima Creek Trail

The Purisima Creek Trail

The Redwood Trees, themselves at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve, did not disappoint. They were huge!

me hugging redwood tree

So many gorgeous views at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

The Purisima Creek Trail

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Behind me…that is nature

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Hiking through California was a lot of fun. Even though the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve hike was the shortest, my favorite was the Anderson County Park, but I enjoyed each of them. Each was different and unique.

Anderson Park was a surprising and beautiful dam. I’ve never hiked a Volcano until Calavera Hills. Marin Headlands had beautiful views on the entire route. The Los Robles Trail was fun to get out of traffic for a while and of course, seeing my first Redwoods at the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve was wonderful too. I hope to be back to California again and check out some more different hikes.

You Can See All Hikes Here.

California Hikes from the Trip:
Hiking Marin Headlands (San Francisco)
Hiking Calavera Hills Community Park
Mini Trip to Los Angeles
Hiking Anderson Lake County Park
Los Robles Trail
Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

Questions for you:
Have you ever seen Redwoods? Have you been to Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve? 
What is a fun spot to hike near you? 

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