D & R Canal: Blackwells Mills to Griggstown Causeway

D & R Canal State Park, Blackwells Mills to Griggstown Causeway (New Year's Day, 2013)

Happy New Year! It snowed during the past week (again) so instead of heading into the hills we thought we'd give the snow some time to melt a bit: trudging along in 8-12" of snow is hard! So we headed south again to "bag" another section of the D & R Canal. Today we parked at Blackwells Mills (we hiked to Blackwells Mills from East Millstone on Christmas). We took the beautiful towpath 3.5 miles south to Griggstown Causeway before turning around and heading back. The majority of this stretch has a very isolated feel, given that there are no roads paralleling the path for much of the trek.

Both endpoints have beautiful canal houses still intact, with a bridge tender's tiny station just across the bridge from the house. In fact, the areas at both endpoints are so similar that it's a bit difficult to tell the difference between them. Surely they had a cookie-cutter plan for these canal bridge points. The bridge tender's house at Griggstown Causeway still has a telegraph inside (though it's probably not the original). There are also additional buildings at Griggstown Causeway, the site of a former mill. It's a very interesting area. Finally, there's a canoe and kayak rental place just behind the canal house with very reasonable rates, for those interested in doing a bit of paddling on the very still water. The dock is right there, convenientally located behind the canal house.

I have said in the past that the canal is a birder's paradise. This was true today as well, though the biggest bird, a great blue heron, was a bit too fast for my picture-taking agility. I got one very blurry photo of him booking it out of there the moment he saw us approaching. On the way back, the sky darkened with literally hundreds of vultures. We have never seen so many vultures in one place at one time. I got one photo of just a fraction of the sky. I have no idea what they were up to. They weren't really circling over a given spot but rather floating around en masse from one place to another.

Total distance covered was over 7 miles in about 3 hours.

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Large lot at Blackwells Mills

Drunk driving zone? :)

View south

Heading south

[Photo by Laura]

Low indeed!

House across

28 miles to Bordentown


[Photo by Laura]

Inlet to Raritan River

Nest on towpath

Old metal blaze

Insect nests?


Canada Geese at ...

... water treatment plant


View south

Orchard west?

Farm shed across field

Sun struggling to come out

Barns across spillway

Spillway to the Raritan

Barn across


Great Blue Heron booking it

Heading south

Another spillway

Informative spillway sign

Side view of stonework

Canal thru-walker?

Wet patch

Lovely isolated stretch

A bit icy

More stones on this stretch

He's geared up!

Walking the dog and baby

Gorgeous reflections


View north

Griggstown Causeway bridge

Silt in canal

Barren woods west

Approaching Griggstown Causeway

Rear of Mule Tenders Barracks

Rear of Canal House

Mule Tenders Barracks

Lanterns on Mule Tenders Barracks

Mule Tenders Barracks

Peeling paint on ...

... Mule Tenders Barracks

Bridge at Griggstown Causeway

Sign and canal looking north

Sign at canal house


View south (see Laura?)


Canal house in rear

Millstones at mill

Flower box

Inside Bridge Tender's station

Canal house

View inside Canal house

Canoes for rent

On Canal house

Heading back north

Tiny fraction of vultures

Stonework on spillway

Beneath spillway

Downy woodpecker

Downy woodpecker

Is that George Washington?


Reflections north

Farm across spillway wall

Cut stump

Heading north


Canada Geese & mallards


Canal house at Blackwells Mills

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