Copperas Tract

Copperas Tract, Pequannock Watershed (7/4/2012)

Today, the national holiday of Independence Day, was another scorcher, smack right in the middle of a relentless heat wave. Having the day off we decided to at least stretch our legs out in the woods but to also keep it short, with temperatures in the mid-90s predicted along with a boatload of humidity. So we decided to explore a bit more of the abandoned bed of the defunct Wharton and Northern Railroad. I had planned a lollipop beginning at where the bed crosses Jacobs Road, heading south, crossing Green Pond Road and continuing to Egbert Lake, looping the lake, and then heading back. But I failed to notice from the NYNJTC Map #125 that the small piece just west of Green Pond Road was private property. Ouch! So we had to turn back just before the road crossing and head back without the lake visit. However, instead of heading straight back along the railroad bed, we instead followed a series of woods roads in what is labeled the Copperas Tract on Google Maps.

Apparently this area is popular with dirt bikes because one of them blazed past us at one point and when we got back to our car there were three other guys getting on their bikes heading into the woods. Still, it was a very pleasant jaunt with lots of wildflowers, insects and frogs. One dragonfly was so brave that he actually let me take a very close macro photo (as opposed to a zoom, which is how I usually photograph them). It should be noted that there are many woods roads here that aren't on the aforementioned map. We could have spent even more time exploring but it was getting a bit hot.

Total distance hiked today was 3 miles in under 2 hours. A permit is required for hiking in this area, which can be purchased at the office on Echo Lake Road. The permits are good for the calendar year.

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What "facility"?

Large pulloff on Jacobs Road

So much mud on the RR bed!

Swamp off the bed

Mud and ferns



Rock wall

Old rusted baby carriage


Leaf with water droplets

Interesting mushrooms

Yucky industrial swamp

Forest joy

It rained earlier

Beautiful stretch


Flooded RR bed

Dragonfly whisperer

Mulch-lined woods road

Willow tree?

Swallowtail on trail

Macro of brave dragonfly!

Two roads diverged in a wood ...

The woods road from the RR bed

RR bed looking SW

Granite cut

Laura from above

View NE

[Photo by Laura]

Abandoned RR ties

RR spike


RR bed

Uh-oh! Private property!

Laura and decoy deer

Pig iron

Unmaintained trail

Another woods road

Beautiful ...

... wildflowers

Open meadow

Wildflower whisperer


Open field

Green dragonfly


Frog in ...

... swamp

Frog under blanket of leaves



Field with mulch piles

Very leaky bucket

Graffiti-ridden structure


Daddy Longlegs fighting or mating

Rows of mulch piles

Reeds on trail

Flower crowded with bugs

Colorful leaves


Moth on mulch

More dirt bikes. Great.

Laurel trail not on map

Jacobs Road

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