Gardner's Pond

Gardner's Pond, Kittatinny Valley State Park (6/29/2014)

We hiked a beautiful loop in this park just past weekend. On that day, when we pulled into the lot off Goodale Road at the southern tip of Twin Lakes it was nearly filled with cars and dozens of people were amassing for a karate activity which was still taking place three hours later. That lot was empty today as we headed north on Goodalte in order to park in the lot near the beautiful visitor's center. As soon as we pulled into the state park we saw hundreds of people amassing for some event. Tents were up, orange cones were in the road. Someone in the road directing traffic told us that a bicycle race was taking place today and that I might need to yield to the bicycles on the park roads. What they forgot to tell us was that the race was also on the trails. And they seemed to be following the exact hike I mapped out for us! So a good part of our hike today was running on narrow paths to avoid speeding bikes, repeatedly jumping off the narrow path, dodging poison ivy. Whew! I did manage to wing it a bit and worked in a visit to Gardner's Pond, the highlight, not only for its beauty but because it wasn't part of the bicycle race path!

Following this map we parked a the park office (just west of Aeroflex Lake) and headed SE through the open field to Blue, which we took all the way south to Red, dodging bicycles in spurts. When we reached Red, we decided to head east to Gardner's Pond where we walked to the boundary of the park and airport and then took a spur on the southern bank, watching a beautiful Great Blue Heron lunching. We then headed back towards read but found a White trail heading west (not on the map) which saved us the trouble of backtracking all the way back to Red. This unmapped White trail took us back to Red, which we then took north, once again dodging bicycles, until we reached Yellow (which is a paved park road). The race was not using this paved road, so we decided to take this all the way back to the car before first eating lunch in a shady picnic bench by the visitor's center.

Total distance hiked today was 4.8 miles in 2.5 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

In the lot


Field south of park office

Exploring Yellow paved path

Decided to take Blue


...heading south...

...through the woods


Race signs



Blue is very narrow in spots

Tape to help bicyclists

Climbing on Blue

Hornet's nest


Horseshoe prints

Park facility building

Path to Gardner's Pond

Woods road to pond

Sign at southern bank

Phragmites at pond

Heading north east of pond

[Photo by Laura]

Airport property beyond

View of Lake Gardner


Airport sign

Lake Gardner

View SE


Dead field mouse

Cat tails

Lake Gardner

Great Blue Heron

Red-winged Blackbird

Mating Japanese beetles

On southern bank

View NW

Great Blue Heron

Loads of water lilies

Airport buildings across pond

Swamp wildflower

Water lilies

Heron in distance

Looking for lunch

Swallowing lunch

Red-winged Blackbird

Flying off


Dragonfly on phragmite

Red eft

Long-tail Salamander

Heading north on Red

2 of dozens of passing bicycles

Abandoned buildings in field

Path tomfoolery [photo by Laura]

Laura on Yellow

Paved Yellow trail

Eastern Bluebird

Brown-headed Cowbird

Chipping Sparrow

Lake Aeroflex east

Fishing in Lake Aeroflex

Beautiful moth


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