Hank's Pond

Hank's Pond, Pequannock Watershed (9/3/2012)

The last time we hiked in the Pequannock Watershed I nearly stepped on a huge rattlesnake. Today I nearly stepped on two baby snapping turtles! So the scale of danger I'm encountering is improving! We returned to Hank's Pond which we last visited in June, 2007.

Today we parked at P1, near the trailhead gate for Hank's East Trail (at the intersection of Clinton Road and Van Orden Road) and headed north along Hank's East. Instead of following the trail along the eastern bank we continued on a woods road to the pond, then picked up the blue-white Hank's West Trail taking it north of the pond. We proceeded east on a short stretch of a blue connector trail, climbing steeply, then took Hank's East north along the ridge. At the interesection with the Highlands Trail we took that east, beginning the part of the hike which was completely new for us. When we got to Union Valley Road, instead of following the trail which actually uses the road, we crossed the road onto a woods road which we took to a powerline cut and then headed south all along that cut back to Van Orden Road. After a short road walk (not a single car passed) we arrived back at P1.

Powerline cuts may not be the most picturesque places to hike, but they are filled with flowers, fauna and wildlife. Today we saw two baby snapping turtles in the cut and a flock of at least two dozen wild turkeys. Vultures and red-tailed hawks also made appearances. Sadly we also encountered a dead ground hog near the end.

Total distance hiked today was 6.7 miles in just over 3 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.

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

View from P1

Gate and trailhead

Horse poop!

Hank's Pond

Wildflowers on bank

View NW

View north

Laura on southern bank


Pipe on ...

... woods road

Woods road skirts pond

View of opposite bank

View south

Early foliage

Abandoned shack ...

... on Hank's West Trail



Hank's Pond looking south

Remains of ...

... furnace?

Ant hill on Blue connector


Tight squeeze

Climbing on Blue connector

Two millipedes

Fleeing eft

Yellow leaves!

Back on ...

... Hank's East trail


Pine needles on ridge

Narrow stretch

Cairn [photo by Laura]

Fall foliage begins!


Shale ridden trail

View from Highlands trail

Pine needles on HT

Sharp shale on HT

Beautiful little lane

Crossing Union Valley Road

Swamp in powerline cut

Multi-trunked tree [photo by Laura]

In the powerline cut

Wildflowers always ...

abound in the cut

Dry mud

Smelling the herbs

Adorable baby snapping turtle

His brother


Pylon vultures preening

Part of a huge rafter of wild turkeys

Hawk peeking

Early fall foliage

Look at that ...

... early foliage!


We heard lots of shooting

Red-tailed hawk

Partial view south

Rocky cut

Ascending through ...

... the last pylon

Dead ground hog

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
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