Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed
Wow this winter has been brutal! New Jersey got at least three big snow storms since our last hike (February 1). I lost track of how many inches we got but I'd guess that in Northern New Jersey there were areas that got over 20 inches in the past two weeks. Going stir crazy, and knowing that it's going to snow again tomorrow (8 inches more) we decided to get out there no matter what. So we visited this wonderful reserve in Mercer County where we trudged along in the snow (up to our knees at times) but enjoyed the absolutely gorgeous weather. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Using this map, we parked at the main lot off Titus Mill Road in front of the beautiful visitor's center (closed for President's Day). We headed east to the porta-johns and picked up the Red trail behind them. We followed the Red trail east, then north along an open field, then east along the northern border of the field before entering the woods and then heading east on an unmarked trail to the parking area on Wargo Road (the pull-off wasn't plowed). We next headed NW on another unmarked trail to the southern bank of the completely frozen pond, and followed Red around the pond in a counter-clockwise direction. Continuing on Red we passed the barn for summer camp, two picturesque silos and then began skirting the restored meadow on its northern border. We missed the southern turn on Red (which is right two deck chairs are placed, facing north) and continued east. This trail is not on the official reserve map but we continued for quite a bit until we realized we were heading the wrong direction. We turned back, headed west to the chairs and then continued south at the chairs. We then took Red back to the car, through the backyard of the visitor's center.

Total distance hiked today was exactly 3 miles in over 2 hours ahd 40 minutes. Yes, that's about 1 MPH, surprisingly fast given the deep snow on the majority of the trails.

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

Old wind vane tower

Snowy and icy parking lot

Beautiful visitor's center

Eastern bluebird

Visitor's Center

Finding trail behind barn

Old tractor


NO access today!

Plant cage

Behind barn on Red

Buried trail map!

Western edge of field

Narrow path

Looking back

Buried boardwalk!

Outdoor poetry

Into the woods

Farm east

Inviting path

Not sinking much [photo by Laura]

Two vultures roosting ...

... on farm fence posts

Farm east


Deep prints

That's a stream!

Up to my knees! [photo by Laura]

Trailhead at Wargo Road

Sign at Wargo Road

Eastern side of ...

... frozen pond


Frozen pond

Cedar forest

No herons today!


Poor bird!

Bridge over ...

... Honey Brook

Informative sign

Dan on bridge [photo by Laura]

Frozen pond

From southern bank

Bird blind at pond

Laura at blind

Heading to barn

Hermit Thrush

Summer camp barn


Red trail near silos

Northern border of restored meadow

Laura's new jacket

Deck chairs at open field

Heading west on path not on map

Laura's favorite tree ...

... the shagbark hickory

Crossing brook

Frozen brook

Behind visitor's center

Rear of visitor's center

Downy woodpecker

Laura at visitor's center

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
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