Mahlon Dickerson-Weldon Brook WMA
Today we returned to Mahlon Dickerson to hike more trails on this map that we had never previously hiked. This was a two-county hike, beginning in Morris County, continuing in Sussex County (in Weldon Brook WMA) and then continuing and ending back in Morris County.

Our track can be seen here. We parked at Saffin Pond and began by crossing Weldon Road and heading NW on an unblazed but well-maintained trail towards Weldon Brook WMA. While this trail is not on the map cited above, it is on NYNJTC Map #126 (Jersey Highlands West). We took this path to the powerline cut into Weldon Brook WMA, then took the path north (under the pylons) with the intent of following the powerline cut north, reaching another unblazed trail which we would then take east to the Ogden RR bed. But the going got very wet and we were hopping from swamp mound to swamp mound (those things that look like Cousin It from "The Addam's Family") until we couldn't go any further. So we turned around and tried Plan B: passing between the two parts of the lake in the E-1 square of the park map. We actually traversed this tentative path almost exactly two years ago coming from the other direction. At that time we were barely able to make it across on logs along one edge of a very wet path. Today it was impossible. The "road" is so flooded I can't imagine anything passing through here ever again. I knew this would be the case as soon as we got on the woods road and started heading NW to this point -- it was very overgrown with wildflowers, something that wasn't the case two years ago.

On to Plan C. With two paths to the north blocked, we headed back to another unmarked woods road (not on either map) which headed directly north to Weldon "Brook" (as indicated on Google Maps). It was less a brook then a swampy lake with a big beaver lodge in the middle. We felt lucky to have found this nice trace of a path heading right to it. But then the path just ended, and we found ourselves bushwhacking along the actual brook finally making it to the Ogden RR bed, which we took north. Whew. We next headed east on Blue to a point south of Morris County's highest point taking an unblazed trail south (not on the park map, but on the NYNJTC map). Along the way we headed west, passing a huge fenced in mine (not on either map, though the trails are on the NYNJTC map). We crossed over Weldon Road, taking another unblazed but well-maintained woods road south to the blazed Yellow trail which we took back west to the car. We had lunch on a huge boulder overlooking Saffin Pond, where a few folks were doing time trials with radio-controlled boats.

Total distance hiked today was about 5.7 miles in just over 3.5 hours.

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

Saffin Pond parking lot

Weldon Brook Lake

Tiny eft!

Climbing on unmarked path

Tiny frog

More climbing

View back down


Sandy blow-downs

[Photo by Laura]

Powerline cut

Wet in spots

Wildflowers in cut


Black swallowtail

Wet cattails

Lots of color in cut

And water!

Turkey vulture


Early autumn?

Woods road back into the woods

Frog with mosquito on head


Out of the forest

Gorgeous swamp below

Ascending in cut

Lily pads ...

... in swamp

More ascending

It gets rough

Our knees were very scratched!

Where is everyone?

We turned back

Monarch with damaged wing

Climbing back

Now ascending to Plan B

Lake and ...

... woods road? Where?

Shy Swallowtail

We found this ...

... Swamp lake further east ...

... with beaver lodge

Nice views

Weldon Brook

But the path just ended

Butterfly and wildflower

We bushwhacked through this

Hallelujah! The RR bed!

View of RR bed north

Swamp west of RR bed

Boardwalk on Blue


Another boardwalk

Swallowtail on boardwalk

Various ...

... views ...

... of another unmarked path

Curious deer

And another

Mine tailings

[Photo by Laura]

Main shaft (hard to see)

All fenced in


Tiny mushrooms

Now on Yellow


Near end of Yellow

Saffin Pond

Saffin Pond

Climbing to lunch

RC speed boat

Our lunch spot!

Huge serene bullfrog

Bridge at lake dam

He was huge!

Heading away from lake to car

I stayed off the ice

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
Web design by Dan Balogh