Tranquility Ridge
Today we headed to the very rugged parcel of land called Tranquility Ridge County Park, which is situated northeast of Monksville Reservoir and south of Sterling Forest. The only blazed trail in this hilly area is the Hasenclever Iron trail which bisects the park from west to east, and which has a series of informative signs that describe the mining activity that took place in this area over the course of many years. But the trail is closed just west of Peter's Mine so while normally one could head into Ringwood on this trail, a chemical clean-up (which began years ago) is still being undertaken on a small stretch of trail. But this afforded us the opportunity to hike a series of woods roads in this area which we never traversed before. But it wasn't easy! The NYNJTC North Jersey Trails Map #115 doesn't contain half the woods roads in this area, so if you decide to head to this "park", make sure you also have GPS. Even with my iPhone today's hike was amazingly uncertain. We spent a good part of the time kind-of knowing where we were though never quite sure. When we got to the northern-most part of the hike, in the swampy area just south of the border with New York, it seems we found the woods road by equal parts "swamp sense" and plain luck, but only after hiking through some ankle-deep water. Laura spotted a beaver in this area but I was too busy trying to maintain at least a bit dry to get a photo. Had it not been for the damaging tracks of off-road vehicles, we might not have found the turns we were looking for.

Parking at the boat lauch on Beech Road, we walked for about 5 minutes north to the dead end, passing two residences before getting to the gate where Beech Road continues ahead as an unpaved rocky road, Monk's Connector trail comes in from the east, and the Hasenclever trail parallels the woods road to the west. We continued on the woods road until we got to Hasenclever further north. We took this blazed trail all the way east to where the trail is closed, though the bright red plastic fencing was obliterated allowing easy access for the off-road vehicles that left traces all over the Hasenclever trail. At this point we continued on woods roads all the way back to the Hasenclever trail just west of the aforementioned gate. From the closed section of trail we first headed NW in basically a straight line before curving left and heading west, through the swamp (literally, since we were up to our ankles in water and mud at times), and then SW all the way back to Hasenclever. There is a multitude of criss-crossing woods roads (most not on the NYNJTC map), so the going was slow at times. But all in all, it was one of the most fun hikes this year, especially during those times where we did know where we were.

Total distance hiked today was 6 miles in 3 hours and 45 minutes.

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Boat launch

Northern Monksville Reservoir

Dan in bright sun [Photo by Laura]

Beautiful heron!

Sunken reservoir trees

Wider view


Paved Beech road looking west

Beech Road dead end


Gate for trails

Huge water pipes

Hasenclever information sign

Tree kisser

Trail tomfoolery

Lots of abandoned pipes

Very rocky trail

Beautiful bridge on woods road

Looking through

Huge recent blow-down

On Hasenclever

Very wet and muddy

Tire damage

Poison ivy

Hasenclever ...

... blazes


Hunting chair

Hope Mountain looms

Smooth Beech

Creek to Sally's Pond

Hasenclever "closed" past here

Pipe near closure

Exploratory pit

Woods road NW

Nature's graffiti!

Remains of deer. Ugh.

Very wet trail

Water patterns on trail

It's wet but it gets worse


Counting the rings

BB practice

Solid rock wall

Laura saw a beaver swimming here

Swampy area near NY border

Heading for the ankle deep water

Wet trail

The tire marks helped us navigate

Road continues north

Water and mud

Runoff on dry part of trail

A very dry trail!

Beautiful rock

Carpet ...

... of leaves


Dan taking ... [photo by Laura]

... this photo

Creek to Monksville Reservoir

Check out that erosion!

Abandoned motorcycle


Speed racer

Views of ...

... lovely creek

Back to the blazed Hasenclever trail

Bridge over creek

Monk's Connector and Hasenclever

Narrow trail back to gate

Washing muddy boots

House at dead end

Mailbox at reservoir


Beech Road walk back

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