High Mountain Feed

High Mountain Clove Area 50 Years Ago

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When I walk to the Clove in the High Mountain Park Preserve, I enter from the end of Scioto Drive or the little circle on Indian Trail Drive -- both in Franklin Lakes.

I've always suspected that the roads once extended into what is now the High Mountain Park Preserve.

This old Hagstrom (early 1960s) shows that two roads from Franklin Lakes did lead into what is now the preserve.

Interstate 287 was proposed at that point. The dotted line across the bottom denotes the Bergen-Passaic border.

That thin black line denotes a stream that flows over Buttermilk Falls, located in Passaic County but outside the preserve.

The clove would be at the bottom of the map, slightly left of center.

A Classic July Trip to High Mountain's Summit

IMG_4275(1)This originally appeared on The Nature Conservancy's Blog. It's one of my favorite posts.

Sometimes a hike becomes more than a hike, and that’s often the case in The Nature Conservancy’s High Mountain Park Preserve in Passaic County.

But a hike that my wife and I took there to celebrate July 4 (2017) was a notch above.

We saw nature at its most beautiful -- butterflies and dragonflies. We saw nature at its most brutal (a Black Snake killing a young bird).

We used modern technology -- an app to measure how tall he summit of High Mountain is.

And we found centuries-old technology in the form of a chert arrowhead.

We saw sassafras and salsify. We met nice people. And we had a picnic lunch at High Mountain’s summit, with its sweeping views of northern New Jersey and Manhattan beyond. All in all, not a bad day.

Okay, the butterflies and the view weren’t really a surprise, but the magic of a walk in the woods is often found in the unexpected, like the delicate if unidentified bloom below.


High Mountain isn’t just any woods, mind you. The 1,260-care preserve, owned by Wayne Township, New Jersey’s Natural Lands Trust, and The Nature Conservancy, not only has 11.5 miles of rugged trails (maintained by the New New Jersey Trail Conference), but it has history and vistas. And it’s essentially in New York City’s front yard.

Continue reading "A Classic July Trip to High Mountain's Summit" »

A Classic Trip to High Mountain

The Paterson Rambling Club was founded in 1904. The group's first hike was to the summit of High Mountain -- after they had taken a trolley to Haledon.  Joseph Rydings, the group’s leader, wrote many essays about the group's hikes over the years, and “certain choice annals” were collected in his book Country Walks in Many Fields in 1934.

Here is Rydings’ essay about High Mountain, prefaced by a note from the book's Introduction.

Continue reading "A Classic Trip to High Mountain" »

The Star is Back Atop High Mountain

I did a hike to the summit of High Mountain yesterday with a friend -- and saw a 20-foot-high solar-powered star near the top. I am told there used to be a huge star on the summit years ago.

Not sure who did it, or how long it will remain. If you can tell me more about it, would love to know.

The view was as great as ever.

P.S. Someone took it upon themselves to cut down some scraggly trees that blocked the view to the east on Nature Conservancy land.

A good idea, but hope they got permission. It ain't the Wild West.



A High Mountain Hike

IMG_4943Fellow Celery Farm volunteer Bruce Davis hiked a bit of High Mountain on Monday, enjoying the last gasps of fall foliage on a beautiful autumn day.

A surprising amount of water, too.

We parked in the Red Trail Parking Lot and hiked the Red Trail to the White Trail -- a new way for us.

We did not see or hear any Wild Turduckens, but they are typically found closer to the summit.

You can read more about High Mountain here.

You can read an article about High Mountain that I wrote for Autumn Years here.


High Mountain in the Spring

I have hiked to the summit of High Mountain three times in the past six days in conjunction with a new Nature Conservancy promotion. 

This is a great time of year for the hike -- saw my first NJ butterfly of the spring and quite a few birds there last Thursday, and heard Spring Peepers all three trips. Lots of neat mushrooms, rocks and other stuff along the way

The 1.5-mile hike to the summit is strenuous. It took me 30 minutes to reach the top, and I was walking briskly with no stops.  I would bring water and a snack, too. It's a great workout.

You begin at the start of the Red Trail at the Red Trail Parking Lot (below left) at William Paterson University and hike to Marry Me rock at the summit (below right).

That's Manhattan way in the distance. The views from the summit are great.