Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mt. Tammany

Located at the southern most end of the AT in New Jersey, Mt Tammany "looked" interesting based on reviewing a topo map of the Delaware Gap area. Shown as a high point with a "vista star", I planned on an QRP activation from the area. Parking at the picnic area on the Jersey side of I80, I climbed the steep Mt. Tammany Trail going east out of the parking lot. It was seemingly going straight up! There were a number of other folks, families, groups, etc. climbing in the same direction. Something had to be spectacular for all these folks to climb this relatively arduous trail. After about 45 minutes I got to a very rocky overlook of the Delaware River and the "gap" between NJ and PA. The corresponding viewpoint on the PA side is called Mt. Minsi and it looks like there is some sort of monument over there. A future trip opportunity.

The view was spectacular; seemingly a straight down look at the river from about 700' or so above it. There were a ton of people here. Mt Tammany is about another 1/2 mile up the trail. I was hoping to breakout of the trees for that "vista" promised on my trail map. Unfortunately a 1/4 mile later, I was still socked in the trees; perhaps 20 years ago when the map was first made there was a view but not today. Hmmm, what to do now? A careful look at the map showed some more "vista stars" a bit north on the trail. Oh well, let's go. Trails criss-cross this area and it would be easy to make a loop hike. A few miles north, I came out on a clearing used by the Forest Service for helicopter landing for either supplies or people. Nothing really great here also. Let's go a few more miles and do the loop and pass by Upper Yards Creek Reservoir.

It was bushwacking a bit on the trail as it was not recently maintained but I got to the fenced in reservoir and hiked along the fence until I got to the Sunfish Pond Fire Road which took me to Sunfish Pond, a popular day-hike area in the summer for picnics and swimming. Now I was back on the AT, about 7 or 8 miles into my loop and still looking for a suitable site to be QRP portable. Heading south now on the AT, after a mile or so, I came to "Backpacker Site #2", a camping area for folks on the AT. It had a nice view to the west so I set up here. It was pretty in the woods but there was still a lot of day-hiker traffic.
After 3 or 4 hours of operating with the verticle, it was time to pack up and head back to the parking lot. I still had about 4 miles ahead of me and I wanted to get back before dark as I didn't have any flashlights with me. The hike is near the Dunnfield Creek which looks like it can be spectacular after heavy rains since for the last mile or so, the trail is in a canyon and fallen or washed down trees are rather high along the creek. I'll have to come up here when we've had some extended rains to see the swollen creek. All in all it was a long about 10 or 11 mile hike.

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