Sunday, December 21, 2008

Old Country Road Trail and Beaver Dam Hike

On November 2nd, 2008, we made it to the Old Country Road Trail which just so happens to take you to the Beaver Dam!

It's probably more accurate to say 'a' beaver dam. However, having gone off in search of a beaver dam in Pyramid Mountain Park - and not found it - and heard about - but not seen - the one in Lake Kinnelon, I was grateful for the possibility of one close by and easily accessible. In my mind, that justifies it being 'the' beaver dam.

Here is what the Smoke Rise & Locale Trail Directions say about the Old Country Road Trail [marked pink]:

The trail begins at the fire pond on Tower Hill Lane and leads to Split Rock Road within a half mile. Bear left to follow the road along Split Rock Reservoir or bear right along the road to the Charlottesburg Reservoir.  NY/NJ Trail Conference trails to Copperas Ridge and Hibernia be found.

[Note:  we've purchased the 1998 NY/NJ Trail Conference book as well as the 2004 version and are still trying to piece together what is where and how to access it.]

The trail head - as you can see from the photo above - is at the very end of Tower Hill Lane, close to 71 Tower Hill Lane. The fire pond mentioned above we believe is the pond next to 60 Tower Hill Lane.  When we arrived, we [the Contreras and Whittemores] were the only cars parked in the cul-de-sac.  However, we realized that we had located a popular teenager destination point as many had gathered by the beaver pond as we headed back, corresponding to 8 or so SUVs parked when we left...

Once passed the trail head, we found ourselves in a delightful wooded area complete with bubbling stream to cross and scenic rock outcroppings to admire.  We very quickly reached the Old Country Road which - as you can see from the photo to the right - is a serious thoroughfare heading both north and south.

We opted to go north, after admiring the beaver dam and fire pit area by the edge of the lake. After all, this was the road that connected to Split Rock Reservoir and with which we were familiar.  We preferred to head into uncharted territory.

We realized, too, that we should be able to reach the other side of the lake or pond, but hadn't yet figured out how.

Now, a note of caution.   Old Country Road [and several other related trails] seems quite popular with ATVs and motor bikes.  Luckily, they are noisy enough that you have some advanced noticed before seeing them.  Furthermore, the ATVers we encountered were courteous and respectful that we were on foot and with children. We also encountered an intrepid mountain biker and other hikers.

We did indeed discover the beaver dam, as you can see in the photo above.  I'll cover in a separate post some of the details related to beavers [i.e., only seems fitting to address those in a 'Kinnelon Critter File'].

Also, we managed to discover the way to the other side of the beaver pond/lake.  I'll cover that in a separate post, too...

In the meantime, I do hope you have a chance to explore this most accessible and delightful trail.  We look forward to exploring it covered in snow [and possibly not as amenable to ATVs] and discussed the possibilities this past weekend with the Ciriglianos and Contreras.

Maybe Christmas day?

The photo on the right captures Emma and Miles, Lisa Contreras and Ted Whittemore.  The backdrop is the Charlotteburg Reservoir.

For related posts, visit Smoke Rise Hikes.



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