Saturday, October 3, 2009

Another Hike to Durham Pond

Durham pond at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Trail Maps

On September 6th, we set off with the Contreras determined to follow in Bjorn Walberg's footsteps as described in Hike To Durham Pond From Smoke Rise, NJ.

I had successfully installed my copy of Trails; Ted had spent time experimenting with it; we had paper copy backups of Bjorn's path and felt ready to set off into the unknown with water, bear bell and cameras.

As you can see if you compare our trail to Bjorn's we didn't quite follow in the same footsteps. We took the reverse approach. However, we we had a blast discovering TomTom lookout on the White Trail [part of the Four Birds Trail] that with the Blue Trail circles Split Rock Reservoir - from which we were able to see Indian Cliffs, discovering many unexpected signs and communications and finding the Boys Scout camp.

We also saw the most amazing stone bridge that reminded us instantly of the four bridges that Francis S. Kinney built around Smoke Rise.

There's definitely a mystery there. Did Kinney intend to purchase the area around Durham Pond? We read speculation that the area might have been considered for development of a private estate around the late 1800s. Was it related to one of several iron mines and forges in the immediate area, including under the Durham Pond bridge and dam and at Split Rock Reservoir? The History of Winnebago Scout Reservation describes that "a railroad once carried the ore down out of the mountains mine slag the rock left after the iron was removed from the ore. Signs can be found along the road near the dam at the south end of Durham Pond."

In any case, the bridge is magnificent and transports you to a different time and place.

I've uploaded my photos of the hike to Flickr and share with you a slideshow of them all. By the way, if you click on the red pin markers in the trail map above, you'll see thumbnails of photos taken linked to specific locations along the trail.


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