Hike 23: Top of Tourne

The 52 Hike Challenge has been a bit more challenging than I had originally thought. As I write this I’m about 8 hikes behind where I should be at this point and am starting to get nervous about being able to catch up. I’m determined to meet my deadline, but will need to really kick it into gear over the next 2 months!TourneCountyParkHikeMap

Hike 23 stats:
Date: June 25, 2016
Weather: 75°F, sunny
Trail Route: Decamp Trail (yellow), Red Trail
Distance:  4.8 miles
Time: 1:56
Total Ascent: 650′
Highest Elevation: 871′
Highlights: Top of Tourne
Trail Maps are available at the kiosk in the parking lot – or download one HEREDCIM119GOPROI parked near the baseball field and headed towards the Decamp Trail on the other side of the street. The yellow blazed trail brings you along a gravel woods road to the top of Tourne. As with most pictures, the above trail is much steeper than it appears. DCIM119GOPRODCIM119GOPRONear the top there is an awesome westward view and a small 9/11 memorial – on a clear day you can see the New York City skyline (I read that many people gathered here during the terrorist attacks of 2001).DCIM119GOPROJust passed the memorial is the Top of Tourne – I got a great view of the moon from the rock top as I looked out past the trees! I had planned on taking a side trail to the Mouse Cradle Balancing Rock, but somehow missed the turn and didn’t want to backtrack to find it. I’ll have to find it next time I’m here.DCIM119GOPROI continued on my way, descending along the yellow trail on the other side of the hill. At the bottom I hit a junction and turned right onto the red trail. I followed it to a different parking lot along McCaffrey Lane where a group of mountain bikers were gearing up for a ride.DCIM119GOPROThe red trail is a really nice loop with some decent ups and downs, but nothing too seriously strenuous. I’ve been trying to learn to identify trees, so I took a lot of pictures of bark and leaves to lookup later.DCIM119GOPRODCIM119GOPRODCIM119GOPROThe red trail eventually spits you out next to Birchwood Lake – I took a short walk down the trail along side the lake to check it out. As I was returning to the red trail the group of bikers from earlier rode towards me and one of them nearly fell off of his bike after seeing a small 10 inch gardner snake – I’m sure it was bigger when he told the story later that day.DCIM119GOPRODCIM119GOPRODCIM119GOPROI continued along my way and eventually ended up back at the road, I turned left and walked back to the parking lot where I left the Jeep.DCIM119GOPRODCIM119GOPROI’ve really enjoyed the hikes in Morris County that I’ve completed this year – their trails are well maintained, maps are great, and there are great things to check out along the way!