Wow, that was a brutal winter. I had damage done to my house from the massive snowfall so we've actually been living in a hotel for the past month. No problem though, the Holiday Inn in Budd Lake is literally minutes from some of my favorite hiking places.
My son and I walked the Sussex Branch Trail from the Waterloo Rd. parking lot over to Cranberry Lake. I've walked this before, alone, and it's so much more fun experiencing it with the wonderment a child can only see. He loved climbing the rocks, seeing Jefferson Lake and the small waterfall. He started to wear down a bit on the way back, but we had lots of fun and quality time.
Also, just outside the hotel is the Morris Canal tow path which now has a new "Braille Trail" that just opened. It's still a work in progress, but it's a wonderful idea and a beautiful, easy walk for those that like the outdoors but not a strenuous hike. My daughter and I walked this together and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. It's the most in-tact portion remaining of the Morris Canal.
I went back the next day alone to Allamuchy State Park, same starting point at the SBT parking lot, and hiked the white trail to the Yellow (Pebble Loop), then to the Highlands Trail back to the Sussex Branch Trail. I'm also fortunate to have great hiking within minutes of my work. The Highlands Trail passed close by. The Sparta Mtn Wildlife Reserve is 8 minutes away and includes Ryker lake and more of the Highland Trail, as well as some Audubon Society trails. I'm always searching for new trails.
This week I stumbled upon Hamburg Mtn Wildlife Area online and realized it was 5 minutes from my office. Went to the Crystal Lake spot and discovered tons of trails and cool things to see. It's a beautiful, quiet place. I'm grateful to be able to experience this amidst a hectic work and family schedule! Looking forward to more places to discover: