It was about 10 degrees cooler at Wawayanda State Park (80 degrees versus 90 degrees in central NJ) so I headed out there to do the NJ Hiking Pumphouse-Red-Dot-Hoeferlin Loop with a couple of modifications. Instead of parking by the park office, I parked half a mile away at the pullout along Warwick Turnpike to save the $10 parking fee (been spending WAY too much on gas for hiking here lately) and I added in Lake Lookout, which was very much worth going to. Although this southern part of the hike is near the area closed for pipeline construction, the Lookout Trail to the lake was not posted as closed. However, to finish the Lookout Trail loop, you have to hike a short section of the Old Coal Trail back to Cherry Ridge Road. Where the Old Coal Trail meets Cherry Ridge Road, it is posted as closed but you don't see that until you are exiting the Old Coal Trail. The part you are on between Lookout Trail and Cherry Ridge Road does not go through the construction area. Click here for more pictures of the hike.
The mosquitoes were horrendous! I finally remembered to bring along the OFF Clip-On. Kind of bulky and heavy and it does not work while you are in motion but it does work very well to create a bug-free zone while stopping to take a break.
I was able to sit still for quite some time without being bothered by bugs while taking pictures of wildlife in Lookout Lake. I also kept it clipped to my pocket while hiking so I could turn it on to stop for a drink or to take pictures, otherwise I was assaulted by mosquitoes the minute I would stop moving. So something worth hauling along if the bugs are really annoying on hikes.
I missed the blooms through the Rhododendron tunnels on the Double Pond Trail, probably by about 2 weeks. I found a handful of blooms still hanging on but this should be a beautiful section to hike about mid-July.
Wawayanda Lake was already packed when I passed through there at 8:50 am - there was a steady stream of traffic into the park crossing over Wawayanda Road. The beach was loud and crowded with litter all over the place. Not my idea of a good time. But the lake is where 99.9% of the people stay. On the trails I ran into one other hiker and 3 mountain bikers. You can find lots of solitude away from the beach area of the lake.