As part of my 2017 goal, which is to hike as many mountain peaks as possible, yesterday I finally hiked Mt Tammany. This was my 4th hike in 4 months….pretty proud of myself for diligently following it. Mt Tammany is the southernmost peak of the Kittatinny Mountains in Knowlton Township, Warren County, New Jersey. Standing 1527 feet tall. My friends and I decided to do the Red Dot/Blue Trail Loop. The entire loop is a little less than 4 miles. We chose Red Dot on our way up and blue trail on our way down…here’s why, for me to be interested in hiking, it has to be rocky, steep and strenuous preferably with breathtaking views….so good decision there! Red Dot trail is short, yet one of the hardest to do and I am so glad I did it!. The weather was perfect to be outdoor, it wasn’t too cold or too sunny…it was slightly cloudy and breezy…just the perfect amount!
I always prefer starting my hike early in the day, like around 7:30-8ish (it’ll be sooner come summer) purely to avoid crowd and traffic, both on the trail and the road. Places like these tend to fill up by 11-12ish. I was surprised to see the number of people at the summit by the time we were done soaking in the beauty which was exclusive to us pretty much all the time we stayed. Also, when you start early, you get a good parking spot!! BINGO!!
There are two entrances to the Red Dot trail…one from parking number one, where there is no washroom facility and the next which is a little ahead of that, with one washroom…that’s the weirdest description you’ll find anywhere, but that’s how I distinguish between parkings 😉 …park anywhere based on your bladder situation, which in my case was brimming with excitement thanks to the coffee I had had. After going through the WORST 2 minutes of my life in that loo (I almost lost consciousness) we started our hike…Here’s my two cents on public washrooms.. JUST AVOID!!
You’ll see the board nicely marked…I was more interested in reading about Rattle Snake & Bear Warnings…Wow!! (Zoom in and you can read too)…Couple of minutes of stairs up…more like a warm up before the crazy ride.. you end up walking on a flat terrain for a bit..
Warm up continues for about 10 more minutes. To be honest I was a bit disappointed. I started comparing it to Storm King Trail (another beast in the region)…which is rocky and steep right from parking…I was trail cheating;-)
And then…Viola! Rocks!…now that’s what I am talking about! Starting here up till the summit, about 1.3 miles (or slightly less due to some flat in the beginning) it is rocky, steep strenuous hike…no respite! It was freaking awesome! I saw a bunch of experienced hikers running up and down the trail…like business as usual while I could barely breathe…RESPECT!!
It continues…I like it when I have to use my hands for climbing!!
After some huffing and puffing…we finally found a good spot for photoOp….the view of Delaware river was beautiful…being breezy somehow made the hike even more interesting…a thousand pictures later we continued with our ascend…
Some posing between huffing and puffing doesn’t hurt!
And…VIOLA!! There I am viewing the most breathtaking panoramic view of the earth below and around us…Nature is magnificent!! I was completely and most certainly in awe of this moment! Hiking is the only time I feel the “Power of Now”…no wonder all Rishi Munis (Sage) in ancient times migrated to Himalayas..to experience “NOW”…I am sure there are ways of recreating the feeling sitting in a board room or in the midst of a traffic jam…BUT I’d rather climb up a mountain for first hand experience;-)
Moving on…a few more clicks (about a million) from this spot…
You cannot help but notice the grandeur and magnificence of the mountain range in front…absolutely majestic!! No amount of photography can do justice to what your eyes capture real time!
So, right where I am standing in the previous picture…there is a very steep rocky slope to go further down a little bit…it is dangerous I must say…and totally built for adventurous souls like me…other hikers did not attempt this…Now, here’s one thing about me, anything that is out of the ordinary is my thing!! Clicking this picture was pretty challenging as it was right at the edge and I was not getting a flat surface to sit on…so I had me holding the rock I was planning on sitting with one hand and clicking with the other…I am neither sitting nor standing in this pic…somewhere half way..one slip and I would’ve gone straight up….you know what I mean;-). One observation I’d like to point here…when I was standing on the edge of this cliff and looked down, I felt like the earth was pulling me and I am not talking about gravity here..duh!! There was some hypnotic pull where for a split second I wanted to jump and then fly…like a bird!! I had to literally look away…has it happened to you ever?
This is pretty much where the Red Dot trail ends and Blue Trail begins…
The terrain is relatively flatter, however rocky bit continues. Blue trail is 1.8 miles…simple and no fuss, but with an element of surprise!
A set of mini waterfalls with fallen trees on them…the perfect setting!! I wonder if they were purposely put there for somebody like me to experiment…I told ya, nothing ordinary for me…
See, this is how I look at it, after such strenuous activity, ones body and mind need to relax…everyone chooses for themselves how to unwind…I saw opportunity, I grabbed 😉
A beautiful rustic bridge completes the look!!
Here is a slideshow of other pictures…cuz every picture deserves to be here!
Last yet most important…
Happy & Rejuvenated ME…:-)
We did about 1.8 miles of Appalachian Trail almost half way till Sunfish Pond too, but that’s a post for another time!
Until then keep hiking..keep exploring!!