A nice, but cold, morning for the hike. Parked on Bigelow Road just before it becomes private. The White (Four Birds) trail is clearly visible there. Just below an old stone wall, an unmarked trail splits off from White. It follows the ridgeline all the way to the high point, whereas Four Birds drops down the mountainside a bit. The trail conference map (#125) shows the woods road veering north, away from Four Birds, but if you continue down it, a short section drops down to rejoin Four Birds near a scenic overlook.
A nice walk on a cold, windy day. Went from AT parking lot to Pinwheel Vista and then made a right turn at the mailbox. The route along the ridge was in pretty good condition with blue blazes. About 1/4 mile from the high point, the blue trail split. The left (eastern) spur went closer to the true summit and required only about 100 yards of bushwhacking. A fair number of other hikers took the route to Pinwheel Vista (surprising to me on a cold Thursday morning), but no one on the blue trail.
Parked at pull-off on Rte 23 just SSE of Holly Trail (tall stone structures) and swampy area. Started down the woods road but didn't see any trails to the top, so bushwacked there. Not very strenuous. Found some blue blazes and trail at the top and followed this back to the woods road at the bottom. Occasionally lost the blazes and trail, but it's still not too difficult getting back down. Lots of ticks on Ryan today. Looking forward to ice and cold again!
Morris Lake Mountain
Hike up early in the morning. The fog hadn't lifted yet. There's one short steep section and the moisture made the rocks, leaves and tree roots quite slippery. I had intended to make a loop with the Orange and Green trails but missed a turn near the top. I should have paid closer attention to the blazes (and my map).
There's a new Yellow trail that branches off the Green trail near the top and follows the ridgeline very close to the summit. It's not on NYNJTC map 126 nor on the map posted at the trailhead kiosk.
Started by going up the Ditch/Cardiac Trail counterclockwise. Passed two trail runners (going opposite directions) on the way up. Near the summit, I lost the Lavender trail. On the NYNJTC map, it looks like it goes south, missing the summit. But there are lots of mountain bike trails on the top that go to the true summit. I followed one of the mountain bike trails northeast along the ridge rather than dropping down into the valley on the Lavender trail. The mountain bike trail is fine but it make BIG switchback with little elevation change rather than taking a more direct hiking route. When I got back to the trailhead, I saw signs that JORBA helps maintain the trails. Although there aren't any wide-open views at the summit, my fifteen year-old doggie had a wonderful romp in the woods.
Took the woods road up to the small pond and bushwacked from there. Could have stayed on the road too as it (mostly) made it to the summit. Took the "smiley face" trail down. It was a nice cold day so the mud and ground was frozen, but most of last week's ice was gone. Even in the winter, no view from the summit. But it was a nice walk in the woods.