This was my third trip to the western part of Black Rock Forest. I only took a few photos. For a more complete record of this part of the park, see my blog post from 2010.
It was Batya’s first trip to the forest. We parked on Mine Hill Road, and hiked up Mine Hill Trail, which always gives nice views:
Fall had set in, and the colors were quite muted, though we still found a few wildflowers.
We took the Sackett Trail and Short Cut Trail to Hall Road, which soon led to the gate:
Beyond the gate, we continued on the Highlands Trail, finding a nice splash of yellow Fall colors:
As well as some red:
We passed Jupiter’s Boulder, and we were reflecting on the fact that we hadn’t encountered any other hikers. I suddenly recalled that unlike the publicly owned parks, Black Rock Forest is owned by a private group, and at times it is open to hunting and closed to hikers. Not being a hunter, I had no idea when hunting season was, but I checked my smartphone and learned that we were within bow hunting season, but not yet rifle hunting season. We heard some gunfire, but realized that must be from a shooting range, such as at nearby West Point. We were dressed in bright colors, so I wasn’t too worried about being mistaken for a deer by any bowhunters, but I also didn’t want to be ticketed for trespassing.
As we approached Mineral Spring Brook, we ran into one of the local targets. We assured him that we did not have any bows and arrows, and he relaxed. He was relatively close and not terribly skittish; I hope that he survived the hunting season!
We continued on past Mineral Spring Falls, thinking that if we had to leave the park (to avoid continued trespassing), that we could exit at Old Mineral Springs Road and follow the road back to the car. However, that proved unnecessary, as we found a kiosk that clarified that the park is only closed to hikers during rifle hunting season. Soon after reading that notice, we saw a few other hikers on the trails.
Therefore, we backtracked and spent some time at Mineral Spring Falls, and then began to retrace our steps through the park, back toward the car.
Batya hiking on a trail covered with fallen leaves:
A hilltop as seen from near Jupiter’s Boulder:
Bright red berries:
The Mine Hill Trail provided another nice view in the late afternoon, as we hiked down to my car: