Hike Report: Point Mountain (Port Murray, NJ)

Our Boy Scout guides explain their plan for the hike. Believe it or not, this photo was taken at 10:17 a.m.

Not even a drenching rain could dampen the spirits of our small group of hikers–four Boy Scouts and two dads–as we hiked several trails at Point Mountain Reservation in Port Murray, NJ.

We started at the Point Mountain Road trailhead. Our Scout patrol guides were in charge and chose to head out on the Ridge Trail (marked in orange). The trail leads almost directly to the top of the mountain and has some challenging sections: steep ascents on a very rocky trail. The teeming rain made the moss-covered rocks very slippery, but our slow and steady strategy worked well and we soon reached the overlook.

The view was spectacular, even through the misty clouds that drifted by both above and below us. While the wet weather prevented us from climbing out onto the large outcropping of rocks, we had a great view from our more conservative vantage point.

Since it was too early to break out our lunch, we quickly got back on the trail. Since the boys needed to hike five miles to fulfill their rank requirement, they planned a route that took them on several of the reservation’s trails. So, it was down the Overlook Trail back to the Ridge Trail and then on to the White Trail. The forest provide a good cover from the rain and the scouts seemed to be having a blast.

After crossing a road, the White Trail was supposed to pick up again on the other side, but we weren’t able to find it, despite a lot of searching and a fun discovery: the archery range of a YMCA camp the boys had visited as Cub Scouts–we had no idea they bordered one another.

After consulting our map, we followed the road for a while and picked up the entrance to another trail to get us headed back to the trailhead. We stopped for lunch at a small clearing, and while the boys enjoyed their sandwiches, I attempted to fire up my MSR Pocket Rocket to heat up a vacuum-sealed bag of leftover stir-fry I had packed. My matches got wet almost immediately, but luckily one of the older scouts had a JetBoil with an ignition system, which I was able to use to get my own stove started. See, those Boy Scouts really are always prepared!

We made sure our trail back took us up to the overlook again and soaked (literally) in the view once more before heading back to the trailhead, finishing at just over five miles.

Even with all the rain, the boys were already talking about coming back again in nicer weather to see more of this beautiful reservation.

Thanks to the Eagles patrol of BSA Troop 200 in Annandale, NJ for being terrific guides on a really enjoyable outing.

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