Passaic County High Point Trip Report

Date: March 22, 2002
Author: Michael Schwartz

six areas in the vicinity of Terrace Pond (1,480+ ft)

I revisited all six areas, using a GPS unit for the first time, to firmly establish all locations. Coordinates recorded at the points coincided within 50 feet of those derived from on-line Topozone maps. Approach details and general hiking routes described in previous reports are still valid. The identity of the highest point is still a mystery. The area at the benchmark is the largest of the 1480+ foot contours, but the three separated sets of points are not visible from one another, and none is particularly spiked. Set aside at least a half day, visit all the points, and leave with a clear conscience. This hike involves considerable bushwhacking in difficult terrain. Even though this was my fourth visit, and with minimal stopping, the hike took four hours.

one point 2,000 feet north of Terrace Pond

This is the most elusive and difficult to reach of the six areas. Shortly before reaching the highest point along the pipeline swath, GPS will indicate the nearest approach to the highpoint, about 0.36 mile distant. Bushwhack slightly west of south, soon passing the very impressive, spiky boulder clump mentioned in previous reports. Unfortunately, this very cool point is not the highpoint. As you work south and west, a series of higher ridges will become visible. The gaps between these ridges are both wet and full of thick laurel and rhododendron. The rock at the highest point is marked by a circular orange blaze. You may see or traverse another knob nearby marked by a cairn.

coordinates: 1,2
    Topozone -   (41.1439°N, 74.3940° W)
GPS-derived -   (41° 8.652' N, 74° 23.624' W)

two points 1,000 feet northeast of Terrace Pond

I would suggest bushwhacking slightly west of south, following the general trend of the ridge, from the northernmost highpoint until you intersect the blue trail. The going gets easier as you work south, and it just isn't worth backtracking to the pipeline swath. See my earlier reports for the route from the blue trail to the benchmark. As noted by Dan Case, the benchmark is probably not on the highest point of its particular ridge, but exploring the ridge is easy. For extra credit, print the USGS data sheet listed as Bear Fort Reset (with spaces between all three words) and try to find all the old marks mentioned there. Haven't done it myself yet, as I had never pulled that data sheet before. For the point to the southeast of the BM, it's fun to just bushwhack directly there, using a bit of a ramp off the BM ridge, fighting through some laurel, crossing a lower intermediate ridge, and then scrambling up the steep highpoint ridge. You will pass a couple of crevices that look like excellent bear dens. GPS put me right on the highpoint, which is marked by a circular orange blaze. Note also a copper bolt, presumably placed by the USGS, that I had never noticed on three previous visits, a few inches from the blaze.

Benchmark: 1,2
    Topozone -   (41.1405°N, 74.3919° W)
GPS-derived -   (41° 8.437' N, 74° 23.500' W)

Point southeast of BM: 1,2
    Topozone -   (41.1395°N, 74.3915° W)
GPS-derived -   (41° 8.385' N, 74° 23.478' W)

three points 1,000 feet southwest of Terrace Pond

Take the white trail south along the west side of the pond (not the longer route along the east side), and bear uphill to the right on the signed red trail. When this trail crests and is clearly starting downhill, bushwhack generally north along the ridge line. Almost immediately reach a clump of at least three knobs, the highest of which is the southernmost of three highpoints. Look for a cairn.

Continue almost due north to another knob topped by a nice, sit-down-for-lunch-sized boulder, with a cairn nearby. This spot is renowned as the place where Fred Lobdell completed New Jersey.

Backtrack to the southernmost point and strike a little north of east to the tiny easternmost point. GPS put me right on this point, which is on the pond side of the red trail, looking right down onto the trail. You will have passed this point on the way uphill, but it's not obvious. Look for an orange blaze on top and a grand view east to the New York City skyline, some 45 miles away, haze permitting. I had not been on this point solo or with hiking partners, but luckily it is clearly lower than the its western neighbors, which are visible from there.

Return by way of the red, white, and blue trails, passing along the west side of Terrace Pond. Not too far along the red trail, notice a large crack to the right that can be walked through, forming a mini-cave.

South: 1,2
    Topozone -   (41.1365°N, 74.3981° W)
GPS-derived -   (41° 8.212' N, 74° 23.865' W)

North: 1,2
    Topozone -   (41.1371°N, 74.3981° W)
GPS-derived -   (41° 8.234' N, 74° 23.872' W)

East: 1,2
    Topozone -   (41.1369°N, 74.3977° W)
GPS-derived -   (41° 8.233' N, 74° 23.847' W)

1     Topozone coordinates are based upon the NAD-27 datum.
2 GPS-derived coordinates are based upon the WGS-84 datum.