On Monday, May 1st, I had not planned a specific hike but wanted to get out and do something as the weather for the rest of the week seemed questionable. I thought about going to Frick Pond to do some trail maintenance but the morning dragged on and I thought it a little late to start chopping. I decided instead to go to Mongaup Pond and hike a loop around the pond. This loop was posted on a website I am working on and the distance was listed at 21.88 miles! I was pretty sure the loop was shorter than that. When I mentioned this to Cindy, she said she wanted to come along so we got dressed and put our gear in the car. Sheila likes it best when we all go hiking so she was jumping around and making strange vocalizations. We left Livingston Manor around 10:15 AM and headed out the DeBruce Road.After about 6 miles I turned left on the Mongaup Road and at the intersection with Beech Mountain Road I stayed right toward Mongaup Pond. In a mile I pulled over and parked in the small parking area just before the entrance to the campgrounds. The park was not yet open so parking in the lot by the bathrooms would have been free but I wanted a GPS track from outside the entrance. The temperature was only in the mid-50’s but it was very humid. I had worn light pants and gaiters. I put on a short sleeved baselayer and a light shirt. I left the house with a light windbreaker but almost immediately ran inside and changed into on OR pertex rain jacket. I set my electronics and we left the car at 10:40 AM with Sheila on her leash. The area was strangely deserted as we walked through the gate and stayed to the left to walk the paved loop road on the western side of the pond. It seemed that we were walking in a cloud as we approached the observation platform and boat ramp at .35 miles. I decided to walk over and take some pictures. The pond was almost completely obscured but some features were visible through the mist. After taking a few shots we continued north on the road. Walking the road was very easy even though it rolled just slightly. At just less than a mile we walked off the road toward a bench at the edge of the pond. I dropped my pack and took out the camera. I took a few more shots of the pond from this angle. There was one, lone mallard duck near the shore. I shouldered my pack after stowing the camera and we walked back out to the loop road to continue the hike. We followed the road as it curved to the right until we came to a T at 1.25 miles.
We turned left and followed the road until the sign for the Mongaup Hardenburgh Trail appeared on the right at 1.4 miles. We turned right to follow the blue-blazed trail along the west side of the much smaller upper pond. The trail was in good shape and only a little damp. At 1.7 miles the trail turned left to head for Hardenburgh. I walked down to the edge of the pond to take a few more pictures. Sheila decided to take a short swim. When she came out of the water she began her mad dash around us. Instead of following the trail, we continued straight ahead on the snowmobile trail around the north end of the pond and south along the eastern shore. The snowmobile trail was not as well maintained with quite a few small branches lying in the trail. It was continually wet with interspersed areas of mud. It was also very rocky in places. At 1.7 miles we began the only assent on the hike which lasted for only .3 miles and gained less than 100 feet. The trail crossed several bridges and at 2.2 miles we came to the junction with the Mongaup Willowemoc Trail. Turning left here would eventually lead to Flugertown Road near Long Pond. We continued straight ahead on the snowmobile trail. The trail began to descend and at 2.8 miles turned due west. Around 2.9 miles a snowmobile trail branched off to the left heading toward Mongaup Falls. We continued straight ahead toward one of the campsite loops. The trail here was flooded from a blocked culvert and we decided to cross the stream where it narrowed. We came to a campsite loop road at just over 3 miles and walked toward the pond passing by campsite 38. We walked toward the pond and came to a road intersection. Immediately to the left was the loop road to another campsite. We passed up this road and continued on to the main loop road where we turned left to head back to the car. In minutes we were at the entrance to the park and our car. It was 12:05 PM and we had hiked 3.4 miles in just under 1.5 hours. The elevation gain was only 310 feet.