On Thursday, October 19th, I was ready to get out for a hike after my 6:15 AM men’s bible study at church. When I returned to Livingston Manor, I ate breakfast at Café 43 and returned home to do a few chores before heading out. I deiced I would go to Trout Pond since I had not bee there in some time and since it was close enough to get in a hike before cross country practice. When Sheila got wind of my plans, she started jumping around and could hardly contain herself even though we had hiked several times during the week. We left Livingston Manor at about 9:45 AM under sunny skies but with a temperatures just into the mid 40’s. I put on my Mammut hoody and brought along gloves and a light hat. I had my gear in the trunk and an overjoyed Sheila in the back seat as we headed to Roscoe on State Route 17. I got on Route 206 and followed it across the Delaware County line to Morton Hill Road. After a left turn on Morton Hill Road, I drove to the intersection with Russell Brook Road. I turned around and parked on the side of the road to avoid the parking area which is private. We began our hike down Russell Brook Road at 10:10 AM. The temperature was 44 degrees so I decided to wear the Mammut Hoody but leave the hat and light gloves behind. We continued on down Russell Brook Road and found it very dry. I could hardly hear any water running in the brook beside the road. As we passed the overlook over the upper falls, I could see that there was almost no water in the stream and decided I would not visit either falls unless it was on the way back. We continued down toward the parking area where there were no cars and got on the woods road that goes down to the bridge that crosses the brook. The Japanese knotweed was in the process of dying and some was leaning over into the trail. We continue on the main trail to the register. At the trail junction just after the register we turned to the left to climb the steeper hill toward Mud Pond. The trail was very dry with almost no water or mud. The stream next to the trail had no water flowing. There were some occasional branches on the trail which I picked up and moved off the trail. The sun was out and as soon as we started to climb the hill, I stopped to open up the zippers on my hoody. The ascent went quickly and I was glad to see there were no major blowdowns on this part of the trail. We reached the top of the hill and walked down the wide woods road to the next trail junction at 1.6 miles. We made a right to follow the trail up to the shoulder of Cherry Ridge. This trail was also very dry with none of the water or mud that sometimes makes the hike difficult. There were several large branches and trucks across the trail. Most of these blowdowns seemed to be rotten and had broken up on impact. I was able to move most of them off the trail without a problem.
After passing through an area with many small diameter trees, we started a short descent with the trail remaining dry. The ascent continued for the next 1.2 miles until at 2.7 miles into the hike when we were at the highest point and ready to start the descent to Trout Pond. Along the way we had come across a few blowdowns which I removed or hiked around. As we descended toward Trout Pond there were three major blowdowns that would require an axe and saw to clear. The trail remained dry and a little slippery in places from the leaves. As we approached the bridge at the inlet end of the pond, I decided to stop and take some pictures. We walked out through the weeds to the shore and found the water level still very low. There wasn’t much color in the leaves but I took some shots anyway. As we walked across the bridge, I noticed there was no water at all in the inlet stream! We continued on the main trail toward the outlet of the pond. The trail was till dry and the hiking was easy. Along the way Sheila alerted and I saw an older couple approaching us. I put Sheila on her leash and moved to the side of the trail but the male hiker insisted on approaching Sheila which did not make her happy. At the lower end of the pond I again stopped to take pictures of a scene I had photographed many times! The water level in the pond was very low and there were no once white clouds in the sky. The hike from the outlet to the trail junction is all downhill and we were able to make good time. On the way down we met a young couple. The woman was carrying a young child in a backpack carrier. We said “Hello” as we passed. By 12:10 PM we had hiked 4.7 miles and were back at the trail junction and register box. I decided that I did not want to walk over to the falls as I was a little short on time. We walked out to the parking area to continue our hike back to the car. There was only one car in the parking lot so I assumed one couple had parked on Morton Hill Road. As we walked up the road back to the car, I did not stop at the overlook over the upper falls but continued up the road. We continued up the road and back to the car. Another car was parking in the pulloff which is on private property and clearly posted. It is thoughtless people like these that cause problems for other hikers! We arrived back at 12:25 PM having covered 5.4 miles and 1105 vertical feet in 2 hours and 15 minutes. The temperature had risen to about 49 degrees as we left.