Cheesequake State Park – After Irene

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Cheesequake trail damage from Hurricane Irene

Hiking Cheesequake State Park after Hurricane Irene.

I’d read that Cheesequake State Park had taken a decent hit from Irene.

So after spending our prior weekend getting our basement back in order, and spending the weekend before that bailing it out by hand when the power was out for days… it was time to get out for a quick hike.

There were lots of down trees visible throughout, but the park staff had already done a terrific job cleaning up the trails.

Green trail damage

In fact, it looked like many had been raked clear because there was so much debris that the trail would be hard to follow otherwise.

Route: YELLOW – walk around Hooks Creek Lake (not blazed) – walk across beach/playground to crabbing bridge –  Perrine Road (a dirt woods road) – BLUE around Perrine Pond – BLUE/Perrine Road – RIGHT on GREEN – GREEN back to lot

For a detailed hike guide see our main Cheesequake – Green Trail page.

One large section of boardwalk was totally moved to the side, but the area itself wasn’t wet (it usually is).

Boardwalk on the Green trail washed way over to the right

And other areas that are soggy on a good day were no problem to pass.

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A lot of sand had been washed into these areas, and it had the effect of actually making the areas easier to cross.

Closer look at that last area

We had expected to see flooded areas and destroyed boardwalks/bridges, but even the normally wet areas around Hooks Creek Lake were fine.

Green trail - this used to be a lush area of ferns

**Bow hunting is allowed for the 2011 season at Cheesequake.

This park used to be one of the few places in NJ you could count on to just go for a hike and not worry during hunting season. I don’t think a lot of people were aware of it, as we were the only 2 people wearing blaze orange.

Now, Cheesequake is not a large park, and in looking at the map there aren’t a lot of outer areas for hunters to be in that aren’t crossed by trails.

While we assume that most hunting is done in the early A.M. so it’s not probably not an issue, we did see a hunter vehicle parked on Perrine right before the trail junction with GREEN around noonish.

The campground also appeared to be full of hunters.

At any rate, heads up when you hike there and consider wearing some blaze orange… or dig your 80’s neon garb out of the closet.

Fiddler crab by the crabbing bridge

Wildlife spotted: Three deer, and a ton of fiddler crabs by the crabbing bridge.

Fiddler crabs

I don’t know it we’ve just never noticed them before, or the water level was different and they were out… very interesting to watch them interact.

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