Take a Hike up High Mountain

View from High Mountain Preserve summit.

Just to be clear, High Mountain Park Preserve and High Point State Park are two different places, located at opposite ends of the top of NJ. High Point is located in rural Sussex County, sprawling over 16,000 acres; High Mountain is a 1260 acre oasis in the congestion of the Passaic County community of Wayne, just a 90 minute trip up the Turnpike from the NJ State Library (NJSL). Getting to High Point from Trenton would not be that swift.

Folks from NJ, NY and PA flock to High Point for the hiking, picnicking, swimming and views, especially from the monument. Birds are the main flockers to High Mountain, where even locals don’t know of its existence, but for those who do, it’s a respite from the shopping malls, traffic and spaghetti roadways.

In a light-hearted and enjoyable presentation at NJSL, Jim Wright discussed the many attributes of the Preserve, which  is one of the largest tracts of forested land in New Jersey’s Piedmont Region. His talk not only included historical facts, but archival images, nature shots and aerial photography, showing great spots to hike, enjoy nature and see some fabulous views at the peak.

As a bonus, Wright also talked about the secretive Wild Turduckens that live near the summit; the endangered Mountain Mint flower and long-eared bats that live in the ecosystem; and showed the live bald eagle webcam at Duke Farms.

Author/photographer Wright has written four coffee table books, Jungle of the Maya, Hawk Mountain, In the Presence of Nature, and The Nature of the Meadowlands. For the past 10 years, he has written “The Bird Watcher” column for The Bergen Record. He has also written an interactive e-book about Duke Farms’ Bald Eagles and three nature-oriented e-books.

In his spare time, Wright also serves as deputy marsh warden of the Celery Farm Natural Area and maintains a nature blog for that area. His photography appears regularly in publications including nature calendars and on nature blogs. Additionally, he serves on the board of the New Jersey chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Check out celeryfarm.net for some interesting links.