Sunday, April 19, 2015

Turkey Mountain Hike from Pyramid Mountain Morris County Park

In preparation for this coming June at Philmont Scout Reservation, New Mexico, Bernardsville Boy Scout Troop 150 involved the boys hiking with a full pack 7 1/2-mile Turkey Mountain hike this morning. Actually, we ascended some 200-300 feet twice, the vertical ascent from the parking lot about 360 feet or so, not very much at all compared to a peak over 12,000 feet high in New Mexico.

Trails throughout the mountains associated here with Pyramid Mountain Morris County Park are many, well-marked and well-maintained. Easily accessed from Interstate 287 just north of Boonton, they're relatively easy, especially if you're not hauling 50 pounds on your back. Other hikes in New Jersey like Mount Tammany and Rattlesnake Ridge test endurance better, since the vertical ascent from the lot to Tammany's summit, for example, is just over 1200 feet.

I first hiked in this one of many excellent parks of the Morris County system March 20th, 1994, ascending Pyramid Mountain, snapping a photo of Tripod Rock with my Pentax K-1000 35mm camera and hearing a ruffed grouse drumming not far from the trail at one point. So today I was happy to add a new hike to my achievements. An excellent reference guide is The 50 Best Hikes in New Jersey. I checked off many of those listed in 1994-98, often hiking with my wife. Of course, many more than 50 hikes exist in New Jersey and hundreds are good. I can't really imagine any not good. Anywhere you can walk in wild space offers relief from modern tension.

I'm not going to Philmont. My backpacking is over and done, although I will get out and do a hike from time to time that requires some stamina. Weather just right, 60 degrees or so today was better for hiking than temperatures near 80 yesterday. After three or four miles, I started have trouble with the numbness in my left foot. Severe sciatica damaged nerves more than a year ago, and apparently the nerves are never coming back. Today my left leg started to develop nerve trouble also, so I suppose the sciatica weakened nerves in that entire leg. With this sort of trouble generated by herniated disks in my back, it's not wise to try and backpack mountains again, especially given that I just don't have time to undergo the training exercise needed.

I'll let my son climb the Rockies for me.


  1. I had no idea about your back trouble, I just read this. I know another who is suffering from 'sciatic' problems. I had always thought of it as a nuisance, something that could be fixed with a good chiropractor. I have a slight curve to my back and sleep better in a recliner than I do in bed. Several hours in bed leave me stiff.

  2. Replies
    1. MRI revealed the worst compression against my spine the back surgeon had seen in many years. I saw it. The hardened extrusion from disk herniation collapsed most of my spinal cord. The sciatic as result was terrific pain. I felt it when it intensified so much my left foot and calve went numb. They've been very numbish ever since. Instead of surgery, I had an epidural. Then again I needed one, but ever since for more than a year, I've been OK. The surgeon did say it possible the extrusion would dissolve.


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