SUNFISH POND
Worthington State Forest, Warren County, NJ
258 acres


Directions:

From NYC go west on I-80 about 75 miles to the Delaware Water Gap. Take the last exit before the bridge, marked Millbrook-Flatbrook and "Delaware Water Gap Information Station." Bear north (right) on Old Mine Road for 3 miles. Park car on the left. Across the road, pick up the blue-blazed trail.


Geology:

High on top of the Kittatinny Ridge is a blue lake, Sunfish Pond, a relic of the Wisconsin Glacier (which gouged out a hollow that later filled with water) around 18,000 years ago. The Appalachian Trail, which is heavily traveled in this area, passes along the eastern side of the lake on the Appalachian Trail in Worthington State Forest

Catfish Pond is next. Lookout Tower at Catfish. Long Pine Pond. Crater Lake. Buttermilk Falls to the west reachable by Buttermilk Falls Trail. Rattlesnake Hill. Stokes State Forest.


History:

In 1870 Sunfish Pond was described as "a sheet of pure transparent water . . . strangely and unaccountably situated on the very Summit of the mountain." (quoted in Pepper 1965:158)

1903  -- millionaire businessman Charles C. Worthington, president of the Worthington Pump Corporation, acquires 8,000 acres on both sides of the river in the Delaware Valley. He erected a small mansion (called Buckwood Lodge) on a hillside half way between the river and Sunfish Pond (which supplied the water for the mansion). At that time, he called the pond: Buckwood Lake.

Worthington used the state forest area as a deer preserve for hunting.

At one time there was a plan to create a dam at Tock's Island.


Trails:

There are piles of rock that are leftovers from a hotel that stood here until the 1950s.

At the top of the ridge, the Blue Trail joins the Appalachian Trail. Turn north (left) and follow the white blazes.

Timber rattlesnake and northern copperhead found here.

The path to the lake is wide and occasionally steep. Allow an hour and a half to go up and an hour to go down. You can hike all the way around the lake, a walk of 1.5 miles.

Source: Audubon Trail Guides


4/28/2005.  Parked at the Douglas Parking Area on Old Mine Road.  Headed across Old Mine Road and picked up the orange-blazed Garvey Trail.  This is a hard way to get to see Sunfish Pond.  The walk is almost all uphill until you finally get to the top and then you soon see Sunfish Pond on the right.  Nearing age 60 and not being a hiker, it took me a while to get up there.  Maybe an hour. 

There was very little undergrowth on the slopes.  I reached the green-dot-on-white-background Northwest Trail and turned left along with the orange trail.  In a short distance the orange trail heads uphill to the right away from the Northwest Trail.    The orange trail heads up between a large mountain on the left and a smaller hill on the right.  Reached the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and turned right to walk the short distance to Sunfish Pond.  There is a lot of mountain laurel and sheep laurel here and the trail is often narrow, squeezed between full sides of these species. 

There are several little cleared stopping areas along the pond.  I had a map from 1997 that showed a Sunfish Drainage Trail heading downhill, but I did not find the trail when I came to the actual water outflow.  Here there is a large cleared area with a limited view of Pennsylvania.  Decided to return the way I came.  Coming back to the pond outflow I saw dog Sonar fending off a strike from a water snake.  The dog looked a little confused.  He has encountered a lot of mammals, but this was his first snake.  (What the hell is this strange creature!)

I decided to stay away from the mountain laurel and the narrow, rocky AT, so I took an informal trail above the laurel.  It was much easier walking.  I'm glad I took the short-cut because I walked over to the edge of the hill and was able to see the Delaware River snaking its way through the river valley.  Nice view.  I wish I had brought my binoculars.  Picked up the orange trail and headed downhill back to the parking area.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.  


PLANT LIST:
Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
* = plants in bloom on date of field trip, 4/28/2005


Trees:
Acer pensylvanicum (striped maple)
Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Amelanchier arborea (shadbush)
Betula alleghaniensis (yellow birch)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood) *
Fagus grandifolia (American beech)
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Picea sp. (spruce)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak) 
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak) dominates the dry, rocky ridgetop
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Quercus velutina (black oak)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)

Shrubs and sub-shrubs:
Aronia sp. (chokeberry)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) *
Clethra alnifolia (sweet pepper bush)
Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)
Gaultheria procumbens (teaberry)
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)
Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron)
Rhododendron periclymenoides (pinxter flower)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus phoenicolasius ((wineberry)
Syringa sp. (lilac bush)
Vaccinium corymbosum (hillside blueberry)
Vaccinium  pallidum (hillside blueberry) *

Vines:
Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle)

Herbs:
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard) *
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit)
Cardamine parviflora (dry land bittercress) *
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Glechoma hederacea (gill-over-the-ground) *
Hedyotis sp. (bluets) *
Maianthemum canadense (Canada mayflower)
Polygonatum sp. (true Solomon's seal)
Potentilla canadensis (dwarf cinquefoil)
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) *
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)
Veronica simplex (common speedwell)
Viola blanda (sweet white violet) *

Rushes::
Luzula multiflora (wood rush) *

Sedges:
Cares pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) *

Grasses:
Schizachyrium scoparium (little blue stem grass

Ferns and fern allies:
Lycopodium obscurum (ground pine)
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Other:
rock tripe lichen


SUNFISH POND. November 2, 1941 along the Appalachian Trail. In the morning we covered the Dunnfield Creek route from the Delaware River to Sunfish Pond (Section 1a) and in the afternoon the blazed route from Sunfish Pond back to the Delaware River (Section 1), covering slightly over nine miles of trail in all. The weather was intensely cold. Among the most interesting plants observed by us on our trip through Section 1a were:
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Cunila origanoides (American dittany)
Angelica villosa (pubescent angelica)
Brachyelytrum erectum (bearded short-husk grass)
Chrysosplenium americanum (eastern golden saxifrage)
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Corallorhiza maculata (large coral root)
Carya alba (mockernut hickory)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya microcarpa (small-fruited hickory)
Hydrangea arborescens (wild hydrangea)
Goodyera pubescens (downy rattlesnake plantain)
Botrychium obliquum (ternate grape fern)
Botrychium dissectum (cutleaf grape fern)
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly)
Juglans cinera (butternut)
Polygala paucifolia (fringed milkwort)
Azalea viscosa (white swamp honeysuckle)
Rubacer odoratum (purple flowering raspberry)
Seriocarpus asterioides (toothed whitetop aster)
Callitriche palustris (vernal water starwort)
Muhlenbergia mexicana (common satin grass)
Clinopodium vulgare (field basil)
Galium lanceolatum (Torrey's wild liquorice)
Arabis laevigata (smooth rock cress)
Asclepias pulchra (hairy milkweed)
Carex tonsa (deep-green sedge)
Aronia prunifolia (purple chokeberry)
Kalmia angustifolia (sheep laurel)
Asplenium trichomanes (maidenhair spleenwort)
Camptosorus rhizophyllus (walking fern)
Houstonia coerulea (common bluets) *
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) *
Aster divaricatus (common white wood aster) *
Astraeus hygrometricus (earth star) in large quantities
At Sunfish Pond the most important finds were colonies of:
Carex folliculata (long sedge)
Dulichium arundinaceum (three-way sedge)
Myrica gale (sweet gale)

Section 1:
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus -- fields filled by practically pure-stand colonies of this near Delaware River
Ligustrum vulgare (European privet)
Elaeagnus umbellata (autumn olive) abundant
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven) abundant
Nintooa japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) abundant
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry) abundant
Berberis vulgaris (European barberry) abundant
Fraxinus pensylvanica (green ash)
Arsenococcus ligustrinus (maleberry)
Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)
Ranunculus recurvatus (hooked crowfoot)
Cynoglossum boreale (northern wild comfrey)
Nemopanthus mucronata (mountain holly)
Lycopodium clavatum (common running pine)
Lycopodium flabelliforme (American trailing Christmas green)
Thalictrum dioicum (early meadow rue)
Poa compressa (English bluegrass)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Asarum canadense (common wild ginger)
Hedeoma pulegioides (American pennyroyal)
Agrimonia mollis (soft agrimony)
Geum canadense (white avens)
Grossularia hirtella (low wild gooseberry)
Agrostis hiemalis (roughleaf bent grass)
Antennaria neodioica (smaller catspaw)
Antennaria plantaginifolia (plantainleaf catspaw)
Conocephalum conium (liverwort) -- extensive mats on a moist cliff
Plantago aristata (large bracted plantain) extensive beds along the river

Trip Leader, H. N. Moldenke.