Gertrude's Nose
Shawangunks


Combining the Millbrook Mountain and Gertrude's Nose hikes makes for a long, sometimes steep hike of about 11 miles over rough terrain, taking 5 to 6 hours. Wear sturdy shoes and take water.

From the top of Millbrook Mountain.

Follow the red trail (see the Millbrook Mountain trail).

After about a mile and a half, the Red Trail leads out onto Gertrude's Nose. At times, the trail is very close to the cliff edge. You pass an area with lots of heath plants and scrub oak and stunted pitch pine (lots).

Pitch pines disappear to be replaced by mosses and stunted shrubs. The rocks are covered with lichens. At the very edge of the precipice, there is only bare rock.

The large boulders scattered about are glacial erratics. Look into rocky crevices along the cliffs for the mountain sandwort.

From the tip of Gertrude's Nose, walk north (right) along the Red Trail.

On the southwest side of the point is a steep ravine, the Palmaghatt Kill, caused by a large fracture and cut by a stream. Because of its rugged terrain, this ravine was never logged. Some virgin stands of timber line the walls and floor of the valley -- hemlocks, white pines, oaks, red maples, sugar maples, and blackgums.

Follow the right-hand prong of the Red Trail to Millbrook Dr.

Turn east (right) and walk about half a mile back to the edge of Millbrook Mountain and the intersection of the Red and Blue trails.

Either retrace your path or follow the Blue Trail as it skirts the escarpment 3 miles back to Trapps Bridge.

(Source: The Audubon Guide series)


PLANT LIST:

Acer rubrum (red maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Arenaria sp. (sandwort)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Nyssa sylvatica (tupelo)
Pinus rigida (pitch pine)
Quercus ilicifolia (scrub oak)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Vaccinium spp. (blueberry bushes)


In 1932 Raymond H. Torrey (Torreya 32: 97-100) in "The Corema conradii Station on Shawangunk Mountain" said there was a population of Corema condradii on Gertrude's Nose that was isolated from fires by the topography of the area; vertical cliffs to the west and south, a wet swale to the north, and thin vegetation to the east and northeast.  In 1981 only 30 to 40% of the plants were still living.  There were numerous
dead shrubs 10 to 16 inches in diameter.  Ledges of the cliffs facing Palmaghatt,  inaccessible to deer, have been observed to support vigorous healthy stands. 
(Source: Elizabeth M. Obee, NJ DEP:. http://www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/natural/heritage/textfiles/corema.txt)