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    GoldenBear's Avatar
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    Upper Darby, PA
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    Post Information on Greenwood Lake, NY

    For those traveling alone, the best trail heads are the ones that can be easily reached by public transportation. This last week I found the village of Greenwood Lake, NY (GWL) to be one of those places.

    The village apparently takes some pride in being near the A.T.
    and the views nearby can be quite good
    Combined with the fact that it is very easy to travel between New York City and GWL by public transit, and you have a good place to start or end a section hike, do a day hike without a car, or just do some short term re-supply.

    As shown on this pdf
    one can depart on the 197 bus from the NY Port Authority Bus Terminal at 7:30a, 9:30a, 11:30a, and 1:30p; arriving at GWL in about two hours. Or one can ride the 196 Express to Warwick, departing (about) every 20 minutes starting at 3:00p, and get to GWL in less than ninety minutes. The 197 departs from Gate 233; the 196, from Gate 304. Each bus is a eleven zone ride, which (as of 2013 May) costs $12.75 . You MUST buy your ticket before you board the bus from the Terminal, but doing so is easy at the numerous NJTransit kiosks -- which accept cash or credit cards. If you accidentally request a ticket for Greenwood Lake NJ (as I think I may have), don't worry -- they are in the same zone.

    Note that these are commuter buses, not inter-city ones -- so they have no restrooms and only limited baggage capacity. You may be able to place your pack below, or maybe not. I would avoid riding during rush hour, so as to ensure you can place your pack on the seat next to you.

    NJTransit buses announce each stop on a lit display at the front of the bus, so just watch the scrolling sign at the front until you see "Greenwood Lake Park & Ride." When you get off, you'll be at (surprise!) a park and ride lot.
    The lot is on Jersey Avenue, which is also Highway 210. Note that parking here is strictly prohibited unless you are a GWL resident with a commuter pass. Walk southeast on this street and you'll get to Windemere Avenue, a street with a variety of small shops and restaurants. Walk northeast on Windemere to get to a 24 hour Cumberland Farms convenience store (with bathroom, and a sink you can use to fill a water bottle) and a CVS drugstore, or southwest to a True Value Hardware. As far as I know, there are no large chain stores in the town.
    GWL does have abundant trash cans and recycle bins, which can be nice when you're trying to dump the stuff you've been packing out for a few days. The city also has a library, adjacent to the Park & Ride Lot, with wi-fi -- free but you have to talk to the librarian about logging on. The library has bathrooms, and is open at 9am on weekdays, 11 on Saturday and Sunday, and closes at 9p on Tuesday to Thursday, till about 5p other days.

    If going into NYC, you get on the NJTransit bus at the Park & Ride Lot, where you pay with cash ONLY as you get on. The driver will make change, but will not accept any bill larger than a $20.

    To get to the A.T., you'll need to go up the Village Vista Trail (VVT).
    The trail head for this approach trail is located behind the Lions Fields, which are located at the northwest end of Elm Street. Just walk towards the hills and away from the lake on just about any street, and you're bound to find baseball fields.

    As you walk up Elm Street, you'll come across Helen Kelly Field on your right.
    Continue on Elm towards the Lions Field, with a prominent "No Parking" sign and a bathroom (on your left) that may or may not be open.
    Veer right, following the paved road, until there are no more baseball fields on your left. Look left for a sign for the VVT trail head. Here is a photo of what you'll see, but note that I added the blue line to the trail head.

    The VVT is well-blazed, and is adequate for getting up to the ridge line. For those coming down this trail from the A.T., there are a couple places that COULD be tricky if the light is bad or you're just tired. Again, for each of these, I've added a blue line to show which way the trail goes.

    The intersection between the VVT and the A.T. is very well-designated
    but the sign has a problem with its direction. Specifically, it implies that, for those going north, the A.T. continues straight ahead and the VVT is to the right. In fact -- and as the lines I drew show -- the blue-blazed VVT is straight ahead (for those going north), the A.T. (white line) turns to the left, and the red line leads nowhere.

    If walking south from the VVT, you'll come across some parts of the A.T. where the signage is a bit hard to follow. I'm pretty good at staying on a blazed trail, but even I got off a couple times. As usual, if you find that you've not seen any white blazes in a couple minutes, turn back to the last point where you know you saw a white blaze, then look carefully for the next one. If a downed tree has blocked the path, you may need to look through the tree debris to see that next blaze before going around the tree.
    In addition, you might miss a blaze where the Trail goes up some granite. Or at least I did, when I missed the one on the tree
    Be honest -- would you have noticed the white blaze unless I added the red arrow to show where it is? The full white line is the real A.T., the broken white line is what I call the "People's Choice" A.T. In other words, one trail is that chosen by a group of experts, the other is the one chosen by people "voting" (literally) with their feet. This next photo shows this choice for those going north from the NJ-NY State Line.
    Last edited by GoldenBear; 05-11-2013 at 18:48. Reason: Minor tweaks, and added a link.

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