Letterboxing with Phoenix Rizing

West Essex Trail

Essex County -- Cedar Grove, NJ

Originally Planted 11/03/2007
Repaired & replanted 07/11/2009

The trail is situated on the former right-of-way of the Caldwell Branch of the old Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. Though the trail is used presently by walkers and bicyclists, fiscal restraints have postponed implementation of Essex County's final grading and landscaping plans. Acquired in 1985 through Green Acre funding, the 2.84 mile trail runs from the Passaic County line near the Lenape Trail, southwest through the Community Park by the Peckman River, across Route 23, across Fairview Avenue, past Verona High School, and on to Arnold Way. Public debate delayed further acquisition long enough for the railroad company to sell off some intermittent parcels, effectively preventing the county from extending the trail as far as Grover Cleveland Park in Caldwell, as originally planned. The Lenape Indian Trail crosses the West Essex Trail near the Passaic/Essex County line. For more information, see www.traillink.com.

This is a railroad-themed stamp in a Snapware box large enough to hold Hitchhikers. I had to repair this box twice, the second time a tree branch fell and crushed the box so I decided to move the location and these are the updated clues. Although it is more difficult to find (really, not much more!), I like this location better as it is more railroad-oriented.

You need to know how to use a compass to find this stamp!

Park in the Foodtown Shopping Center on Pompton Avenue (Rt23) in Cedar Grove.

From the parking lot, walk towards the RR bridge that crosses over Rt23. You can either go up to the trail from a dirt path on this side or cross over to the other side of the street and go up the stairs.

On the path, face 270* and walk for about 10-15 minutes. Along the way, you will see old telephone/telegraph poles on the right side of the trail and piles of ripped up rail ties all over. Also on the right side, you will pass a mile marker that says JC19. Soon after that, the trail comes to a road. After looking both ways, cross the road and continue on the trail.

After the old brick building on the right, you will see in the woods paralleling the trail 12 upright metal beams in concrete, they are about 4' high. When you get near the last of the beams, you will see on the left an unmarked path into the woods. You are not taking that path, instead, continue the way you are going for about 60 steps and stop. You should see a 3-trunk tree on your left. If you come to a metal fence on the left, you went a bit too far.

If you are facing the tree, do an about-face and you will see on the other side of the dry stream bed a telephone/telegraph pole. It is a thin pole about 15' high and next to it is a twisted rope vine.

You need to make your way to that pole (hopefully the stream bed doesn't get too wet during the rainy seasons). From that pole, sight 295* and go about 20 steps. You should find yourself on the gravel bed of the old railroad.

Follow the roadbed north and in a short while you will see on the left, 2 medium sized trees in the shape of a "V". Behind the base of the "V" under roadbed gravel will be the box.

Beware of poison ivy and ticks! This trail has walkers, runners and bike riders, so please be discrete when at the box.

To return, go back the way you came.

Please double-bag the logbook and hide the box better than how you found it!

Record your find at LbNA and/or AQ.