Ghost Lake  LbNA # 11166

Placed DateSep 25 2004
LocationHope, NJ
Found By PBandJ plus 3
Last Found Aug 5 2011
Hike Distance?

FYI, as of Aug 28, 2010, this letterbox has been replaced. If you happen to be the 1st to find it, please place the stamp in the Ziploc baggie with the paper towel. We left it out of the plastic bag in hopes that it would dry out, it was totally saturated. Thanks!
ThreeXFoot 8/29/2010

A ghostly thrill awaits all who embark on the quest to find the Ghost Lake Letterbox, located on Shades of Death Road, Great Meadows within Jenny Jump State Forest. But, be forewarned…

For those interested in NJ folklore, there are several goulish tales describing various explanations as to the naming of Shades of Death Road. However, we are a family letterbox team and this box is intended for everyone, young and old, so we will keep the descriptions, nondescript, so to speak.

First you must understand the area known as Great Meadows. Long ago, the Great Meadows Mucklands was an enormous swamp. It has been documented that malaria and tuberculosis from the damp, mosquito-infested swamp took the lives of many of the Lenni-Lenape Indians who inhabited the area. In modern times it was drained to produce the fertile black-soiled valley we know now. Presently, there are many acres of sod farms within the valley.

No one knows exactly how Shades of Death Road was named, but legends that predate historic times tell us of one story of an Iroquois attack on a peaceful Lenni-Lenape tribe near Allamuchy. It is said Shades of Death Road was so named because of the number of Lenape Indians who died along the route while retreating from the Iroquois after the conflict. Very few Lenape survived the attack and claimed to see the spirits of their comrades in the wisps of the heavy fog which hangs low over the valley.

Yet more recent legends contend that the huge trees over the twisting, dark roadway shaded the pathway, which became known simply as “The Shades.” Since this time many unfortunate individuals met with untimely deaths along the road and people eventually began calling The Shades “Shades of Death Road.” For a short time the county Road Department put up signs that simply read “Shades Road”, but those were soon replaced with signs bearing the full name.

As for Ghost Lake, it is told that William Crouse Jr. and Leon G. Hull built quite commanding homes adjacent to one another in the deep woods. The two became close friends and decided to build a dam across a small stream which ran through their properties. Completing the dam in 1952, they had created a significant sized lake. Mr. Crouse has said that the two gentlemen would sit in their homes, high on a ridge overlooking the lake and claim wisps of fog rising from the lake looked like ghosts. So, they decided to name their new lake “Ghost Lake.” They also named the surrounding mountain “Murderers Mountain” and their property “Haunted Hollow.” But that’s a story for another time…

Take Rt. 80 to Exit 12 (Hope), follow Hope-Blairstown Road toward the Village of Hope. Bear left at Cannery Road, continue to end. Go straight to Rt. 611 (Hope-Great Meadows Road) and make a left onto Shades of Death Road. Travel approx. 3.5 miles, on your left you will see an unmarked gravel parking area with a locked iron gate. Park on the left and look for the little dirt path leading into the woods to start your spooky adventure.

At the end of the dirt path, head left onto the gravel drive. Pass three moss-covered boulders on your left. Continue up the incline. Bear right at the curve, as you round the bend, you will see the causeway between the two lakes (Ghost Lake is the one on your right). Follow the causeway to the Ghost Lake Trail sign. Hike up the rocky hill and you will start to hear the stream on your left. Continue up the hill, but keep your eyes peeled to the left for a narrow well worn path leading to the stream, after you see this path you will notice a stone hedgerow also on the left. Stop walking when you are even with this hedgerow. Facing straight up the path with the hedgerow to your left, look over your right shoulder to a small hill. Climb up the side and you will notice a circular hole in the ground surrounded by rocks. There will be a tree on the right growing out of the side of a rock, look to the roots opposite the hole for the rock cairn that holds your treat.(*)(**)(***)

Happy Haunting!

*There is no ink pad in the box. Please make sure to bring your own.
**Be mindful, with a rocky area such as this, watch out for snakes.
***Also, hunting is permitted within Jenny Jump State Forest, so wear blaze orange or limit your letterboxing to Sundays.