AT Days 78 & 79
Backpacker’s Site to Gren Anderson Shelter, 26.8 miles
Mr. Rogers and I were up and ready to hit the trail by 7 AM, with our sights set on the Gren Anderson Shelter just under 27 miles North. We said our goodbyes to Jason as he was headed South, retracing his steps back to Delaware Water Gap where he had arranged a shuttle to pick him up and take him back to Wind Gap.
The first 30 or so miles of the AT in New Jersey follows the Kittatinny Mountain Ridge north all the way up to High Point State Park. I was thoroughly enjoying the first several miles in my new state as there is a clear change of scenery and vibe noticed almost immediately after leaving Pennsylvania. Early on in the day, we walked past a beautiful Glacier lake called Sunfish Pond, then made our way across Racoon Ridge before reaching the Catfish Fire tower, which offers the first panoramic view of New Jersey.
The rest of the day remained on the ridge, hiking through wide-open forests, open rocky ridge walks, and the thick green tunnel. Before lunch, we received trail magic from locals out for a day hike; offering the classic arrangement of cold sodas and chips/cookies. Between the enjoyable scenery, the excitement of a new state, and perfect weather, I was feeling phenomenal. Many hikers will agree that New Jersey is one of the more enjoyable states on the trail.
With only three miles remaining in the day, we descended down to Culvers Gap. It was a busy road crossing with gas stations and restaurants in close proximity. Mr. Rogers brought up the idea of stopping for a beer at the tavern, and I didn’t need much convincing to join. It was only 5:00, and we arrived at Gren Anderson Shelter just after 6:45, where only three other hikers had tents set up. The thru-hiker crowd is getting thinner and thinner by the day it seems.
Gren Anderson Shelter to Lott Road, 20.1 miles
Hiking to the town of Unionville, New York for our next resupply was the goal for the day. Unionville, NY is 20 minutes away from my parents’ house, so I figured I might as well resupply at home and spend the night there. My parents were cool enough to invite Mr. Rogers for the night as well, who gladly accepted. I don’t think there are any thru-hikers who would turn down a bed, shower, and home-cooked meal.
We continued along the ridge for the first 10 miles of the day, with the latter part of the ridge containing some gnarly rock scramble descents and a few steep rocky inclines. The rocks don’t go away when you leave Pennsylvania, they just get more manageable. We soon arrived at High Point State Park just after 11:00. The monument marking New Jersey’s highest point soon came into sight as we descended off Kittatinny Mountain Ridge for good. On the descent, a day hiker told us the rocks would soon disperse followed by boardwalks through swampy pastures. She wasn’t lying, and I thoroughly enjoyed this change of scenery and easy miles.
The scenery was constantly changing from meadow and farm pasture walks to forest hiking for the remainder of the day. A few short but steep climbs later, we found ourselves at Lott Road, where my dad agreed to pick us up. It was awesome being home again and seeing my dogs, who were confused as to why my parents were letting two smelly and homeless dudes stay at their house for a night.
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