New Jersey- Smile and Say Snookie!

Day 127: 2,680 ft ascent, 16.7 miles

Waking up in town meant I could get fresh coffee in the morning again. Such a treat. We quickly got to the Delaware River and to the state border. I had been looking forward to this one for awhile having seen the multitude of pictures of this spot.

Me: “Let’s take a picture.” Erik: “Smile and say Snookie!”

The day was pretty easy as far as elevation, but the rocks of Pennsylvania didn’t end at the state line. I knew from a report from my dad up ahead that we would have a few more days of rocks in New Jersey before they finally relented. I had that countdown in my head as motivation to get through the day.

Another milestone down!

Day 128: 2,160 ft ascent, 15.0 miles

We had good motivation all morning to keep us moving: a hot meal for lunch! The Mountain House Tavern was almost in view of the trail. We got there in the early afternoon and saw quite a few other hikers that we had been seeing for the past few days. Since Erik and I are the antisocial of the antisocial people who do this hike, we didn’t join the group outside and inside opted for the air conditioning inside.

We finally found the mosquitos. Time for bug nets.

It continues to surprise me how accommodating businesses along the trail are the stinky hikers. After asking us to leave our pack on their front porch, we were quickly escorted to a table with multiple charging ports without us even asking.

The meal was easily our most expensive one on the trail so far, which was to be our first introduction to prices in the northeast. The food was good, and we slugged through our food comas, hiking three miles uphill to our campsite for the evening.

Day 129: 2,300 ft ascent, 20.1 miles

I’ll give you one guess as to the attraction at High Point State Park. The trail went near the state high point, but required a 0.2 mile side jaunt uphill to get to the true state high point. I enjoy peak bagging state high points when I’m near them, so we dropped our packs at the trail and took the detour to the top.

I always had heard everything is bigger in Texas. I went to the high point of Texas last summer, and I can now confirm the monument at the state high point is not bigger in Texas, it’s bigger in New Jersey. In fact, New Jersey actually put a huge obelisk on their high point! This thing dominates the skyline in the area.

We got to the base of this huge structure and saw there was a door. Obviously we go inside. Stairs to the top? Yes please. We march our way right on up the stairs. I’ll never be in this good of shape again in my life, so might as well climb the tower now while we’re here.

We got the top and that’s where the excitement ended. Just four small windows out each direction, all of which were too high for me to see out of without a boost from Erik. Even then it wasn’t that worth it. We didn’t linger, and I counted 291 steps on the way back down.

The best thing about reaching the New Jersey the high point was that it marked the end of the rocks! Finally! Once we got down from the mountain they were over with. My ankles couldn’t be more excited.

A bear was in the trail as we made our way down from High Point. It didn’t care we were there and slowly walked away.

We made our way that evening to Unionville, New York. Although the trail was still in New Jersey, this town was less than half a mile off of the trail. This town turned into a home-run for us! We got a free permit to sleep in their park, and were joined by maybe 10 other hiker tents. The park was within sight of a pizza joint, an ice cream store, a deli, and the post office. Score!

Day 130: 770 ft ascent, 5.3 miles

Grocery stores were not as close to the trail in New Jersey as we had been used to on the rest of the trail. We saw this when we were planning, so we asked Erik’s parents to send us a resupply to Unionville. I had also gotten a package sent to the post office from my mom with Erik’s quilt that he wanted back. We ended up taking a slow morning getting our packages sorted out.

This felt like home in Tennessee, not New Jersey.

The park where we slept was behind the municipal building. Erik found a hose on the side of the building. He took the opportunity to bathe himself between the building and the playground. He called it resourceful. The police that I kept waiting to come arrest him may have called it something else. Either way he came away clean without any incident.

I spent the early afternoon catching up on some writing and charging my battery pack outside of the general store. We took off back to the trail in the late afternoon very refreshed and cruised a few short miles to our planned campsite. Many of the hikers we had stayed with the night before were headed to Warwick that evening to camp at the drive in movie theater and watch Barbie.

We have to avoid downed trees on the trail often. This was the first time we had to avoid a hay bale.

Since we intentionally left town late, we knew we were probably going to lose the group we had been hiking around for the past week. The trail is unique in that you never know if you will meet people you talk to again. Sometimes you see people for days and then suddenly never see them again, and sometimes you can go 1,000 miles between seeing people you’ve hiked around before. It’s never goodbye, always “Happy trails!”

Day 131: 2,780 ft ascent, 14.6 miles

I don’t know how to describe what happened today. We:

-got lost in the woods trying to take a shortcut back to the trail after we accidentally missed a turn

-went from the forest suddenly to a boardwalk through a swamp

-walked through a cow field

-went to a farmers market

-walked through a psychic convention

-met Mitch at his hot dog stand and learned about the rude abruptness of NJ/NY

-climbed the very busy stairway to heaven portion of the trail, confusing many people who couldn’t understand how we got there without a car or why we had backpacks

It was quite a day that could have deserved its own post in itself. The kind of day you don’t understand in the moment but look back on and laugh because of all of the memories made.

Day 132: Zero in the Tent

We typically plan our zero mile break days around two situations: we’re in town or there’s rain. Sometimes we can plan it where both happen at once. This time we weren’t that lucky. There was rain forecast all day and we hadn’t taken a full day off since Hamburg, PA. This called for a zero day in the tent.

It rained all day as expected. It was a dreary end to our last day in New Jersey. Erik’s guidebook had a warning about the terrain over the next couple of days being harder than the profile indicated. My dad had also given us warnings that the next segment would be rough. We were glad to get the break and be refreshed heading into New York!

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Comments 1

  • thetentman : Sep 5th

    Love the post. Thx.


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