New Jersey is a state that most people don’t equate with mountains and nature, but it is a very beautiful part of the trail. When we left Delaware Water Gap we stopped at Sunfish Pond, the only part of the trail that Chris had been on previously. We ran into the Traveling Circus, Moose & Tetherball and Cubbie and Dilly Dally while there. It’s an easy hike up to the pond and the pond itself is a popular day hike destination.
It was sprinkling a little that afternoon but we made a nice day out of it. We were planning for camping somewhere after near Blue Mountain Lakes Rd and Crater Lake. Somewhere near the Herbert Hiller plaque, which we never saw, we stopped for lunch with Moose and Tetherball. It was a late lunch since we had a late start. We were debating where to stay for the night since it was a bit tricky with the camping being that you were supposed to be a half mile from Blue Mountain Lakes Road, however we saw a lot of camping sites within that zone anyway.
Near Camp Rd we found trail magic left by Dreamcatcher and his mom and this note from Monkey of the Traveling Circus. At this road you can walk to the Mohican Outdoor Center to get sodas, which Chris did so we would have some for dinner.
After stopping at Blue Mountain Lakes Rd to fill up on water at the pump Cubbie & Dilly Dally joined us in finding a camping site to stealth for the night. Moose & Tetherball were supposed to have dinner with friend but they ended up having some problems getting the guy to find the right spot to meet them and they ended up coming to the stealth site later that evening. It was nice to sit around and listen to music, cook some dinner and then we dashed in the tent since it was starting to rain a bit.
The next morning on our way to the Brink Rd shelter for a snack we ran into our first Jersey bear. The Jersey bears, well, they don’t trot off into the woods when they see you. This one stared us down a bit, watched us walk away. I basically walked right up to it, not even seeing it until we were on top of it. Very freaky! We had some easy walking that morning and afternoon and stopped at Culvers Gap to try to get some sodas. We’d heard a deli there at the road was not very friendly but Chris had good luck and we were on our way, however a note across the street warned that many hikers had a very bad run in with the owner of the shop.
We ended up splitting off from the rest of the gang due to various reasons, some visiting friends, others doing shorter miles to delay getting to cities so they could take zeros, so we took our lunch at Gren Anderson Shelter and lounged around taking a little nap. We decided to push on for 24 miles to the Rutherford Shelter.
The Rutherford Shelter is .4 off the trail and down some steep rocks, but it was quite cozy down in there. We met Weenail here, we’d been reading some of his funny journal entries back in Pennsylvania. Weenail’s real name is Brad, hence “wee” nail. We ended up hiking with or around him for about two days until he held back late in New Jersey and we kept pushing on.
The next morning we walked through High Point State Park, but did not get close to the monument. We came across the Circus and a few other hikers who were nursing a hang over in the middle of the trail. That was a very interesting few moments!
On our way to Unionville, NY (the trail weaves in and our of NJ and NY at this point) we passed a bazillion roads and attempted to count roads in order to determine how far we had to go to get to lunch and resupply. The problem ended up being that there were several other non-named forest roads that got in the way. This can present a problem to very hungry hikers! We eventually made it to Unionville and resupplied at the small grocery there. There is a hostel here that several people stayed at called the Mayor’s house, which I think was originally run by the mayor but someone else runs it now. Since we’d just stayed in the DWG we bypassed it. Hostels start becoming very thin here until you get to Dalton, Mass, so we were quite stinky for longer periods of time. Once we resupplied we ended up walking a mile down the trail and jumping onto NJ 284 to another deli that offered up internet access and more food so we killed a few hours there! WOO HOO FOR DELI’S! We were literally on the border there as a few steps down the road was the sign announcing you were entering New York.
We walked in the woods for awhile until we started a precarious road walk along Oil City Road on our way to the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge. This was an awesome little section of trail, a nice change of pace.
We hit up the Pochuck Mountain Shelter after stopping at the house at the base that is owned by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection to fill up on water at the spigot. A few seconds after getting back on the trail is when we saw two more bears!
A section hiker playing some harmonica for us.
I guess we didn’t take too many pictures on our last day in New Jersey, but we spotted these lilies on the Pochuck Creek Footbridge. Moose & Tetherball were taking it slow to meet a relative to hike for the day so we went on ahead so we could stop at Heaven Hill Farm .1 off the trail at NJ 94. This is a must stop for baked goods, fresh fruit and veggies, ice cream and pie. We split a strawberry rhubarb pie with Weenail and another hiker and then wandered off for Wawaywanda Mountain. This is a bit of a doozy section from this mountain to the New York border.
After Wawaywanda Mountain we had lunch at 12 miles at the Wawayanda Shelter where we left Weenail for the last time. We were aiming to hit the first shelter into New York, a 24 mile day. This section was preparation for New York itself, a series of low rolling ups and downs, lots of PUDs. We walked along a rocky ridge in the blazing heat, hearing motorboats in the lake to the east and wishing we could be swimming. New York would prove to be a more difficult state the previous few states, but still very pretty.