When I started hiking this trail I never thought that I would say New Jersey is the best state I walked through, before New England, even though I knew the western part of the state was nothing like the stereotype of the state. The trail through the mountains was gorgeous. Heading out from Delaware Water Gap we passed a fire tower, a bunch of ponds and lakes to swim in, a Sunrise Mountain, and eventually came to High Point NJ. When we got to the High Point monument we climbed up an observation platform that overlooked the mountains and offered a view of the monument and we decided to camp there.
From High Point the trail turned more East and dropped down into the a series of low valleys along the Jersey New York boarder. These were a very nice section of trail because they were so dynamic, we would change between going through woods to fields. We would be going over hills to marshy boardwalks, and even a few miles of road walking, until we got to the Pochuck Boardwalk, a beautiful mile long boardwalk over a marshy stream and the pochuck river.
Another part of new Jersey I really enjoyed was the small towns we went through. In the course of one day we passed through three towns that all had nice little grocery stores or farm markets. My favorite town that we visited was Warwick NY, right after crossing out of New Jersey for the last time on the trail. The town had a drive in movie theater that allowed hikers to walk in and camp. An awesome farm market, Pennings,
that I seriously considered staying at and working for a while. When we were walking out of town on Sunday a woman stopped and offered us a ride, without even having to try hitch hiking, and drove us to the town farmers market walked around for half an hour with us then dropped us off at the trail. The best part of the whole town though was the fact that everyone was supper hiker friendly and wanted to know about the trail.
From Warwick the trail went over some impressive rocks and past a little water fall on the way to Southfields where I got my next resupply, the town had little to note other than a cheap motel for people going to shop at Woodbury Commons.
When Cat and I got back on the trail we ran into old friends of mine who I hadn’t seen since southern Virginia. They told us of their plan to take an upcoming side trail, The Long Path, and hike into New York city. The Long Path runs from upstate NY near the Vermont boarder down to the New York, New Jersey boarder in NYC. From where it crosses the AT it was 50 miles into the city. For a change of pace and renewed perspective on the woods we decided to join them on their adventure. We were able to catch a ferry to a train so we could cut off the section of trail through Harlem and get into the city during the day instead of walking in through a ghetto at night.
So far the city has been great. It is not nearly as overwhelming as I was expecting. Yesterday we hiked around the city with our packs doing some of the tourist things. We visited central park, walked through Times Square, and sat on the steps of the Post office across from Penn station. Everywhere we went people would stop us and ask if we were from survivor, or naked and afraid (apparently a new reality tv show about being stuck in the woods).