Wednesday, August 5, 2015

New Jersey

Another state complete and another adventure awaits.  Pennsylvania is infamous for its supposed rockiness, and while it was rocky in spots we didn't find Pennsylvania all that bad.  Nonetheless, we were happy to enter New Jersey.  We hadn't heard much about New Jersey other than most people said it was pretty nice.  Well we agree, New Jersey is nice and we are enjoying it so far...that is except for the crazy mutant mosquitos, how is it that no one mentioned or remembered the crazed mosquitos of New Jersey?!?!?!  We have changed to wearing lightweight longsleeve button up shirts and already wore long pants, so we are adapting to the vicious boogers and are able to continue trudging onward less annoyed.

We have had amazing support from our friends lately, picking us up and taking us in for a night, which has been such a relief in the recent heat and humidity. We are 43 miles into New Jersey with only 29 miles to go.

Tuesday 28 July 2015
PA/NJ Border to Backpacker Campsite, 1596.1 miles
Thanks to my amazing CVMA brother GPaw and his wife Patty, we spent last night in a hotel in Deleware Water Gap.  A hot shower and a bed are always good for morale. We woke up ready to hit the trail today, but it was insanely hot and humid, so we had lunch at the amazing Apple Pie Bakery/Village Farmer Market, relaxed at the Church of the Mountain Hostel and enjoyed a delicious banana split at Zoe's Ice Cream Parlor, waiting out the heat.  We left town at 4pm and began our way on north through New Jersey.  Northwest New Jersey is beautiful and we highly recommend you come check it out if you ever get a chance.

As we were crossing the Deleware River Bridge a gorgeous Bald Eagle treated us to a wonderful show, swooping down multiple times catching fish out of the river.  The white spot in the top of the tree below is the Bald Eagle's head.

On its 3rd fishing pass the Bald Eagle landed in a tree closer to us but with its back to us.  If you look closely you can see it perched on a limb in the middle of the below picture.

Here is a video of the Bald Eagle swooping down for one of its fishing runs.

We spent 20-30 minutes watching the Bald Eagle and then continued on our way up to the Backpacker campsite to set up camp for the night.  What an amazing location, New Jersey welcomed us with a campppsite full of ripe wineberry patches and an absolutely gorgeous sunset.

Wednesday 29 July 2015
Backpacker Campsite to Mohican Outdoor Center, 1601.6

Looking down on the Deleware River Valley, such beautiful views.

Hendo's Mom and Hendo with beautiful NJ in the background.

We had planned to go further today, but the heat was intense again, so we called it a day at our 1600 mile mark, Mohican Outdoor Center.  We were excited to run into the amazing trail angel Miss Janet and our trail sister TStorm.  Miss Janet had some cold sandwiches and sodas for our weary hiker souls.
Hendo's Mom, Tstorm, Miss Janet, Hendo

Thursday 30 July 2015
Mohican Outdoor Center to Millbrook-Blairstown Rd, 1604.8 miles
While it was a little cooler today, due to the fact it was overcast, as can bee seen by the heavy fog it was still extemely humid. I really enjoy hiking in the fog, the woods take on an intriguing other world feel.

The forest floor covered in Golden Rod

Hendo's Mom hiking along the side of the mountain, not much of a view today.

Butter and Eggs

As we approached Millbrook Rd we ran into our hiking buddy, Hulkspiration.  Hulk was hurting, he had done laundry a few days earlier using some cheap off-brand laundry detergent and he was paying the price.  Hulk had broken out in hives and had a mean case of monkey butt.  Hendo was hurting as well, the damp humid weather had brought out swarms of flies and mosquitos and they were chowing down on me.  By the time we had reached the road I/Hendo could take no more and needed to get a longsleeve shirt in town.  Low and behold a car came by and gave the three of us a ride into Blairstown nearby.  Once in Blairstown I started phoning friends, hoping that we could find someone to help us out.  My CVMA sister, Blondie/Christina came to our rescue.  Blondie picked us up in Blairstown and took us home to mend us back to health.  We took showers, soaked in the bathtub, did laundry, went shopping for resupply and a new shirt and drank beers.  Blondie is a former Army nurse and combat veteran and as is her nature she put us back together and got us back out there going at it.  We are forever grateful!!!

Friday 31 July 2015
Millbrook-Blairstown Rd to Blue Mtn Lakes Rd, 1608.6 miles
Showered, laundered and powdered up Hulkspiration and I were feeling 200% better and ready to hit the trail.

My amazing CVMA sister hemming my pants and mending Hulkspirations shorts!!

Blondie, Hendo and Hendo's Mom

A cute little pond we passed today, with a few beaver huts.

A beautiful beaver hut in the pond

Busy beavers have been busy downing some trees.

A beaver work in progress

A stunning field of Black-eyed Susans in the powerline opening

Hendo getting lost in the Black-eyed Susans

Bladder Campion

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly on a BeeBalm flower

Pepperbush...smells so sweet!!!

Tonight while camping at Blue Mtn Lakes Rd we met a great group of girls from a local summer camp, coming up ontop of the ridgeline to view the blue moon.  We enjoyed sharing our story and answering their questions.  It is always great to see young people out enjoying nature!!

Saturday 1 August 2015
Blue Mtn Lakes Rd to Brink Rd Shelter, 1615.6 miles
Today was a nice moderate day of hiking with some great views along the way.

We stopped near Brink Rd shelter for the night, but the mosquitos were way too bad for us to camp down at the shelter area.  Therefore, we watered up at the shelter spring and found a great spot to set up our tent by the trail.  For whatever reason the mosquitos chose to stay down by the shelter.  We ended us being joined by several other fellow thru-hikers and had a great evening of trail fellowship.

Sunday 2 August 2015
Brink Rd Shelter to US 206/Branchville, NJ, 1620.2 miles
Today was a rather short and another moderate day of hiking.  We were met in Branchville by fellow combat veteran Jason, who has been following our thru-hike online.
Looking down on Culver Lake 

Our friend Jason and his wife Debbie hosted us in their home for the evening.  Nothing like a hot shower, home cooked food and a cold beer to do the mind, body and soul some good.  Jason is a fellow combat veteran who has lost comrades to suicide as well and has been following and encouraging us throughout our hike.

Monday 3 August 2015
US 206 to Gren Anderson Shelter, 1622.2 miles

Tuesday 4 August 2015
Gren Anderson Shelter to High Point St Park HQ, 1633.5 miles
The trail started out pretty nice today, but the second half of the 11.3 miles was rather rocky and worked us over a little bit with some more strenuous ups and downs.  My CVMA brother Chris and his wife Rebecca picked us up at High Point State Park and are taking us in for 3 nights so that we can zero one day and slack-pack another.  I am eternally grateful for all of the support my CVMA brothers and sisters have given me and my Mom.

Hendo and Hendo's Mom enjoying our lunch break at Mashipacong shelter OUT OF THE MOSQUITOS in our tent.

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