Hiking the Appalachian Trail #4b

Harpers Ferry WV to Lincoln NH

AT Section Hiking

44 days, 777 miles, Apr-May 2016

New Jersey

Crossing the bridge over the Delaware River at the break of dawn. I've done this three times in the dark, and it's a little disconcerting with the high speed traffic whizzing by, only a few feet away. This is a major highway - I-80, and the whole bridge shakes and undulates up and down every time a big truck goes past. The pedestrian lane is narrow, and you can see the river far below. And the bridge is long. I'm always glad when I get to the other side, mainly to get away from the traffic.

Dunnfield Creek from the trail. The camera is compensating for the low light of early morning. Its a very pretty hike all the way to Sunfish Pond, and beyond. (But still rocky in places.)

Sign at Sunfish Pond.

The AT and Sunfish Pond. Very pretty, even on a gray day.

Ironically (contrary to expectation), the AT through New Jersey is my favorite section, second only to Maine. It's beautiful!


Camp Road, leading to the AMC Mohican Outdoor Center.


Catfish Fire Tower

Beaver dam pond

Beaver blocking the trail

Nice spring, good water, not visible from the trail. Cross a footbrige, turn right, walk 150 feet to the source.

Top of Rattlesnake Mountain

Culver Lake

I arrive at Culvers Gap and Gyp's Tavern late in the day.

The top half of the bun is under the lettuce. Meals like these are why I don't carry a stove.

In 1993 this place was called Worthington's Bakery. In 2009 and 2010: Joe to Go. Now it has been sold again, and presently lies vacant. I happened to meet the owner, that's him in the truck. Very nice guy who dreams of fixing the place up for hikers.

Nearly dark, I hiked 200 yards along the trail from the highway (206/521) and made a hidden and very comfortable camp. I have slept here before during past hikes.

Culver Fire Tower at sunrise


Sunrise Mountain picnic pavilion.


High Point State Park HQ. Water and bathrooms.

High Point Monument

Trail full of acorns

I'm starting to see flowers (Violets). A real treat.

An old stile, still in use.

Nice reflection in the farmer's pond.

To an early-season hiker, even a patch of dandelions is a resplendent visual treat.

Hepatica

Extra large skunk cabbage leaves.

Marsh Marigold

The bog bridges leading to Unionville.

It had been raining when I arrived in Unionville so I pitched my tarp at my usual place in the city park, placed my backpack under there, and went to the nearby store. By pitching the tarp first, before going to the store, I gave the wet ground under the tarp a chance to dry somewhat.

The Unionville store, long may it remain in business! Nice people, good selection of food. On the store's outside porch I had a real feast. The owner had invited me to camp in the park's pavilion, because of the rain. So I went and checked it out. It was dry, all right, but the wooden floor was cold. The ground under my tarp was still wet, but I knew I'd sleep warmer under the tarp, because my body heat would soon dry the ground. That proved the case, and I slept warm as toast and dry as a bone - despite the continuing rain.

Whenever I see a feather on the trail or nearby, I give pause to think of a larger picture. The feather has a message. It reminds me that this hike is more than putting one foot in front of the other, in order to reach the daily destination. During the walk through life, the destination does not matter. It's the flow that matters (and the flow is more than physical). The feather reminds me to question what I am missing here - not at this location, but at this point in time. The feather is a Mystery. A Metaphor.

Pochuck Mountain



As I hike northwards, the boundary between winter and spring is moving with me. Sometimes spring starts to catch me up, as this branch with young leaves reminds me. The trees will be full of leaves soon. But by then I will have drifted ahead, back into the land of leafless sticks.

The girl in red. She was trying her best to jog on the boardwalk, but her dog was somehow fixated on me and was always looking back, and sometimes would not budge. Finally I took a seat on a bench so they could get ahead. This happens a lot. Somehow I am a dog magnet.


Back in primitive times, you can bet your bottom dollar you could not get this close to wild Canadian Geese. Now in this age of the smart phone, look at them, all relaxed and all. As a human species, we are loosing our ability to intimidate the wildlife.  

Heaven Hill Farm, mandatory stop for the distance hiker.

The "Old AT Vista" at the top of Wawayanda Mountain.


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