nj hike

Stairway to Heaven

We finally hiked the “Stairway to Heaven” section of the Appalachian Trail, from Pochuck Valley to Pinwheel Vista and back. This was definitely one of the most versatile hikes I’ve been on. 

The trail starts out on a mile of boardwalk over marshes and through fields of wildflowers. You eventually make your way through a forest, then back out over train tracks and through a cow pasture. The last mile or so is a steep incline up to the Pinwheel Vista viewpoint.

The hike is a solid 7.4 miles from the entrance point on 517, to the viewpoint, and back. Most of it is easy, though – except for that last “stairway” up to the top. Definitely worth checking out!

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Friends

The weekend was almost a wash-out, but it cleared up just enough for a hike at Sourland Mountain on Sunday. 
 I think everybody was in need of some outdoor adventures. It was probably the biggest group hike this summer. 
 Dexter and I were excited to finally meet and hike with Katie of  Loistava Kennels . I’ve known Katie for years and have admired her beautiful Finnish Spitz for just as long. Dexter hit it off with her dogs, Kimma and Jari. I loved seeing so many fuzzy orange butts along the trail! 
 Unfortunately, with the threat of rain, I didn’t bring my DSLR or take nearly enough photos. But, there will be a next time!

The weekend was almost a wash-out, but it cleared up just enough for a hike at Sourland Mountain on Sunday.

I think everybody was in need of some outdoor adventures. It was probably the biggest group hike this summer.

Dexter and I were excited to finally meet and hike with Katie of Loistava Kennels. I’ve known Katie for years and have admired her beautiful Finnish Spitz for just as long. Dexter hit it off with her dogs, Kimma and Jari. I loved seeing so many fuzzy orange butts along the trail!

Unfortunately, with the threat of rain, I didn’t bring my DSLR or take nearly enough photos. But, there will be a next time!

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Walks with Dogs

Lots of good hiking this weekend. Friday I stayed relatively local and hiked at Watchung Reservation with Dexter. The trails were covered in horse poop and they’re currently draining out the lake, so it wasn’t the most scenic hike. Lots of pretty flowers to look at, though.

Saturday, I ventured to Jockey Hollow (Morristown, NJ) with Knox. It’s a very beautiful trail with lots of historic spots. It was mega hot and buggy, though. Ah, summer.

Today, Terri and I took Denali up to Abram S. Hewitt State Forest for the Bearfort Ridge / Lake Surprise trails. I’ve never hiked there before, and it was a really awesome trail. It kind of kicked our butts, but mostly because it was so hot and muggy. The Bearfort Ridge trail is very aptly named – we saw a young bear along the way! First time encountering a bear while hiking. Pretty awesome!

This upcoming weekend I’ll be hiking and camping in Texas, which I’m very excited about. I won’t have the pups with me, but I’ll still blog when I get back. Happy trails!

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We hiked at Schooley’s Mountain Park on Saturday. It’s definitely one of our favorite spots in Jersey. We ate Mr. Subs, caught a toad, and played on boulders. 

The summer heat is starting to kick in, so our hikes may be a little less frequent. The dogs are happy enough with their evening chase routine around the yard and I’ll be trading trails for coastlines every so often.

But I can never be away from the woods for too long.

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Pyramid Mountain

On Sunday, I hit the trails with my mom and Denali to check out Tripod Rock at Pyramid Mountain. 

Tripod Rock is a glacial erratic boulder, estimated to be approximately 127 metric tons. It sits balanced on three smaller stones, as it was originally transported to the spot by a glacier.

Aside from the rocks, we crossed paths with two garter snakes and a couple toads. Other hikers warned us about a pair of bears in the area, but we didn’t see them.

All in all, a great weekend of hikes. Can’t wait to see where next weekend takes us!

Full photo album is up on Flickr.

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Ramapo Mountain

Knox and I hiked (and climbed) at Ramapo Mountain State Forest on Saturday to check out the abandoned Van Slyke Castle. 

The “castle” is actually the ruins of a mansion built in 1909 and torched in 1959. Still, it’s an awesome and unusual place to explore.

The rest of the photos are on Flickr.

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