The first order of business upon arrival at Stokes is to grab a Park Map. Along with my AT map I determined which trail head to begin at, I Permethrin'ed my clothes and backpacked out on foot to hike a portion of the New Jersey Appalachian trail which is the bottom red line in the pic below.
The entire Appalachian trail -from Maine to Georgia is marked by "Blazes" -two inch by six inch white rectangles painted on trees by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. These are to keep hikers from wandering off the trail and getting lost.
On Saturday morning I hiked Northbound on the trail to reach High Point State Park. (between 8-9 miles) I Camped off the trail there & Hiked back down on Sunday. In the event I failed to reach my objective before nightfall, there are shelters on the AT (2 on this portion) where you can pitch. If you cant find the shelter in time you're stuck camping right off the trail somewhere which is more fun anyway.
|Sunrise Mountain. 3-4 hours away in the distance|
In the evening I was awakened by the sound of coyotes howling at 2am. One was close by and I could hear another in the distance calling back. If you have never had the opportunity to hear that sound before, just picture the sound a dog would make if it was slowly being murdered by a woman who was slowly being murdered adding a little mountain echo for effect. Its quite unnerving. Yes NJ has coyotes. and they are in every county. Pop. around 4-5 thousand. After I fell back to sleep from that weirdness, I was awakened by the abrupt yet cool sounds of owls pretending to be Eddie VanHalen. Owls will call and answer each other too, except they will mimic each others calls which makes for fun listening.
|Found a nice clearing on the ridge to make camp|
|39 Deg. on the ridge Hiking thru the morning fog|
|View from my bedroom|
Stopped at a shelter and read the log book. Yesterday a thru hiker saw 3 bear on this section of trail along with 2 rattlesnakes??!!
Tent (Catoma Lone Rider)
Sleeping bag (Zero degree mummy)
Back Pack w 3.0L water bladder
Map, Compass (Suunto w declination adjustment)
LED Headlamp (70 Lumens w red light)
Food (Mountain House freeze dried), water, Energy bars, spoon
Permethrin tick spray (discarded before hike)
Thermal long sleeve, Hoodie, extra socks
Toothbrush/tooth paste/Napkins for toilet paper
MRS Pocket Rocket cooking stove and fuel
G-Shock watch w stop watch/compass/altimeter/temp sensor
Military tactical vest
Whiskey (Jack Daniels in a soda bottle)
All wrappers, plastic bottles etc. burned in fire each nite to deter bears
On the return hike down from the summit, I ran into this chap.
He's been hiking the Appalachian Trail for the last 3 months. His start point was in Maine, June 1st and he's headed to N Carolina. Stay tuned for my next blog post and interview with him. Laters, Shane