Sunday, September 8, 2013

Appalachian Getaway

I recently did a ride to Stokes State Forest in the NJ Kittatinny Mts. to do some hiking and camping. The weather forecast for the weekend was Sunny and clear -temps in the upper 70's. Low 40's at night.

The ride up to Sussex County was done on the slabs to save time. Parkway to 287 to 15 to 206. Trip time between 2-3 hours.

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
Elevation of the NJ section of the AT varies between 1000 to 1800 ft, terrain is steep and rocky at times.

 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

 You're Not alone!  Fresh steamy bear shit on the trail.
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??!!

Equipment List :
Tent (Catoma Lone Rider)
Sleeping bag (Zero degree mummy)
Bed Mat
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
Bear Spray
Permethrin tick spray (discarded before hike)
Small Binoculars
Thermal long sleeve, Hoodie, extra socks
Toothbrush/tooth paste/Napkins for toilet paper
MRS Pocket Rocket cooking stove and fuel
Zippo Lighter
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

1 comment:

  1. that's a great shot of the light through the morning fog, can't believe it was that cold... I gotta do something like this one weekend