New Jersey tries harder

Mohican Outdoor Center, N.J., AT NOBO mile 1,300.4, Thursday May 8, 2014 — Early this morning I passed a sign that said Sunfish Pond was one of the seven natural wonders of New Jersey. I know Cape May could be another of them, but for the life of me I can’t think of any candidates for the other five.

Actually, it’s New Jersey’s unnatural wonders I worry more about – the Meadowlands superfund sites, the urban blight of Elizabeth and Newark, organized crime and state politics as if you could tell the difference. Then there’s Snookie…

New Jersey has more bears per square mile than anywhere else on the trail. We saw three huge piles of bear scat today, but no other indications. We even saw a sizable stash of uneaten acorns. Bet we’ll see a bear before we’re ought of here.

To be fair, most of the day was rainy and foggy. Very little of Sunfish Pond was visible, so maybe I’m missing something. If not, old New Jersey is trying awfully hard to make something out of not much. That was confirmed when we tripped upon the state’s cache of spare hiking rocks. Nice try NJ, but you’re no Pennsylvania.

We’re at the Mohican Center, a former Scout camp operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The AMC is derisively know in some circles as the “Appalachian Money Club” for charging excessive fees for the use of its facilities, especially the huts in the New Hampshire mountains.

Tomorrow’s hike is 21 flat, and (we hope), moderately rocky miles to the next shelter. Here tonight is Swayed, Bus, and a male nurse section hiker from North Carolina. He makes the eighth male nurse I’ve met on the trail.

This is probably the last night we’ll see Bus. He’s much slower and can’t consistently do the mileage Swayed and I routinely turn in. He’s a great guy who will be missed.

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8 thoughts on “New Jersey tries harder

  1. Sunfish pond might have been a pretty sight. The fog was thick.
    Have you seen any bears yet since you started? I’m not sure how I would react not having encountered any in the wild. Bears don’t do Iowa.

    When you get as close as possible to Paterson, holler at my cousins.

  2. The other natural wonders of NJ to my knowledge could be the Delaware Water Gap (the actual gap between the mountains and the view from Mt. Tammany), Great Falls of Paterson (one of the biggest waterfalls by volume east of Mississippi), Tillman’s Ravine in Stokes State Forest, the Palisades along the Hudson River ( the urban part from George Washington Bridge to Weehawken has the most impressive view down to NYC skyline ), Ken Lockwood Gorge, Pine Barrens and Cape May or Island Beach State Park.

    NJ is a paradox, it’s the most densely populated state with large urban areas, but there is wildlife everywhere. I’ve seen bears and bear cubs, even coyotes crossing a meadow in a suburban county park.

  3. Just read a little piece in The Week magazine about a woman in Florida who was attacked by a female bear as she was taking out her garbage. The darn thing grabbed her by the head and dragged her. According to the article, she’s okay, but it took a generous assortment of stitches to make her right. I thought of you the whole time I read that article, Jim!!! If they’ll attack in a suburban area, wow, I can’t imagine what might happen in the wild!

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