The road less traveled…

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6/8/12 Goodbye New Jersey, Hello New York

I spent a wonderful day in the town of Vernon, NJ resting up and trying to remember a time when my feet didn’t constantly ache. It was a little ironic how I ended up there because I actually had no plans to go into town at all. However I was walking along the trail trying to ignore the dark rumbling clouds off in the distance when a day hiker and his 2 kids passed by me. One child was roughly 3 years old and very adorable and the other one was so small the guy had her in one of those fun backpacks that are also child carriers. We chatted for a little bit and he asked me if I had planned on going to Vernon to the hostel. I was unaware that there was a hostel in this town that I had never heard of and was definitely convinced that it would be a good idea. Once I got to the road the guy mentioned, I was lucky enough to barely stick out my thumb for a hitch when another fella across the street hollered that he’d be happy to give me a lift to town. And just like that…Vernon, NJ.

I stayed in the basement of a church where we were given access to free laundry and showers and even able to use the ginormous church kitchen. There was a lovely selection of VHS movies to choose from (I can’t even remember the last time I used a VHS) including Beauty and the Beast, Independence Day, Apollo 13, Overboard…..let’s just say I had myself a mini-movie party. There was also an awesome restaurant called the Mixing Bowl that was situated in a Victorian looking house that happened to be very bright pink. They recently started doing a “hiker Brekkie” for $3 that included coffee, 2 eggs, hash browns, and 3 pancakes. It was a pretty excellent deal.

Finally go back to the trail and after a few miles found myself at the state line of NJ/NY. I actually arrived there as a trail volunteer was “touching up” the painted line. I was sad to say goodbye to NJ as it was a beautiful stretch of trail and the weather was pretty spectacular the whole time, but I was also happy for a new state. One state closer to home. A little bit past the state line is a viewpoint where you can see the NYC skyline in the distance, about 50 miles away. It was a lovely clear day and the sight of the city was awesome! Whitewater was with me and this was actually the first time he had laid eyes on the city. We were also lucky enough to be there with some day hikers who let us use there binoculars for a closer look. Very cool.

The actual trail has been a little more difficult lately. A lot of rock climbing and scrambling makes for a long and exhausting day. There were also moments where it was difficult to locate the trail as there were lots of intersecting unmarked trails. Every rock I climbed brought me to some nice views and the breeze was keeping me cool, so it was decent hiking.

The guy that was “touching up” the state line marking told Whitewater and I about a place close to the trail that we could get ice cream. Our eyes lit up in happiness! That is how we ended up at Bellvale Farms Creamery! (Only 0.3 miles from the trail) We were told the Banana Split was the way to go so you can choose your own flavors and toppings. This is what mine looked like:

Ice Creams:

Bellvale Bog: dark chocolate with brownie dough and fudge swirl

Great White Way: white chocolate with raspberry swirl and dark chocolate chunks

Calf Trax: vanilla with peanut butter swirl and mini peanut butter cups

My 3 toppings in addition to nuts, whipped cream, and cherries were m&m’s, strawberries, and hot caramel sauce. It was the most delightful banana split I’ve ever imagined and consumed!

Afterwards was a nice slow 2-mile hike to the next shelter where I encountered many other familiar faces: The Lionkillers, Zoso, Rayo, Ratbucket, Redman, Stinger, Mo, Whitewater, and many other section hikers. There was some guitar and ukulele playing.

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June 30, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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