Farewell to the Ferryman

A true legend has passed. RIP Ferryman.

Write in Front of Me

Stephen J. Longley.  On the Maine section of the Appalachian Trail, he was an indispensable link across the Kennebec River for most hikers, who would otherwise have had to ford the river on foot.  His passing is a loss to the Appalachian Trail community; he will be greatly missed.

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The best scallops I ever tasted!

I don’t golf but if you do,and your ever in the area, be sure to check out the Crystal Spring Resort in Sussex County, NJ.  We stayed there over a weekend and had a very relaxing time.  The views were amazing!  The food was great!

This resort is were I went and then posted about my encounter with the bears.  So great hiking in the area as well.  The bears were not near this part of the resort!  It is near the Appalachian Trail.

Below are some pictures from the Bistro.  I had the steak and my wife had the seafood over risotto. (I can do without the foam)  The complimentary lobster with black pasta was a nice touch.  My wife never had scallops before.  I tasted them and I told her that after she eats these, she should never eats scallops again.  Others will never live up to her expectations after this meal!

From the website:

Crystal Springs Resort is a spectacular NJ vacation destination, acclaimed as the New York Metro area’s most unique four-season resort. Located in the rolling farmland of the Garden State’s picturesque northwest, our world-class NJ resort is just an hour from New York City.

Da Bears or What’s for Lunch?

My wife and I took a weekend away from everyone and everything to relax.  Of course, my idea of relaxing included taking a hike up the side of a mountain.  Not a bad climb and there was a relaxing lake at the top.  We were in Northwest New Jersey and yes, there are mountains in New Jersey.  It’s not all Jersey Shore ya know!

We were warned of bears in the area so we played a little music on the way down and made sure we were vocal around bends in the trail so we don’t surprise or get surprised by, da bears.  And guess what…we saw none!

But, at the bottom of the trail was a condominium complex for vacationers and skiers.  And guess where the bears were?  Going out for lunch of course!  We were walking along not thinking of bears at this point and out from around the back of the dumpster came a mother and three cubs!

She looked at us, we backed away.  The cubs wanted lunch and we were not on the menu so momma bear opened the dumpster, climbed in and got some take out.  They munched until someone came along honking the car horn and cleared the way for us to pass.  What a sight.  It was my first bear experience!  Very cool.

The 50 Hikes

The 50 Hikes.

Here is a link to another blogger/hiker from New Jersey, The Garden State Hiker which includes 50 hikes in New Jersey.  I think I’ll try some of these.  Anyone ever complete these hikes?  Which would you recommend?

Birth of a new hobby?

Although I have been camping, trail walking, wandering in the woods all of my life, it wasn’t until January 2012 that I was “bitten” by the hiking bug.  I met an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker from REI.  For those who do not know, a thru-hiker is someone who hikes either north or south, but usually north, straight through from Georgia to Maine all in one continuous and sensational hike!  Sensational could be good or bad and is self defined by each hiker!  Anyway, REI offers one day 6 mile hikes for beginners.  My guide for the day was the previously mentioned, thru-hiker.

It was actually a cold day and the ground was covered in snow.  Anyone in the northeast knows that we had very little snow in January 2012 so this day was unusual.  It was also calling for more snow or rain so only two other “students” went that day.

Our group of four drove about an hour or two to the French Creek State Park in Eastern Pennsylvania.  There was much more snow in that slightly more mountainous area (southern NJ is very flat).  REI supplied the gear, backpacks to try on for size, trekking poles, gaiters and even a snack for lunch.  We spent the day hiking a loop around a large lake stopping at the halfway point to clear a picnic table of snow and make some hot chocolate.  It was great.  We talked about the gear, where and how to set up a tent and more about the thru-hike.

When I got home and for the next several weeks, I was obsessed with visiting every website I could find on the subject.  And I read…a lot.  I began to purchase equipment, always on sale or at a discount when possible and to get ready for my adventures.  I was hooked!

The funniest part is that my wife says that I have all of the equipment and know all the lingo but have never really been out yet.  I say things like thru-hiking the AT and she laughs.  I guess she is right.  But it’s been fun so far!  Seeing the delivery truck pull up with a box of goodies is like watching Santa pull up in his sleigh!  Is it just me or does anyone else think this is like being a kid again?