Friday May 17, 25.8mi/41.5km
Secret Shelter NJ (1345.1) to Cascade Brook campsite NY (1370.9)
It was a surprisingly scenic day, with plenty of vistas, and a nice smooth trail so it was possible to look at them! New Jersey seems to be a wet state, so of course the day started out with a boardwalk section.
And then the trail followed an old railroad grade for a mile, and these are always nice and flat and well-drained.
Then, we hiked thru a field, and the path was even wide enough to not get wet from the morning dew. So different from the Te Araroa or CDT!
There was even a mile of roadwalking today, the longest section yet on this trail. We needed to cross the Wallkill River, and so the trail uses the existing nearby road bridge. I had been to this river many times in NY, I had no idea it extended so far upstream into NJ!
Later in the morning, we came into the Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge. There were miles of marshes, fish, turtles, birds, and ornithology geeks! 🙂
The walk thru the Wildlife Refuge was on a nice stopbank, so we were nice and dry the whole time. And as soon as we left there, we were back on a boardwalk.
A few miles later, we came to the Pochuck boardwalk, the longest one on the AT, about a mile long. So cool!
Just before lunch, we crossed a farm field with… cows! Hi cows!
Bob and I stopped for lunch at a farm market. Cider donuts, iced tea, and ice cream made a well-balanced meal! There was an hour of light rain that started when we arrived, perfect timing. There was a big uphill climb after lunch, and soon it was hot and sunny again. The whole afternoon was pretty much on high ridges with nice smooth slabs of rock.
And then we crossed into New York! New Jersey, done!
Shortly after that, the trail reaches Prospect Rock, the highest point of the NY section of the AT.
There were some steep rocky parts to navigate, which was pretty fun. There was even a ladder in a short section of cliff!
I got to my planned camp spot at 6:30pm, and quickly setup, since I heard thunder in the distance. At 7pm, it started raining… hard. Perfect!