Published on Sep 26, 2011
I finally crossed into the great state of New York from the....let's just say "the other" state of New Jersey. In the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to clear the air after my Jersey bitch-fest. Plus, my buddy Matt is a pretty solid dude, and apparently he's from Jersey, so, in his words, "it ain't all that bad."
Truth is, it isn't all that bad. There are a few mold-breaking exceptions I can't fail to mention now that I've put that state behind me:
First, is St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Vernon, NJ. This church has opened up its basement to be used as a hiker hostel. They ask for a $10 donation and a chore like "take out your trash" or "throw in a load of towels." Basically, pitch in to keep this thing running. So, a Christian church takes care of weary travelers, gives them a place to stay, and ministers to them. Awesome concept, but not seen very often in today's world. Way to go!
While I was coming out of a local restaurant after a hearty breakfast of country fried steak and eggs, a man stopped his truck in the middle of the road. He rolled down the window and asked if I needed a ride to back to the trail head. I happily accepted, and Shawn drove me the 2.5 miles back to the trail from town, saving me some painful road-walking. Thanks, Shawn, for shattering the Jersey stereotype.
Lastly, the New Jersey forest is beautiful. Often times it's hard to appreciate it through the swarms of mosquitos, but it really represents its name, "The Garden State." Furthermore, the boardwalks are top-notch. There was a little damage due to the recent storms that rolled through, but overall, the trail was in great shape and well-maintained.
So, again, Jersey ain't all that bad.