After all of yesterday’s excitement, I managed to hit the hay pretty hard last night. I’m usually one who remembers to set an alarm clock (for the right time), but I totally forgot. Fortunately, The Boyfriend was on top of it, and we started our day at 8:15am.
My favorite park about visiting New Jersey is their bagels. I have no idea what it is that makes them so delicious, but they are absolutely delectable. Maybe it’s the water? Or the altitude? Possibly it’s something else. Who knows? But really, they’re delicious. We stopped at our favorite bagel shop, and I got a Whole Wheat Everything bagel with egg, bacon, cheese, and topped with salt, pepper, ketchup. I am not allowed to order at the bagel shop anymore, which is a funny story. You see, the bagel shop is always packed – to the brim – with an unorganized, hungry belly line. The process goes: Get to the counter, Order your tasty breakfast delights, and Get out of the way! Last time, I tried to order and I failed the test. I faulted over the order, holding up the line and messing up the flow. This time, I sat back and waited for my delicious breakfast
After our breakfast fuel, we set out on our way for today’s adventure. The agenda: 7 miles on the Appalachian Trail. We got in the car and drove to GreenLake in New Jersey, which is pretty much in the middle of NO WHERE. We had some time to kill, so we spent it al the only place we could find: the grocery. We found things we couldn’t live without, such as the new Mini Reeses bites, ice trays, peanuts, and dark chocolate peppermint bark. Yes, obviously essentials. However, I’m totally and hopelessly hooked on those new Mini Reeses! Get them, try them, love them.
Then we made our way to the parking lot, and wanted to catch the #197 to the start of the hike. We took a self portrait, and headed to the bus stop:
We got to the bus stop about 10 min early, figuring that since it was a Sunday it might get their early. Well, you know what they say about assumptions… We waited until 20 minutes AFTER the bus was scheduled to arrive, and finally gave up, feeling really defeated. Both of us had been excited about this hike, and now we were really disappointed at NJ Transit. What had happened, we wondered?
Silently, we both thought to ourselves that we were going to get in the car, head out, and see the #197 bus heading past us. Sure enough…guess what happened?
There was a bit of an angry outburst in our car, to say the least. We stopped at a gas station to pull ourselves together, and the Boyfriend veto’ed my hitchhiking plans. The next idea: a cab. We decided to cab it from where the bus SHOULD have picked us up, to where the start of our hike would be. I ran into the gas station, got the number to a cab company, and we called them up. The guy who answered the phone politely asked us to call back in fifteen minutes since his one (and only??) car was already out on a run. Now, if that doesn’t paint a picture of the type of town we were in…you get the idea.
After a $20 cab ride (compared to a sub-$5 bus ride) we got to start our hike! Since it was so late, we focused on keeping good pace in the first part of the hike, where we new it was more flat
For a full description of the hike, you can visit this link. Here are some hike highlights:
The most climactic moment occurred as we traversed the top of a rock ledge. To our right was a green wooded area. I heard crunching leaves and sticks, as if an animal was down there hanging out, but since Ken and I had been discussing Vibram Fivefingers as we walked, I wasn’t worried that it was anything dangerous. However, since the crunching seemed more substantial than the common chipmunk, I asked Ken to hold on so we could take a look. That’s when it occurred to me that it might really be a bear. And as we peered over the edge, my heart was pumping and I was prepared for the worst. I saw a large black shadow but it seemed so big, I was in the process of convincing myself that it was a large bolder right as its head moved.
This bear was larger than my wingspan, and taller than 8 feet, but still on all fours! I whispered loudly to Ken, “It’s a bear!” in that desperate panicky voice, as I turned to hasilty walk the other way. However, as Ken asked me which way it was headed, I realized I was walking in the same direction as the bear! I realized in that moment I was being irrational and scared. Ken was quite the opposite, grabbing a rock and checking to see if it was leaving. After 45 second of him peering over and me begging him to come back, we went on our way – opposite the bear.
Throughout the hike, we took turns being “leader,” which actually worked out extremely well. However, post bear-experience, I was still leader, and we were discussing the scary bear situation, which I was imagining every dark thing in the distance to be another bear. Shortly after, a wild turkey took flight about 50 yards from me, which caused me to scream, and almost have my leader privledges revoked. Don’t worry, I stood my ground.
Ken and I actually hiked this trail again in our VFFs
Our last hike in our VFFs was extremely successful, and since we’re training for long races in them, we’ve decided to do a lot of our hikes in them. However, the terrain of this hike was extremely taxing on our feet. The portions of the trail with lots of smaller rocks is very stressful on the bottom of the foot, and the steep decent at the end of the hike almost pushed me over the edge of fatigue. We were really sluggish and happy to be back at the end.
I’m so impressed that I’ve even made it this far as to post in my blog about our trip – I’m about to check out.
Have you hiked any portion of the Appalachian Trail? This is my second hike, the first was on the TN/NC border and it was in flip flops!