Pledge of Allegiance

Friday, June 2nd
Cascade Brook (1369)

Arranged for 9:30 ride back to trail.

Husband says view from upcoming hill is grand. He and his wife like to hike but are limited to one week off a year, so vacation tend to be mad dashes from one thing to the next. 

Drops me off, and first goal is to get up 900 vertical feet to the top of Wawayanda Mountain 1.4 miles away. Its a sunny day and the trail starts out smooth but soon shifts to rocky. An hour to get to the top, and after passing a pyramid of stones, step out for an expansive view of the valley below. Take a snack and hydration break, and meet two Massachusetts hikers doing the New Jersey section. 

Yes, this is the trail.
Pyramid of stones hopefully taken from trail.

Hike to Wawayanda Shelter for lunch. There's a hiker that's been hiking around me and I can not for the life of me remember her trail name. Its because I have my own trail name for her, and it seems so much more appropriate. When she starts talking, I think, "Eyore". 

Trail in Wawayanda State Park.
Wawayanda Shelter
Its an abbreviation for "Shelter"

When I talk to her, there's always this pause, then she says something back which is low and barely decipherable, and generally negative. "Nice day so far?" I might ask, "Uh grph blum dah not so rdah." might be the nearly inaudible reply as she looks at me, then gazes down, eyes drifting far away.

Anyway, Eyore arrives, and as is typical first few minutes are hard to figure out what's being said, but when she tells me her daughter lives outside of Boston, we end up having a nice conversation. Daughter lives in Dorchester, is being married on June 19th, and Eyore will be leaving trail to be there. Still struggling with feet and miles but is hopeful it will get easier. 

She continues her lunch and I move on.

As the shelters are spread out, going to shoot for Cascade Brook, which is an unofficial camp site but in one of the guides says it has good water and several campsites. 

Trail is a mixture, rocks and paths. Its a warm day, but staying hydrated and being helped in places by trail angels leaving coolers near road sides with jugs of water (NJ is notorious for bad or limited natural water). 

Pass a stunning pond. Streams are running well but with odd colored water. Assumption its iron-based since there were many mines in the area.

Hard to see, but the water color is a rusty yellowish.
Trail gets increasingly rocky, in some place need to do hand over hand climbing

Iron rebar hand grips to climb up rock face.

Crossing the top of a ridgeline, made up mostly of rock, come to the border. Its much less grand then one would think. Try to get a selfie but they are comically bad, so just take a picture of the crossing itself.

2.9 miles to go to the brook campsite. 

Hiking gets increasing slow due to rocky conditions and a near constant up, down, up, down. In a way, its fun, since I've always enjoyed climbing, but its also wearing. 

Come up one rise and see someone has randomly set up an American flag. There's no indication why, but it looks neat, especially with the wind holding it out stiffly. I stand, head bowed slightly, for a full minute, not sure why but it seems like the right thing to do.

Get to brook finally a make camp, three others here (one day, one section, one a Swiss thru who is a chef like 2014 hiking friend, "Nobody").

Make a pasta dinner package (Knor) as I've seen people eating them, and it's inedible. Still eat about 1/3 of it, for the carbs, but get rid of the rest in the fire one of the hikers started. Safer than burying given bear activity in area. Uneventful night after one of the harder hiking days on the Trail.


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