Day 111 – June 26 – 18.4 miles – Gren Anderson Shelter to a Secret Location
We had another early start and soon found ourselves at the Sunrise Pavilion. Zeus and Flashfire were already there. They were eating a snack and we decided to join them.
As we sat there enjoying the view, Supe stopped in. After talking for a minute or two, Supe commented that he was surprised at how beautiful New Jersey was. This was a comment we heard from several hikers. It was nice to hear complimentary things about our home state for a change.
Supe then asked us if it was this nice where we lived. Sadly the answer was no, not even close.
Stoat and I saw a small pyramid like structure off to the side.
On top of it was a geographical survey marker. Those types of markers are usually found fastened to the ground. We had a tradition that we started several years back. Every time we saw one, we would take a picture of our feet next to it. This one was a little too high for that, so we used our hands.
Three miles after the Pavilion we came to the Mashipacong Shelter. We only stopped in there for a few minutes. Inside was an artistic representation of what the Shelter looked like.
Our next scheduled stop was the High Point State Park Headquarters, where we heard they gave out free soda to Thru Hikers. On the way there we had a nice view.
The trail in NJ was so much better than in northern PA. There were still rocks, but unlike the Pennsylvanian rocks, they bore us no ill will.
The High Point State Park Headquarters was a cool old stone and wood building
We went inside and got our free soda.
While we were hanging out, a Ridgerunner came over to talk to us. ( Ridgerunners monitor certain parts of the trail as well as busy campsites. They help keep dayhikers from burning the place down.) He asked where we were staying that night and the Tramily looked at each other. One of us cautiously said, ” Hopefully the Secret Shelter.”
At the last several shelter there had been signs posted that said the Secret Shelter was now closed. We planned on stopping by the place anyway. Just to make sure…
The ridgerunner said, “Oh, Jims place. He’s a real nice guy. Those signs are up to keep a massive amount of hikers showing up at his property. He had a problem with vandals recently.” That was good news. The only other option would have been to hike an extra seven miles.
After we left the Park Headquarters the trail brought in the direction of the High Point monument. The monument was a little off the AT up a steep side trail. We weren’t sure if we were going to check it out or not.
A few minutes later we came to a wooden viewing platform. From there we could see the monument.
The rest of the view wasn’t bad either.
From the viewing platform we could hear the sounds of people congregating at a lakeside beach nearby. We had to make a decision. Do we go off trail 0.3 mi to the monument or go off trail 0.3 mi to the beach instead?
Sounds weren’t the only things making their way to us from the beach. There was also a distinct smell. It was the smell of greasy food being cooked on a grill.
We were going to the beach!
At the beach, there was a concession stand that sold overpriced greasy food. Perfect! It also had public bathrooms with showers. Even Better!
Not long after the Tramily got there, other Thru hikers started to show up. We completely took over the eating area. We wound up staying there over an hour and a half.
To be honest, being around women in bathing suits after being in the woods with mostly dudes for months on end was… a little distracting at first.
After leaving the beach, we went through several beautiful pastures
When we got to one particular road, we made a left. We entered the land of the Secret Shelter
The property had several buildings on it. There was a furnished cabin (locked), an unfurnished cabin, ruins of a few very old buildings, and an outhouse.
I still felt a little weird setting up one someones private property. There was a business card with a phone number we could call if we had any questions. It went straight to voicemail.
At one point I looked around and didn’t see Stoat. I walked around the building and saw that he had made a friend.
Stoats new friend bought his buddy over to hang out with us on the front porch.
The evening air began to get cool. Cool enough that we donned jackets. We welcomed the change. Cooler temps at night help us to sleep better.
Eventually Jim, the land owner, drove by. He stopped to talk to us for a minute. He gave us the official ok to stay there and I could sleep easy. From the limited time we got to talk to he he seemed like a real nice and interesting guy. He asked us if we needed anything from town (we didn’t) and then went on his way.
Stoat found some trees to hang his hammock on, while the rest of us setup in the unfurnished cabin. We went to bed early. We planned to get up early and hopefully catch the sunrise.