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Exploring Wells State Park (Sturbridge, MA)

Exploring Wells State Park (Sturbridge, MA)

It looks like Wells State Park is my last post for summer hiking. This summer, I was lucky enough to have time to hike in several spots in the Northeast.  Heck, I even did a couple of mountain races too.  I genuinely enjoy hiking as much as running.

Anyway, on my way back from the Boothbay Half, my husband and I stopped around Sturbridge.  Instead of running, we opted for a 4-5 mile hike in Wells State Park.  Wells State Park is neat because there is plenty of camping.  We were out early, and we saw lots of other hikers and campers.  It was never overwhelming, and it wasn’t as if the trails went right through campsites.  If I lived in the area, this would be a place I would camp.

Wells State Park is about 1,400-acres. Apparently, there are the campground has 60  sites. We primarily hiked around Walker Pond which appears you can fish or swim depending on the location.

There are over 10 miles of trails which are for hiking.  There is also a road that goes through the park for campers to easier setup sites.

Here are a few photos:

Wells State Park Sturbridge MA hiking

Around Walker Pond

Wells State Park Sturbridge MA hiking

Dirt Path

 

 

Wells State Park Sturbridge MA hiking

More Hiking

Wells State Park Sturbridge MA hiking

Wells State Park Sturbridge MA hiking

Do you see the frog?  I didn’t until my husband pointed him out.

Wells State Park Sturbridge MA hiking

Wells State Park Sturbridge MA hiking

In all, we had a great time, and if I’m ever back in the area, I will go back.  The trail itself is easy, and doable for kids or dogs.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest
Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC
Walk Out a Mile and It Down Pours
Hiking Shark River Park

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Do you like camping? I haven’t been in a while, but I don’t mind. 

What is something fun you did this summer? 

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Hiking Shark River Park

Hiking Shark River Park

Last week I decided to stop at Shark River Park in Neptune, NJ.  Shark River Park was established in 1960.  It’s actually the oldest Monmouth County Park. It’s just under 1000 acres and located between Neptune and Wall.  There is plenty to do at Shark River Park including, fishing, hiking, and it even hosts cross country races.

It has about 9 miles of trails.  I had planned to just check it out and walk about a mile or 20 minutes.  Even though I brought both a hard copy of a map and a trail app, I ended up getting lost and walking around 5 miles.  Since it was my day off and I had nowhere to be, it wasn’t a big deal, but I was glad I brought water out of my car as well.

Here are a few of the trails I covered.  I didn’t use a Garmin, so I can’t tell you how much of each trail I covered.  I do know I know I covered the entire Pine Hill trail since it was a loop.

Shark river park monmouth nj

Ceder Loop Starts at the center of the loop.

Shark river park monmouth nj

There is a “Fitness trail” which is flat and would be great for running.  It has 20 stations with strength workouts.  You know…workouts I always say I’ll do with running and don’t.

Shark river park monmouth nj

The Hidden Creek trail is about 2 miles long and connects to the Pine Hills Trail.  I only now I was on this one because I did cover Pine Hills!

Shark river park monmouth nj

Finally, the Pine Hills Trail is close to the Garden State Parkway and goes up a few small inclines.  It’s nothing unmanageable.

Shark river park monmouth nj

In all, despite getting lost, I enjoyed the hike. I will say it was “comforting” to hear a few sounds of the Garden State Parkway because I knew I wasn’t “lost forever.”

Shark river park monmouth nj

The take away is…don’t follow your gut…follow the trail map.   Maybe not eat mushrooms on the trail either…

Shark river park monmouth nj

I am definitely going to come back and run, and I bet it’s such a fun cross country course.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest
Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

When was the last time you got lost? 

Are there any good hikes near you?

Walk Out a Mile and It Down Pours

Walk Out a Mile and It Down Pours

This is the tale of a hike that was supposed to be a hike but then wasn’t.

I was up in the Allentown area last week.  I needed to be up there sometime in the mid-afternoon.  If you’ve ever dealt with Philadelphia traffic, you know you don’t play games during that time (like any city really).  So I left early and ended up having 5 hours of free time.  I like to see various areas and had the day off, so I thought why not?  The drive could either be 90 minutes earlier or 2.5 later in the day.

There are a few hikes I’ve wanted to do in the general area, so I decided to kill some time and went up to Hickory Run State Park.  While driving up, the weather was beautiful.  There wasn’t any rain, and it wasn’t forecasted to rain.  It was sunny, but cooler for the summer (around 80).  I thought it would be an ideal day to hike.

Starting out at Hickory didn’t go as planned either.  I like Nuun when hiking and prefer the caffeinated Ginger.  I would prefer noncaffeinated ginger, but to my knowledge, they don’t make them.  (I’m not a Nuun ambassador and prefer something with more substance while running.).  With Nuun, I also eat food while hiking, so I don’t really eat gels.

Anyway, I accidentally dumped an entire canister of the Nuun into my pack.  So I didn’t see stars from that much caffeine, I diluted, but at that point, I knew the hike would be “one of those hikes”.

I started off on Blue Trail.  It’s a thin trail that winds through the forest. It connects both the Pine Hill and Sand Spring trails.

The path went along a stream crossing, and while trying to cross, I fell in.  I do have a pair of Goretex Brooks Cascadia which are fantastic but when you fall into a stream, there is only so much that will protect you.  As I continued along the trail, the skies opened up, and it started downpouring anyway.

Hiking Hickory run park

I wasn’t expected rain, so I didn’t have anything I would usually have like a jacket or hat.  I kept trecking along.  The trail was overgrown and the further I got, the deeper the water was.

Hiking Hickory run park

Around an hour, and probably only going 1.5 miles, I ended up turning around.  It was a trail I know I could have covered hiking 3 miles per hour, and I wouldn’t make it anywhere at the rate I was going.

Hiking Hickory run park

In all, I’m definitely happy I was up at Hickory Run Park near Allentown, and I do want to go back on a better day.  Nothing about the hike went as planned but I made the best of the situation and that is all I can ask of myself.

The park looks awesome, and there are so many fun trails.  I love NJ, but I’ve done 75% of the hikes here now!  I don’t regret the short but fun hike, I’m happy to be able to do it.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest
Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

You can see all the hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you hiked in the rain?

Where is your favorite place to hike? 

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Recently, I took a short trip to Passaic County in North Jersey.  While in town for the day, I decided to hike a short trail at High Mountain in Passaic County. Even though it was cloudy, there was a faint view of NYC.

I was surprised by how quiet the trails were in the middle of the populated area.  In fact, I didn’t hear any car traffic and only saw two people on the neighboring golf course at the very end.  (That’s right, no one on the trail!).  There are a few loops you can do and you can get a hike of about 6 miles if you desire.

I will say, there are sections of trail that can get muddy after heavy rainfall and I was glad I had my Goretex (waterproof) Brooks Cascadia.

While the trails are well marked, finding the path in the beginning was tough.  It starts right near the traffic circle.  Once you get on the trail, it’s easy to follow.

In order to see the NYC skyline, the hike is only about 1.6 miles.  It’s somewhat steep but nothing rigorous. Once you get to the top, you can see a great view, but you can also stand on the rock nearby and get an even better view.  It was cloudy when I went so I didn’t have a picture-perfect view.

Here are a few photos:

Here is the start from the traffic circle.  Since there is no “trailhead”, if you can’t find it just walk around the entire traffic circle.

High mountain passaic county nyc

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Even had some deer spotting

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Overturned tree

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

View of NYC

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Neighboring Golf Course where I saw the only people of the trek.
Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

In all, if you’re looking for a local hike with a good view of NYC, High Mountain in Passaic County is a good one.

I had a great time and would definitely go back.  Hopefully when it’s a little bit more clear!  It’s great if you are looking for something with a view, or even with pets, or kids.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever hiked with a view of a City?

What is your favorite hiking shoe?

Hiking Indian Wells State Park (Connecticut)

Hiking Indian Wells State Park (Connecticut)

While in Connecticut last month, we decided to take a nice hike at Indian Wells State Park.  It’s not a rigorous hike but a pleasant hour or two walk around the park.  It’s family-friendly, and right along the water with a beach if you want to swim or boat.  The hike itself was about 2-3 miles, and we went to the lookout point as well as the waterfalls.  A few people were swimming in the waterfall, so I didn’t take many photos as that might have been a little awkward.

If you hike about a mile, you’ll reach a small overlook which was a beautiful spot to relax.  We spent a few minutes looking out and then hiked to the “main attraction” of the waterfall.

The free-flowing waterfall has a deep pool at the base that we saw many people jumping into. We did as we weren’t interested in swimming at all. If I were to go swimming in the area, it would probably be at the waterfall because it’s not far from the beach and entrance and a more secluded area.

The hike itself was quiet, and we didn’t see a lot of people throughout the couple hours we were out there.  Here are a few photos from the adventure.

The hikes all start with climbing a short but well-maintained series of steps.

indian well state park connecticut

indian well state park connecticut

View from the look point into Connecticut

indian well state park connecticut

Into the Creekindian well state park connecticut

indian well state park connecticut

In all, it was a great walk, and I would definitely go back.  It’s a short and easy hike if you’re looking for something to do with kids or a dog.  Of any of the parks, it’s one of the most family friendly we have been too.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest

You can see all hikes I’ve done here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever swam near a waterfall?  Do you prefer going to a beach, pool, or lake?  Or none LOL.

What is a fun hike local to you?

Walking Around Belleplain State Forest

Recently I found myself back down near Maurice River and at the East Creek Trail in the Bellaplain State Forest. Belleplain State Forest is a 20,000+  acres located in both Cape May County and Cumberland.  There are plenty of different trees and animals lurking around, and it’s pretty well maintained.

The trail itself is a very flat, and runnable (if you want, I did not) 4.8-mile.  East  The creek is located in Belleplain State Forest. It’s marshy, swampy, and in the summer has a lot of mosquitos.  If you go in the Spring, Summer, and probably fall you will deal with mosquitos, but it’s like that anywhere in the Pineland area.  Also, check for ticks because I saw plenty of deer ticks of grass blades and picked about 10 off me.  Yes, 10.

Never the less, it was a lot of fun, and it was a nice and relaxing morning.  As most people know, one of my goals this summer is to get outside and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible!

Here are a few photos:

Belleplain State Forest east creek trail new jersey

 

Belleplain State Forest east creek trail new jersey

 

Belleplain State Forest east creek trail new jersey

many fallen trees

Belleplain State Forest east creek trail new jersey

Extremely long boardwalks that I almost fell a few times

Belleplain State Forest east creek trail new jersey

Where the bugs harbor

Belleplain State Forest east creek trail new jersey

In all, it was another fun spot to go.  I’ll go back but probably wait until the winter when there are fewer bugs.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite bug spray? 
Do you have any plans for the summer?

Exploring the Maurice River Bluffs

Recently, I was down in the Vineland area.  I’ve always wanted to check out the Maurice River Bluffs, and it seemed like a good day to do so.  There are a couple of trails down there! Unfortunately, with the weather we’ve had the last couple of months, part of the trails were closed due to flooding.

That is okay, and I still had a relaxing time just exploring.  I stayed on trails and followed the detour route that is currently in place, but it’s not the same route you’ll find online.

I believe I explored about 3 miles worth of the park.  I was able to make it to the actual Maurice River Bluffs, so I felt accomplished.  Tick season is among us, and along with just everyday safety, I like to stay on trails and not make my own.  Most of the path is pine needles and then along the bluffs is a beautiful sandy marsh.

The parking lot is small, and I don’t know how crowded the park can get.  There was plenty of parking when I went, but as mentioned I’m unsure how busy it can be.  When I arrived, I heard loud music playing.  To be honest, for about 5 minutes I thought there was a festival going on inside the park.  I’m not exaggerating at all!  When I walked up to the front, I realized it was coming from someone’s car.

maurice river bluffs nj

Most of the trail is pines.

maurice river bluffs nj

An abandoned building along the trail.  It was pretty cool as most of the building is gone and you can see nearly to the foundation.

maurice river bluffs nj

maurice river bluffs nj

Looking to the bluffs!

maurice river bluffs nj

Gorgeous view along the bluffs that I had no idea existed around there.maurice river bluffs nj

In all, it was a fun little walk in the Vineland. I enjoy exploring new parts of NJ, and this spring and summer have been great for that!

I have been enjoying the peace of hiking and walking through the Spring and now summer.  I’m hopefully looking forward to continuing through the rest of the season.

Other Spring hikes I’ve Done:
Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking Cape May Lighthouse

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to bluffs?

Do you live in an area with a lot of ticks?

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