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Hiking Cheesequake State Park

Hiking Cheesequake State Park

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a trip to Cheesequake State Park. I’ve seen Cheesequake Park from the Garden State Parkway, and it even has it’s own Parkway exit. A dirt road runs underneath the Garden State Parkway to connect the northern and southern sides of Cheesequake Park.

Despite being that close to the Parkway, you don’t hear the cars rolling by. Cheesequake State Park has always been on my “to-do list,” but the timing or weather neer worked out. Cheesequake State Park is located in Old Bridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey.

After doing research, I learned the name Cheesequake comes from the following Native American Lenape words:

Cheseh-oh-ke, which means “upland.”

Chiskhakink, which means the “at the land that has been cleared.”

Here are a Few Things Cheesequake Park Has:

  • Camping, Tent and Trailer Sites with flushable toilets and shower facilities (facilities within walking distance of campsites)
  • Picnic Areas with Fire Rings
  • Swimming with Lifeguards
  • Fishing for trout, largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish
  • Interpretive Center with History of the Park and Colonization History
  • Roughly 8 miles of easy to navigate hiking

 

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJCheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Part of the trails were almost flooded over. I was wearing my Hoka Speedgoat Midi Boot which prevented any water in my shoes.

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

Cheesequake State Park offers some beautiful views. There are no mountains to climb, but you do get some glimpses of the North Jersey shore.

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

This might be the most unique thing I’ve noticed on a hike. I looked down to see a “swarm of caterpillars” all climbing over them. I’ve never seen anything like it. After talking with someone in the nature center, she mentioned the caterpillers do this for safety with numbers. It’s known as “as a rolling swarm of caterpillars.”

The caterpillers were harmless but a group of caterpillers bunched together is not something you see every day.

Cheesequake State Park Middlesex NJ

In all, I had a fun couple of hours at Cheesequake State Park. If you’re looking for an easy to navigate state park with trailer sites, fire rings, and picnic tables, Cheesequake Park is a good stop.

You Can See All Hikes Here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever seen a swarm of caterpillars?

Where is somewhere you’ve wanted to hike around you? 

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Hiking Tuscarora Mountain

On the way home from Indianapolis, my husband and I decided to stop at the Tuscarora Mountains for a 2-hour hike. I’m not someone who road trips very well (meaning about 5 hours is my limit for sitting still, and I need to use the bathroom every couple of hours.) The weather was perfect, and we thought it would be a good stop. Since my husband grew up in the area, he knew the mountains well.

The Tuscarora Mountains are an accessible destination to get to if you’re in central PA. Many main roads like the turnpike come within minutes of the trail head. There are a few hiking trails that reach the summit, but you can also park at the top and admire the view.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

We saw a few deer as well as a few giant spiders.  This was a little to close for comfort.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa spider

The trail is one of the more overgrown trails we’ve been too recently. Some spots have a calf-length grass. I advise you to wear long pants (even if it’s hot) and use bug spray. The public health major in me, says that Lyme disease is most prevalent in PA so be protected.).

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

There are a few rocky spots, especially to the summit, but for the most part, it’s an easy trail. It’s 4 miles out and back (8 round trip), but if you feel like that’s too overwhelming, you can park at the top and walk down then back up.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

The trail is well marked, and unless you decide to go bushwhacking, it’s next to impossible to get lost.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

The top is worth the climb and even if you want to make a pit stop and just drive to the top, it’s beautiful. It’s one of my favorite summits of hiking so far.

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa

 

Hiking Tuscarora Mountain Pa Tim and I

You Can See More Hikes Here. 

Questions for you:

Are you a fan of road trips? How long can you sit in a car? 

Do you like hiking? 

Exploring Tyler State Park (Newtown, PA)

Exploring Tyler State Park (Newtown, PA)

Recently I found myself just north of Philadelphia. Since I was already up there, I thought it would be fun to check out a new park and see what I saw. I spent about 2 hours there and walked between 4-5 miles. Some of the park is paved trail, some is grassy, muddy, and rugged terrain. It truly has a bit of everything. There are plenty of runnable paths and it would be a good spot to run if you’re in the area again.

A lot of the trails are paved which can be used for biking too.  During my walk I saw bikers, walkers, hikers, and even horseback riders. In fact, when I stopped to let a horse pass, it licked me.

I enjoyed all of the different surfaces of the park.  I wanted to test out my Hoka Speedgoat Midis on new surfaces so opted to wear them. They were great for all terrain including pavement, dirt, grass, and muddy water (my feet stayed dry when I sunk into a few inches of mud).

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

It starts off walking across a dam.  It’s all paved and there were people fishing as well.

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

While there isn’t a lot of drastic elevation change, there is some.

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

We walked through huge fields as well. I thought perhaps it could be used as a cross country course too. Maybe it has been.

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

Even found some “creatures”.

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

I also thought it would be funny to try and fit into this tree that had fallen and was hallowed out. Why, I don’t know.

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

There is even a beautiful covered bridge in the middle of the park as well.

Hiking Tyler State Park Newton PA

In all, it was a quiet, fun, hike. If you are in the area and looking for something relaxing to do, I recommend it.

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

What is your favorite low key park?

Have you ever been horseback riding?

I did when I was much younger.

Hiking Parker Loop at High Point State Park

Hiking Parker Loop at High Point State Park

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I woke up early and drove up to Northwest NJ for an all-day hike. We ultimately hiked 13.4 miles, and it took us about 6 hours.

We’ve wanted to get to High Point State Park for a while. It’s just over 2 hours away and the highest point of elevation in NJ. The Parker Loop Trail was about 15 miles long, but there were a lot of spots, you could quickly go off trail, or get lost. If we did it again, we would follow the blue path which ultimately takes you about 15 miles but is much easier to follow.

The trail itself is moderate. It was only difficult for a couple of climbs and also due to the length. It had everything from climbing, to scrambles, to stream crossings, and walking along dried up water beds.

It started off easy and flat. We wandered through the trail for a couple of miles before hitting a stream.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

I’ve never crossed a stream before, so it was terrifying. What if I fell in? My husband just went across like no big deal.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

After the major stream crossing, we followed the trail for several more miles. There are spots that it’s easy to get lost because the trail isn’t the best marked. We added a few sections and had to double back. Ultimately, we would have followed the blue path which does about the same thing but is easier to follow.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

We got to a beautiful campground and lake around mile 6. You can rent cabins and hang out there; it looks like a beautiful and peaceful spot to relax.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

As we kept going, we noticed how many large trees were down. New Jersey has had a lot of storms recently, so I have to wonder if it’s from that, but we noticed dozens, maybe even 100.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Around mile 9, comes the longest and steepest climb which takes you to the top. The view is one of my favorites, and if you look, you can see PA, NY, and NJ. (The Northern NJ tri-state).

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

Finally, we headed back. Since we had gotten lost a few times and doubled back, we had no idea how long the trail would be for us. We ultimately did 13.4 miles.  It was a lot of fun, and we are looking forward to doing a few more all day hikes before it gets too hot.

Hiking Parker Loop Trail High Point State Park NJ

You Can See More Hikes Here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever gotten lost?

During one of our first hikes, we got completely lost at Bear Mountain and ended up taking an Uber back. Thank goodness there was one. We learned a lot from that, and how to be much safer hikers.

What is the longest hike you’ve done?

 

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

I’ve been looking for a new hiking shoe for the 2019 season. As most people know, I like running but also appreciate and like hiking just as much. I like a good hike as much as a good run and just enjoying being outside.

I have tried a few shoes including the Brooks Cascadia as well as Under Armour BPF.  Both were good, but I’m always looking to try something new.

I’ve also wanted to try something a little higher cut shoe so when I noticed Hoka One One had a midlevel version of the Speedgoat I knew I wanted to try it.

Technically the Hoka one one Speedgoat Midi Shoe is considered a running shoe or hiking shoe.  A boot and shoe that does it all! I will personally use it as a hiking boot since I don’t live in an area that needs this aggressive of a trail shoe.

The original Hoka Speedgoat has won several awards as a top trail shoe, so I thought why not try it. For the Speedgoat, Hoka combines their famous sole with Vibram (named the Vibram Megagrip Outsole).  Plus, the Hoka One One Speedgoat is waterproof, so if you step in puddles (which I have), you’re fine. I’ve come to realize waterproof trail shoes are essential to me, especially when hiking.Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Upper of the Hoka One One Speedgoat:

The upper of the Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi varies from a traditional trail running shoes as it’s a boot. It’s water-resistant, so when it’s wet, your feet stay relatively dry. I typically wear a women’s size 10-11 wide. I found the men’s size 9 to be a good fit and truthfully I liked the color of the mens better. I like the width of the toe box and my feet don’t feel constrained.

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Traction of the Hoka Speedgoat:

With trail shoes, traction is significant. You don’t want a trail shoe that you’re sliding around in.

The major difference between road and trail shoes is trail shoes have a more aggressive bottom.

Hoka One One has partnered with Vibram for the entire bottom of their shoe.  The Vibram megagrip outsole grips the ground or rocks. While hiking, I had no issue taking them through mud, dirt, washed out, or dry trails. Most people don’t realize how rocky the Appalachian Trail can be, but they have gripped well.  I haven’t had an issue where I’m like, oh that could use more traction.

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Water Resistance:

One of the significant draws (for me) is the water resistance. As I hiked through muddy and wet terrain, I didn’t have any issues with my feet being wet. Sometimes you might worry a waterproof shoe is too hot (and think lack of breathability) but the Hoka One One Speedgoat has a wrap-around liner.  This means it keeps water out but also allows your feet to breathe.

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Conclusion of the Hoka Speedgoat:

As someone who loves both running and hiking, I believe this shoe can do both. For avid trail runners, the Hoka Speedgoat is a lightweight boot that you can put miles in a while still staying comfortable. I appreciate the amount of cushion in the shoe.

I’ve used them for long hikes and my feet have felt great from start to finish. For the casual hiker (like me), it a good boot with plenty of traction to keep you stable. Plus unlike many hiking boots, it’s not heavy. If I run any trail races this summer; this is one I’ll keep in mind.

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It’s hiking szn.

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Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy Runs: Brooks Glycerin 17, New Balance 1080, Hoka Mach 2

Speed Work: Reebok Float ride Runfast Pro, Nike Fly

Long Runs: Hoka Cavu 2

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter?

It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are giveaways, coupon codes, and more.

Races: Nike Fly, Reebok Floatride

Questions for you:

Do you have a favorite trail shoe? What is your current favorite shoe? 

 

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