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Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour

Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour

I like going to Bear Mountain in New York State, however, some of the hardest and scariest hikes I’ve done have been in that park.  Bear Mountain was one of the first hikes my husband and I did. Somehow, we got lost and hiked over the mountain and to other side and main road.  In order to get back to our car, we either had to take a taxi or spend another 4+ hours hiking in the dark.  By some miracle, there was a driver up there.  When we discussed options that seemed like a silly one to even pursue.

This particular time, we started in a mist and by the time we were about halfway in, it was downpouring.  Honestly, it wasn’t too bad.  I invested in a nice Goretex jacket which kept me dry the entire time.

Here are a few photos:

hiking bear mountain new york state

The beach. On a decent day this is swarming with people

hiking bear mountain new york state

With the storm there were so many trees down

hiking bear mountain new york state

Plenty of water so plenty of streams to cross

hiking bear mountain new york state

The nice thing about the Appalachian Trail is it is well kept and there are many rocks stairs

hiking bear mountain new york state

Views along the way

hiking bear mountain new york state

View from the top

hiking bear mountain new york state

Tower at the top

hiking bear mountain new york state

close up

hiking bear mountain new york state

Well kept facts about the entire area

At the end, once we got back down to the trailhead

In all, we had a great time.  It was pouring rain, but it was definitely one to write home (or blog I guess) about.  We hiked about 4 steep miles that day but with the scrambling, especially when it got wet, it was difficult.  Typically the trail to get to the peak isn’t that rigorous.

Other Spring hikes I’ve Done:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold

Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River

Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever hiked in the rain?

What is your favorite hike?

 

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Exploring Cattus Island Park in Toms River

Exploring Cattus Island Park in Toms River

Last week, I took a drive out to Cattus Island Park in Toms River.  Originally, I wanted to enjoy the shore while still doing something active.  While laying on the beach is fun for some, it isn’t all that fun to me. I get bored after a few minutes. One of the parks I’ve wanted to get too is Cattus Island in Toms River, so it worked out.

Cattus is an easy trail suitable for a leisurely walk, small kids, or pets.  You hike through the Pinelands, on a boardwalk, and along the beach.  There is even a massive Osprey nest! The hike itself is one of the easiest I’ve done, with a mix of sand, boardwalk, dirt, and pine needles.  If you combine all of the trails, it ends up being about 6.9 miles.

One thing I appreciated about Cattus Island Park was the map available at the front.  Obviously, everything is available online beforehand, but it’s nice to have a paper copy out.

I did hike most of the trails, but it got to be a bit windy along the shore, and I was getting cold.  Plus, I also wanted to beat the traffic on route 70.

Starting along the boardwalk

Cattus Island Park toms river
You can see the Osprey nest in the background.

Cattus Island Park toms river

Marsh and Wetlands

Cattus Island Park toms river

Then all of a sudden the trail went through the pines.

Cattus Island Park toms river

And along a small creek.

Cattus Island Park toms river

Then all of a sudden I was along the shore.

Cattus Island Park toms river

Cattus Island Park toms river

This is when things got windy.  It got cold quickly.  It’s hard to believe because the rest of the week has been so warm!

Windy day down the shore.

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Cattus Island Park toms river

Cattus Island Park toms river

In all, I had an excellent time hiking, and I’m glad I went out there.  Cattus Island Park is a beautiful, leisurely park and I highly suggest it.

Spring 2018 Hikes I’ve Done:

Cattus Island Park (Toms River)
Turkey Swamp Park (Freehold)

You can see all hikes here.

This Spring and Summer, I want to get to as many NJ parks as possible.  Now that the weather is nice, it’s been great to be outdoors!

Questions for you:
What was the last park you’ve been too?
Do you have any plans this spring and summer?

What I Pack in my Hiking Bag

What I Pack in my Hiking Bag

Over the past two years, my husband and I have gotten more into hiking.  While it’s not “running,” hiking is a tough workout.  When we first started, I used to try and squeeze runs in before and get my “running miles.”  I quickly realized I became more fatigued on hikes and it’s just unsustainable.  Now, hiking provides a great workout without running down the road (or whatever).  We choose to do day hikes because those are more of our style.

If you want to read about any of the hikes we’ve done around the country you can click here.

When going out for a day hike, it’s much different than packing a Nalgene and coming back.  I’ve gotten a few questions about what we pack.  First and foremost, it depends on the season and location.  The climate is very different in NJ versus Arizona.

Here are a Few Things I Pack Each Hike:

Good Shoes:

I used to hike in old running shoes but now hike in a pair of Brooks Cascadia trail shoes.  The trail shoes have more support to climb up or down terrain.  If you are going any distance, then shoes with support are essential.

7 bridges hike colorado springs

Number 1

Extra Water, Food, and Snacks:

After getting lost on Bear Mountain a few years ago (and yes we really took an Uber back to our car around the mountain), I realized the importance of having enough food and water.  Don’t expect the worst, but always prepare for the worst.  You never know where your hike might lead you and I cannot stress how important it is to be more prepared.  While not the only food I eat, I do like eating diner cookies on the bike.  Other things I’ve packed include trail mix, nuts, snack bars, and fruit.  I always anticipate getting lost and being out much longer.

Bear Mountain Hiking

Map, Compass, and GPS:

A map and compass is an important piece of any hiking.  Not only that, but it’s important to know how to use them!  I took backpacking in college, but before then I had no idea.  Cell phones have GPS built in, but like a Garmin GPS, not always helpful.

Extra Battery for Cell Phone:

If it’s cold, you get lost, or for whatever reason, your phone dies, having that extra battery is extremely helpful.  We have used the extra battery life about half of the time we are out!

Emergency Kit:

This includes everything for first aid, as well as a way to make fire.  Not only do they keep you warm but fires are also a great way to signal for help.  Another essential item for your kit is a flashlight or headlamp.  If you’re out past dark, you’ll need something.

Knife:

A knife is one of the most essential tools you’ll bring.  You never know what situation you’ll need to cut bandages, trees,

Full Set of Clothing:

It goes without saying, but remember to pack an extra set of clothing including extra underwear and socks. On most 5+ mile hikes, I’ve changed socks at least once!

Kleenex Wipes:

You never know what sort of issues you might encounter, and I like Kleenex Wet Wipes from Walgreens for both my hands and face. Personally, I like how the wipes dry quickly and don’t leave any residue.  There are no harsh chemicals, so they are safe enough for your hands and face.  As someone with sensitive skin, this is important for me.

kleenix wet wipes

Pack to Keep Everything in:

My favorite is from Northface.  It’s comfortable, fits everything, and doesn’t put unwanted pressure on your back.  Having a comfortable pack is important to carry everything.  This one has worked well for both my husband and I.  It’s lightweight, durable, and versatile.

Ramapo State Forest hike

So there you have it!  That is what I keep in my day hiking pack.  Thank you for Kleenex Wet Wipes for sponsoring this post.

Questions for you:
Do you like hiking?  What do you keep in your hiking pack?

Hiking the Palisades

Hiking the Palisades

On Monday, my husband and I went hiking in Palisades Park, in NJ.  We hiked about 4 miles up to New York, looped up the cliffs and hiked back.  If you are looking for a surprisingly beautiful and challenging hike that faces the Hudson and NYC skyline, this is your hike.  There are a lot of different options, and you can even just park and look over the cliffs if you prefer.

We had wanted to do this hike for a while, but the timing never worked out.  I wanted a clear day (to see New York City) and snowy days weren’t an option because there is a 1-mile scramble across rocks.

What is scrambling? Scrambling is a walk up steep terrain involving the use of one’s hands.  Basically, it means hopping from rock to rock.  Doing that on icy or snowy rocks is extremely dangerous.  You don’t have to do the scramble portion, and I wouldn’t recommend bringing any small kids or pets.

We started on the “long trail” which went down next to the shore of the Hudson.  You could easily put your feet in the water if you wanted too, but I absolutely did not want too.  I think seeing the floating dumpster justified that.  For about 3 miles we hiked along the water just admiring the view.

hiking the palisades park nj

Easy terrain

I knew we would eventually have to get up to the top, but I did not know or think about hard that might be.  I thought maybe we would take a natural staircase (which there were a few that we passed).  All of a sudden, we saw this:

hiking the palisades park nj

It took us about 90 minutes to hike up a single mile.  I didn’t take any photos because I needed both hands just to get up there.  It was quite the challenge and honestly one of the toughest hikes we’ve ever done.  I wasn’t expecting that!

Around the halfway point we also made it into New York!  As you can see by this fancy and prohibiting fence.  I wish there was a sign that said Welcome to New York or New Jersey, but I guess both states decided to fund other things.

hiking the palisades park nj

Finally, after about 90 minutes, we made it up to the top.  I haven’t felt that accomplished in a long time.

 

hiking the palisades park nj

It’s a long way down

From there we hiked back the way we came but on the “upper level”.  There was a small waterfall where many people were taking photos, so of course, we did too.  You can access the waterfall with about a mile of hiking, and don’t need to do the scramble (for my own personal reference LOL).  It’s a nice view and worth the stop.

hiking the palisades park nj

I was tired after that, but we still had a few miles to go.  We also discovered a small castle at the top which was fun!hiking the palisades park nj

You can go into the castle and look out over the Hudson too!

hiking the palisades park nj me new york

hiking the palisades park nj me new york

We finally made it back to our car after about 5 hours and a much more difficult hike than anticipated.  I loved the hike. However, I wasn’t ready for the scramble or the climbing.  I’m glad I wore the Brooks Cascadia because I doubt I would have made it in regular running shoes and definitely not in anything else.

You can see more hikes I’ve done here.

Questions for you:

What is the hardest hike you’ve done?

Have you ever walked across a state line?

 

Hiking Mesquite Trail in the White Tank Mountains

Hiking Mesquite Trail in the White Tank Mountains

The final hike, my husband and I did, was also in the White Tank Mountains on the Willow Canyon Trail.  It ended up being just about an 8.5 mile hike, with plenty of incredible views, and switchbacks.  There is a longer trail: Ford Canyon but we didn’t want to be out too late.  I would love to come back sometime!

We appreciated how well groomed the trail was, but wasn’t overly crowded.  It took us about 4 hours and we only saw a handful of people in that time.  We didn’t rush and stopped, took our time, and relaxed.  My guess is you could probably do the hike in about 3-4 if you were on a mission.

We started in a rock bed and headed upwards. The first mile started with a good amount of climbing but it leveled out.

Mesquite trail phoenix arizona

Just keep climbing…just keep climbing.

Mesquite trail phoenix arizona
Mesquite trail phoenix arizona

Mesquite trail phoenix arizona

We traced the canyon and a good amount of the 8.5-mile loop is not climbing but more flat with views.  That is definitely something I can appreciate.Mesquite trail phoenix arizona

Looking down at a dried up water bed.

Mesquite trail phoenix arizona

At the top of one of the peaks

 

One of my favorite photos of two side by side cacti.

cactus white tank mountains

It was another gorgeous hike outside of Phoenix and I am glad we made it out there.

We also hiked the Dixie Mine Trail and ate giant Cinnamon Buns at the Nicks Diner 2. 

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking?

Have you ever been to Phoenix?

Dixie Mine Trail

Dixie Mine Trail

While in Phoenix, my husband and I went on several hikes.  The first hike was with my brother, Matt, to the Dixie Mine.  The trail itself is relatively easy, and about a 4.5 mile out and back.  To be honest, the hardest part is finding the mine, and it takes a little bit to realize where the actual mine is.

When we went, we actually hiked right by the turn-off to the mine, but once we doubled back we found it. We looked at the side of the mountain and saw: “that looks out of place” and went in that direction.  After reading reviews, it looks like finding the mine is actually a challenge for many.

We parked at the front and walked about 1/2 of a mile to the trailhead.  At first, I thought it would be all paved and I wasn’t complaining about that.

dixie mine trail phoenix

We easily made it to the trailhead and began hiking towards the mine.

dixie mine trail phoenix

dixie mine trail phoenix

The terrain didn’t change too much as we hiked.  There were a few small inclines and declines here and there but nothing rigorous.  At the intersection, we made a left and found the mine.  It was tucked behind trees, but we found it.

dixie mine trail phoenix

dixie mine trail phoenix

dixie mine trail phoenix

Afterward, we climbed a small hill which led us to the top of the mine.  It has a huge covering on it, and it’s impossible to figure out how deep the actual mine is.

dixie mine trail phoenix

In all, it was a nice 4.5-mile hike.  We saw plenty of people, all ages, as well as a few dogs.

I enjoyed hiking in Arizona and you read more about hikes we’ve done here.

Questions for you:
Do you like hiking?
Have you ever gone to an old mine?
 

 

Hiking Jockey Hollow (Morristown)

Hiking Jockey Hollow (Morristown)

It’s been a few months since my last hike.   With my husband deployed, and a busy schedule, I didn’t make it hiking.  Plus, I’m not hiking in zero degrees.  Anyway, as many readers and people know, I enjoy hiking as much as running.

Jockey Hollow is a large park located near Morristown.  Morristown, NJ has a sizeable military presence. Situated in Jockey Hollow park itself, the Wick House is named after Henry Wick.  It’s a 1,400-acre farm covered by forest.  A large number of trees attracted Washington’s army to the area as a winter encampment site because they needed logs to build cabins for shelter and wood to burn for heating and cooking.

The location is now open to the public and is furnished to portray its use as a general’s headquarters which is what brought us there. My husband enjoys seeing all of the different sites and spots that NJ has to offer.

Spent the day hiking a new to us trail. By hike, I mean trudging through the snow.

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Even with about a foot of snow on the ground, the trail is relatively easy to follow.  It was about 6.5 miles, and with stops and taking our time, it took about 3 hours.  It felt more of an easy stroll versus a rigorous hike up a side of a mountain.  There were a few people with children as well as dogs, but the trail itself is quiet.  I could see myself running there if we lived locally.

When we arrived at the trail, the cloud and tree cover made it much chillier than anticipated.  We started hiking on the road, and when we met the trail, it was time to hike through the snow.

hiking jockey hollow morristown

The trail went around a small frozen lake.  hiking jockey hollow morristown

Then we crossed another main road and had a few small climbs as well.

hiking jockey hollow morristown

hiking jockey hollow morristown

As we were hiking, it got warmer (around 35) some of the snow began melting, and it got swampy.  In case you wondered, I do all of my hiking in the Brooks Cascadia, a trail running shoe.  So far, it’s worked well. At the end, we stopped and paused for some good snow yoga…or snowga as it is also called.

hiking jockey hollow morristown

(Just kidding, of course, I’m not a yoga person, and I am as flexible as the tinman)

hiking jockey hollow morristown

The Jockey Hollow hike took us about 3 hours for 6.5 miles.  We stopped, and enjoyed the sights and didn’t rush through.  It’s a reasonably comfortable, scenic hike, and even in the snow, we saw several pets and families.

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking?

Are there any historical spots in your area?

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