The Water Gap

July 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Delaware Water Gap is the 10th most visited national park in the country. It’s an oasis of wild in a coast of development, a real respite from the hum and the buzz and the humanness of the northeast. If New Jersey were LA County, the Water Gap would be the Malibu hills.

Now we trekked up with a group of 100 people so much of the weekend was as ruckus..

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On big outings like this, I always get that kind in a candy store feeling. I’m a chronic extrovert with no self control, everything seems totally awesome!

When I could tear myself away, I spent my time circling the lake in a kayak, snacking on blackberries and blueberries, sneaking up on animals.

tiny frogTiny frog!

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Big turtle!

On the last day, a pair of Carolina wolf spiders snuck up on me in one of the kayaks. I didn’t snap a photo, because you know, these guys were fucking giant and terrifying.

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When I first read A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, I thought “this all sounds terrible – all the landscape is the same! why come all the trees…?” After a few trips to the Water Gap, I may be a long distance hiking convert after all. There’s FOOD, INSIDE the forest, after all.

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Wimpy animals

February 12, 2013 § 5 Comments

I went with a few friends on Sunday to hike Sourland Mountain – a little 500 foot hill kind of between Princeton and New Brunswick. Post Nemo, it was a winter wonderland. It wasn’t warm enough for it to get slushy, but just enough to make the snow fun for packing snowballs and sliding around on. The walk was a short six miles around two boulder clusters and over a few streams.

Meet Shiloh

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Isn’t she adorable? We spent the entire hike tailing Shiloh as she circled forward on the path occasionally looking back at us, wandered off through boulders and into streams, stuck her face in the snow smelling things, and generally romping about and having a grand old time. She walked right into a half frozen stream and just looked up us, tongue lolling, like it was a nice way to cool off.

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What’s in here! It’s snow guys!

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Lead the way pup.

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Dan catching up.

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Hey, why’d you stop.

IMG_5723Exploring

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Under the snow.

Meanwhile, Nicholson and Dan were slipping and sliding on the snow because their boots had no treads, all three of the boys had wet jeans halfway up their calves and  I was busy zipping and unzipping five different vents to regulate my temperature as we stopped, ran, climbed, or walked. At the end of the hike, Nicholson and Dan both had frozen feet from boots soaked right through and the rest of us were redressing for the car ride. Shiloh had long since passed out in the backseat.

We’re all animals

Shiloh is 45 in human years and yet she totally schooled us the whole day. While we spent thousands of years figuring out waterproof pants and sunglasses because our evolution was busy building our ability to type on computers and go to space, Shiloh’s ancestors were busy making sure she could wander around in the middle of winter with nothing but her paws and curiosity and still have a great time.

I’m glad that I’m a hairless self-aware animal with thumbs 99% of the time, but this day I felt like I wimpy wimpy animal. Jealous of you Shiloh, but I’m glad we can be friends.

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