NEW JERSEY

After a month break of traveling, I decided to visit the East Coast. I arrived in New Jersey and was picked up at the airport by my couple friends and their cute Padawan. From coast to coast, I’ve seen different weather, different landscapes, different lifestyle…and yes, I’m still in the same country.

Speaking of weather…oh yeah, the temperature dropped by 15 degrees when I arrived Jersey. A very “cold” welcome, as I am an Asian and my comfortable temperature is 78°F. I love Mother Nature but she can be a bitch sometimes. Before I left the Mid-west, the weather forecast has a low of 64°F so I brought appropriate clothing for my two-week trip in the coast. But it seems that my jackets were not enough. Good thing I have the same petite-size as my friend so I was able to enjoy the almost freezing temperature of Fall season.

Even the temperature is less than my age, we went on with our plan and hike up Mt. Tammany in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. It is a 3.5 miles circuit, rocky, steep hike. We take the Red Dot/Blue Dot loop to summit of Mt. Tammany as Red Dot is a bit harder to negotiate going down. This loop has a strenuous degree of difficulty as the hike steeply climbs up to the summit, and the return trail is less steep but still has a rocky footpath. And on top of the steepness, the high altitude makes my breathing a bit of a struggle as well.

After climbing over rock outcrops, we’ve reach the first panoramic viewpoint, from open rocks just to the right of the trail. The view of the Delaware River is magnificent, with Arrow Island in the river to the left, and Mount Minsi directly across the river in Pennsylvania.

The Delaware Water Gap

The Delaware Water Gap

We’ve climbed nearly 1,250 vertical feet to reach the summit of Mt. Tammany. We enjoyed the spectacular view from the top of Mount Minsi and the Delaware River, with the rolling hills of Pennsylvania in the background. After we take in the great view of the surrounding area, we retrace our steps back to the trail and follow the Blue Dot Trail.

Panoramic View of Mount Minsi and Delaware River, viewed from the summit of Mt. Tammany.

Panoramic View of Mount Minsi and Delaware River, viewed from the summit of Mt. Tammany.

A little over a mile from the summit, we arrive at Dunnfield Creek Trail. We passed a naturally attractive waterfall, then we cross the footbridge and continue along the trail. This is another scenic portion of the hike, as we pass through the narrow gorge of Dunnfield Creek, studded with rhododendrons, with the waters of the cascading creek below.. In another quarter mile, the Blue Dot and Dunnfield Creek Trails end, and we continue ahead along the creek, now following the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. Soon, the trail bears left, leaving the wide path, and crosses Dunnfield Creek on a steel bridge with a wooden deck. Then we reach the parking area where the hike began.

Mother Nature gave me a tolerable autumn weather towards the end of the week. I was able to visit one of Jersey Shore’s oceanfront attractions. Geographically, the coastal region of New Jersey encompasses about 141 miles (227 km) of oceanfront from New Brunswick in the north to Cape May Point in the south. The Jersey Shore is lined with over 40 communities, each with a different character and flavor. We visited Sandy Hook for its lighthouse and the beach.

Sandy Hook is a long, narrow peninsula managed by the National Park Service as a unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The eastern shoreline consists of various public and fishing beaches, including North Beach and Gunnison Beach. The peninsula’s ocean-facing beaches are considered among the finest in New Jersey and a popular destination for recreation in summer.

The Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in the US. It was designed and built on June 11, 1764 by Isaac Conro. At that time, it stood only 150 m from the tip of Sandy Hook; however, today, due to growth caused by longshore drift, it is almost 2.4 km inland from the tip. The light was built to aid the mariners entering the southern end of the New York Harbor. The lighthouse is located on the grounds of Fort Hancock.

Sandy Hook Lighthouse

Sandy Hook Lighthouse

Before I leave Jersey, we went for a walk in Loantaka Brook Reservation. It is a natural reserve and public park in Morris County, NJ. I am feeling ecstatic to see the beautiful colors of the fall in the park. It was really amazing how nature transformed its colors in just a few days. What a sight to behold on a one fine Friday!

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