Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Day 93: New Jersey's High Point

June 8: It didn't rain during the night--which was good since I had cowboy camped--but it did rain soon after I started the day's hiking much to my surprise and dismay. Rain was in the forecast, but not until later in the afternoon! Fortunately, camping on the bright and exposed Rattlesnake Mountain allowed me an extraordinarily early 5:30 start. I usually don't get such an early start, but I wanted to get as much hiking in before the afternoon rains started. Little did I realize it would start within minutes of my hiking--but at least the early start saved my camp from being rained out. I'd have been in a real pickle if that happened.

The morning started wet and drizzly!

I hiked through the rain, soon arriving at the Brink Shelter where I found Superman along with a couple of other hikers awake but still wrapped up in their sleeping bags and generally unresponsive. Who I did not see, however, was Heavyweight and Blueberry. Superman asked where they were.

"That's a good question," I replied. "I thought that they were ahead of me... but if they hadn't arrived yet at this shelter, then they must be behind me. But I'll be darned if I know what happened to them!"

It was a mystery, but I wasn't particularly concerned about them either. They can take care of themselves. Well, at least Heavyweight can. =) But Blueberry may have chased a chipmunk off a cliff or something crazy. Somehow, I must have passed them when they got off trail to get water or do a dump or something. It happens! But they probably weren't far behind me either. Mostly, I was just glad to learn that they hadn't deliberately ditched me. Turns out, I ditched them! Completely inadvertently, of course.

McGuyer, much like myself, got an early-morning start to his hike and we started hiking together. I'd met him earlier at Delaware Water Gap but hadn't learned much about him. Today, we'd get a lot of one-on-one time together! We hiked together chatting about nothing important for much of the morning and the entire afternoon.

The rain stopped after a couple of hours, much to our relief and by noon, we had largely dried out.

At the Mashipacong Shelter, we met a woman who was putting up a missing persons poster. It was her brother who was missing. She explained that a couple of weeks earlier, he had quit his job unexpectedly and run off to the A.T.--or at least that's what he told his former boss--but no family members had heard from him since that incident and they were a bit concerned about his well-being. They weren't even entirely sure he was on the A.T.--the only information they had was that his former boss said that's where he claimed to be going.

Seems like an inconsiderate thing not to at least inform your own family where you'll be headed, but on the positive side, his family had no reason to think he was hurt, injured or dead either. He'd run off on his own accord. I offered to take one of the missing posters on to the next shelter up the trail, which I did. I have no idea whatever happened to the missing brother--if they found him or if he ever contacted his family, but I'm hoping it all worked out in the end.

Good grief! This thing was huge! (It was also injured--McGuyer accidentally stepped on it when he didn't see it on the trail at first.)

Late in the afternoon, we reached a lookout point for New Jersey's high point. They got really creative in naming the highest point in the state: They call it High Point. =) I was inclined to skip it since I'd been there before on my first thru-hike and it was 0.3 miles off trail, but McGuyer had never been there and liked the idea of hitting a new high point and I wound up following him up the trail. The things I do people! *shaking head*

The high point itself is marked with a large obelisk that looks not unlike the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, the monument was closed. It was closed during my 2003 thru-hike as well. I'm not sure if it's always closed or if there are times when visitors can climb to the top of the tower.

The only other people in the area were doing a photo-shoot. There was one woman in a billowing black dress that everyone else followed around taking photos, carrying props and such. The black dress was gorgeous, not the least of which was because there was a stiff wind that would blow it all around. McGuyer called it a Marilyn Monroe dress, except this one was black.

McGuyer wanted a photo of himself on the wall where the model was posing, which wasn't a big deal because it was a long wall and plenty of space for a second photo-shoot happen! =) He gave me his camera and started walking towards the wall... then stopped suddenly and just watched the girl--seemingly enchanted. Although his admiring the girl wasn't supposed to be part of our photo-shoot, I thought the look hilarious and quickly took a photo. The timing of the shot was absolutely perfect too--just as a gust of wind blew up the woman's dress and blew her hair back. I managed to crop her troop of followers off the photo (although if you look real closely, you'll see what looks like a single foot just barely in the photo to her right), so it looks like she's standing alone and McGuyer has been hypnotized her by.

I absolutely love the photo! It makes me laugh every time I see it!

I know you all wanted to see the photo I was talking about!

Eventually, McGuyer managed to pull his eyes off the girl and we wandered off to do our own little photo-shoot, but still watching the woman with her entourage from our vantage point. He got another laugh when the woman laid down on the wall and hung her head--upside down--off the side of it with her hair streaming down. It looked gorgeous (sorry, I didn't get a photo of that pose!), and I joked with McGuyer that he needed to do that because she certainly looked great doing it! Somehow, the effect is lost without the long, flowing hair. Oh, well.... After that, though, we joked around about taking "glamour shots" of each other. Just because we're dirty, stinky thru-hikers doesn't mean we can't have glamour shots! =)

Eventually the festivities were done. Our mysterious model and her entourage went back to the parking lot, and McGuyer and I headed back down the trail and returned to the A.T. (We never did learn who the woman was. If you recognize her, let us know!)

As we left High Point, the lightest of sprinkles started falling and McGuyer and I both hustled in the hopes of reaching the High Point Shelter before the rain really let loose. We were dry right now, and we wanted to stay that way!

And we did make it to the shelter just as the rain started to pour buckets! A heavy, drenching downpour! Oh, it felt good sliding into that shelter just in the nick of time! Already in the shelter, a bit to my surprise, was Heavyweight and Superman. Heavyweight?! Where did he come from?! I hadn't seen him all day, but somehow he'd managed to pass me! He probably passed me when I walked the half-mile off trail to the shelter to put up the poster of the missing poster, but it was good to catch up with him again. Blueberry, apparently, slept in late but was expected to arrive at the shelter for the night. He did arrive, completely drenched from the rain. =)

The shelter was a crowded one for the night, but we all fit in snugly and listened to the thunder crashing all around us. Yep, it was a good place to be for the night!

McGuyer hiking through the mist.

By afternoon, we'd already dried out from the morning rain.

New Jersey's High Point in the distance. A measly 1,804 feet (550 m) above sea level. I'm a little surprised they'd build such an elaborate monument for such a low high point. *shrug* =)

This is MY glamour shot at the high point. I used my trekking poles as props by hey, I wanted some props!
What do you think, girls? Sexy, huh? *nodding* =)

This is McGuyer's best glamour shot, but I don't think it turned out as well as mine. ;o)

A few days later, when I knew McGuyer was just behind me on the trail, I laid out on this rock with my head hanging over the side upside-down in imitation of the woman's pose at High Point. So this is what I looked like when it turned the corner of the trail--McGuyer just laughed knowing exactly what I was doing, but took the photo for me anyhow! Then made some sort of rude comment that the girl was better at the pose than I was. *rolling eyes* =)


Unknown said...

Haha. Nice shot! I kinda think y'all did a better photo shoot than the girl. :-D

BOOTY said...

In your glamour shout, you look like you're making yourself into the AT logo. Looks cool.