Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oh Jenny, You Tricksy Tricksy Gal!

Bright and early Saturday morning, DBF and I set out for a hike at Jenny Jump State Park. Legend goes, Jenny lived in these woods long ago with her father. She was cornered either by a spurned suitor or a Native American Indian and rather than fight or live in dishonor, she chose to jump off the side of the mountain! Damn girl!
The park was beautiful. We encountered this rock formation about 15 minutes into the hike. We were having a bit of trouble with the trails. We started on the blue trail and then without warning, the trail markers suddenly turned to white markers. And there was no white trail on our map! Hmm, that's odd we thinks. Continue on, we shall...
Isn't this gorgeous?
After an hour or so, we were rewarded with this amazing view. I really like this funky looking tree. One thing I didn't like - darn thorny bushes that kept attacking me. I have two small cuts on the backs of my legs where the thorns actually got me through my pants!
These trees looked so interesting compared to the older, taller trees right behind them.

After a while, we started to get a little tired. And by we, I mean me. It had been just about a year since DBF and I had been hiking. He runs several times every week and I, um...well, I walk in and out of stores. Oh and I have to walk around inside the stores to find my stuff - does that count? ;) After a while, we started to wonder where the darn road that our trail intersected with actually was. According to the map, we should have hit it already. Hmm. The trails kept going from blue to white to blue and the map wasn't a big help. We decided to keep walking in the direction we were going and see what happened. We had seen what looked like a playground down the mountain and were heading in that general direction. So I'm happily plodding along, following in DBF's footsteps and watching where I'm going so I don't step on a rock and twist my ankle or something. I go to put my foot down and guess what I see right in my path???? A PYTHON!!! This thing was at least 10 feet long, hissing and coiled up ready to attack my poor leg! I totally wigged out and scrambled away as fast as my cut up legs could take me. DBF laughed at me and wandered back to see if he could find the offensive creature, but it was long gone. "That's odd honey, pythons don't usually live in the NJ woodlands, are you sure it wasn't just a little garter snake?" "No, I'm positive," I exclaimed. "It was a monster!" (have I mentioned I'm definitely not a snake person?? shuddering)
Finally, DBF tells me he's spotted the road. Good news! The bad news is that we have to scale down a mountain the size of the Grand Canyon to get to it. Uh oh, that's definitely not good. (have I also mentioned I have a fear of heights? I don't especially hiking up things, but I definitely don't like getting back down again) Here's a slightly better shot of our downward descent. I wasn't getting any closer than I had to!
DBF scouted around for a minute and found this "stairway" down to the road. Umm, thanks honey, but I definitely would have preferred a banister!We're now back on stable ground again, phew. But umm, now the question is, where exactly are we?
DBF decided we needed to go right (probably had some fancy name for it, like East or something, it was right to me), so that's where we went. (have I mentioned my sense of direction isn't exactly always on target?) I'd like to take this time to point out DBF's rucksack. My mountain man has a knife, compass, matches and everything else you'd need to live in the woods for a couple days in that thing. And what did I bring with me? Well let's see here. Can't be too prepared - that's my motto! I've got my camera (old one of course, couldn't risk tripping and falling on my beautiful new one), sunglasses (it was pretty sunny afterall) and a newspaper article about the park that I probably should have referred to while we were getting "lost". Oops!

(walking, walking, walking)

We end up walking past The Land of Make Believe which was slightly creepy all empty and alone in its off-season. This was the playground we'd seen from high atop the mountain! We walked all the way back into the town of Hope and retraced our drive into the park. On the way back to where the truck was parked, we got to see a totally different view of the mountain we'd just hiked. Isn't it beautiful?
Along the way, we spotted another unfortunate hiker who'd gotten hopelessly lost and had to rest along the side of the road. To his regret, he did not have a rucksack stocked with supplies and didn't make it.

Poor fella! By now, I'm starting to realize that the drive in that had taken 10 minutes tops, is now taking quite a bit longer on foot. We got to the park around 11:30-12, its now 3:00. I'm totally sweaty and sticky and the muscles on the tops of my legs that connect your thighs and hips are screaming with every uphill step I take. Luckily for me, the roads leading back to the truck are only 90% hills. There are some plateaus every 15 minutes or so when I can rest. Suffice to say, I was definitely feelin' the burn. At one point, we walked by an alpaca farm. These have to be one of the goofiest animals I've ever seen! I would have taken a picture but they were ALL staring at us and I was a little creeped out. We looked to the left just avoid their stares and a lone cow was standing at the crest of the hill, munchin' away and staring us down. Those darn animals watched our every move from the moment we came into sight to the moment we turned the corner. Creepy!!
After walking mostly uphill for another half hour or so, I was ready to collapse. My wonderful boyfriend deposited me by the side of the road (with the rucksack of course) and RAN up the rest of the mile long hill to the truck (in combat boots nonetheless). By the time I sat my ass down, he was already out of sight. I love that man. I sat there in shock for a while and I can only imagine what passing motorists must have thought of me. I was too tired to even stand up for a couple minutes. Here's a lovely shot of my shoe and water bottle (CVS of course).
I finally gathered my strength back to stand up and look around. Imagine my surprise at discovering this beautiful view right behind me. DBF came to the rescue (with a pickup truck instead of a white horse -- I'll take it!) a minute later and we happily left Jenny Jump park. Jenny, it was nice to meetcha, but I think we may have to take our hiking shoes elsewhere. I hope you understand. :)


Jamie said...

What a great story! LOL.

I think I would have passed out right there if I saw a Python that close to me! OMG!

I'm glad you all were able to find your way back! It was so nice of your DBF to come and rescue you at the end :)

A couple years ago DH and I went on a 3-hour Cave tour (by lantern only; no bathrooms) and when we got to the end of the tour, the cave (man made) exit would not open! We had to walk the entire 3 hours back to the cave entrance!

Shelly said...

I like your story! Thanks for sharing!

Lindsay said...

Fun story & pictures!!!

Lisa B. said...

Thanks for sharing those great pictures. I love hiking in moderation. I dont go with my hubs cause he's like the energizer bunny.... he keeps going and going and going! lol

frugalsuz said...

It wasn't really a python, just a little garter snake, but I didn't like him all the same.

Oh my gosh, 6 hours in a cave!!! Ugh!

Shelly and Lindsay,
Thanks! :)

My boyfriend too! He told me after we got home that his knee was killing him but he never let on.

Jenny said...

Have you tried Stokes trails? it's not far from you and much easier :)

frugalsuz said...

Yeah, we went there once, last fall I think. We like to try out new parks every once and a while just to get some new scenery.