September 22-24, 2017
I’m off to a great start with my #thirtybeforethirty challenge. This weekend I’m headed to NJ to spend the weekend celebrating my 29th and final year before it all ends (or so some say).
Want to read more about my #thirtybeforethirty challenge? Check out the initial post here.
I’ve been talking about Edith for quite some time now, and I know I’ve promised to tell you all about her. I started to, but then life just happened, but I really will… I PROMISE. I didn’t use Edith to her full capacity on this trip… but watch out for Columbus Day weekend…
Anyways… With this post I’m officially marking of the ROAD TRIP of my challenge. On Friday September 22nd. I drove to Stokes State Forest in New Jersey. My trip was only 2 hours and 29 minutes (give or take), and the drive was incredibly uneventful…with the exception of my loud singing voice. Thanks to some friends who responded to my Facebook request for road trip song ideas…I actually sound like Whitney when I sing I will Always Love You. (Ha!) I arrived a little after 5:30 P.M. and found the office at the state park to be closed. Ensue panic here. But when I drove into the Shotwell loop (to site 127) I saw a little sign with my name on it!
I proceeded to set up camp, forage for wood in the forest, make a fire, find a bathroom (that wasn’t an outhouse) and prepare dinner. Since I was alone for this portion, I set out my Kindle and watched some of the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. As it got darker and I foraged for more wood with a head lamp, my kind camp neighbor offered me some of his extra wood he purchased from the office; he also commented on my bravery – for heading into the woods in the dark (yeah maybe that wasn’t my best move) and for camping alone as a girl. I informed him that I wasn’t that crazy, and I was waiting for a friend to arrive.
As a disclaimer I have yet to actually camp alone, and I’ve done a TON of research on the best ways to do that safely. This state park would never be a location that I would do solo camping, the camping loops are too far from the rangers station.
My college roomie arrived around 10pm and we headed to sleep shortly after. It was a rough night, since more campers arrived to a site nearby and they were rather noisy in setting up.
Saturday was fun! We woke semi-early (just after 6am – which is pretty normal for me) and made a trip around 7am to a convenience store. Apparently you need bowls and spoons in order to eat cereal.
After breakfast we decided to head out on a hike. So as not to be repetitive you can read all about our hike up Sunrise Mountain here.
In addition let me just share with you the best $9.88 I’ve ever spent. I’m telling you – if you hike and don’t mind a little extra weight, and have a issue with drinking warm water like I do, this will be your best friend.
My dad has this type of water bottle that’s a TREK brand (apparently also available at Walmart). His is at least double the size of mine, but he claims the ice lasts for 2 days… sure enough it does! I filled the bottle with ice, added a bottle of water and went hiking! I filled in more water as I ran out, and there was still ice in there Monday morning… not a whole lot, but it there was some!
After our hike, which was probably a little longer than we had hoped, we headed back to camp to take showers… only we couldn’t find any. Yeh… that was fun. So this was a pretty real “backpackin preparation” experience. We used jugs of water to was our hair in the woods, and baby wipes to clean off sweat (let’s just say I was greatful to take a shower first thing when I got back home!)
After that, we made some dinner; and the. Decided to head back up Sunrise Mountain to see the sun set.
This was cool! We parked in the last parking lot on Sunrise Mountain Road, and hiked the short 0.1 mile trip to the top. A group of musicians were in the pavilion settting the mood (a rather weird one) but I took to the sunset, and took a lot of photos!
We stayed there for probably an hour or so, watched until the sun left the horizon and then headed back to camp for s’mores!
By the time we arrived back to camp, it was pretty dark. We had our s’mores and were wiped enough from the day of hiking to want to go to sleep.
The next morning, we packed up camp and headed to a diner down the road for breakfast before heading home. We were both starving and opted to have a rather large breakfast!
It was DELICIOUS! After breakfast we said our goodbyes and headed home… only I wasn’t quite ready for home yet. So I decided to mark April the Giraffe off my bucket list and take a little detour to check her out. It took about 2 hours to get to Animal Adventure Park (driving through both NJ and PA to get back to NY). And when I arrived it was HOT! I got my ticket, grabbed my camera and headed into the park to check it out.
The park is a pretty good size, for where it located – basically in the middle of farm country – but I was able to make it through the park within an hour. It was a little on the pricy side, and tickets don’t include the coolest part, purchasing food to feed the animals. Most of the animals you are able to feed, but of course you need to purchase that on top of the $15 entry fee. April was okay, but because you are allowed to feed them, you have to stand in line all the time just to get a better view of her. My favorite part was someone a little smaller…
This is Otto, a new Lynx. He was in his own private cage and full of fun and life. After snapping some photos, I decided to head back to Edith and head home. I’d still need to unpack my car when I arrived home, and of, course I was excited to see the photos I had taken on the “big screen.”
Until our next adventure…