~8 hours, ~9 miles, challenging
Hike #12: Allamuchy and Back On The Map
Allamuchy is pronounced al-a-moochy. Not only is the name cool, but it is also a great place to go hiking.
For this leg of the excursion, Jason, another friend and former colleague from Clarifai, tagged along. His timing was impeccable: it turns out we needed a rock solid wingman for this one and that's what we got. He comes steeped with hiking experience in Scandinavia and Tibet, so does not get rattled when things inevitably go off track. This trait became important when once again the Highlands Endeavor was faced with getting stuck in the mountains in the dark. Jason's stoic response to this potentiality was, "Yeah, I brought my headlamp. You know, just in case."
If you'll recall, we ended Hike #11 in the middle of no man's land, aka "off the map". So, that's where we started #12. Think about how resolute, how determined one must be to not only finish the last hike in no man's land, but to make a conscious decision to go back into it on the next one. To say to oneself, "it is from the void from which I came and to the void to which I shall return," this brings immortality.
Park your car at Waterloo Village, a restored 19th century Morris Canal town. It's kind of like Children of the Corn there. At any moment, we expected crazy people to pop out from the trees and torment us. You'll find the Highlands blaze way back in the parking lot, not too far from Route 80. Park under this unidentified tree.
Call a Lyft to 447 Maxim Drive, the vortex of no man's land.
Get out and follow the blazes on the road:
We may have discovered the source of the mysterious gunshots from hike #11.
Made some time for bear hunting.
Along the way, you'll run into yet another power line. So much power in New Jersey. Such powerful people.
And we ran into this spectacular swamp on the way.
And marshland. Not sure if that is the correct description, but when you are the writing the content you can say whatever you want.
Keep going and take the road. I can't remember if this is Lackawanna Drive or not, but in any event, that's where you are headed. Back to Shoprite, yes.
Go towards Byram.
Jason, once again, proving his keen analytical skills.
Once you pass over the aqueduct, you're on the Mansfield bike path. This is a silly silly bike path, so short and uneventful that it really does not warrant a distinct name. It should simply be called "bike path" or better yet "path". That's it. Our biggest gripe was with the placement of the benches. It seemed that they were purposely directed towards views that would make you bored at best and angry at worst.
Here's Jason demonstrating:
This tree stump below was six feet across. You'll just have to believe me. It is so hard to truly capture enormity. Look inside yourself and feel it, the ocean of meaning inside of you, bottled up, awaiting to tsunami itself on the world. That is enormity. How does one truly express that?
Lubber's Run. Byram Township's Longest River. Do we really care? I think not. I'm not trying to be snobbish about it. It just seemed like Byram Township was trying to hype all this stuff up and it just wasn't all that.
By the way, Jason brought a blue windbreaker and it was clutch. Apparently, I forgot to bring my jacket on this day. I blame it on Lulu, our dog, who I had to walk before leaving in the morning and distracted me from bringing everything I needed. I accept zero responsibility for it.
You are going to run into Wild West City on the way. If you are Endeavoring in the winter, it will be closed. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't stop. You should.
While hiking, Jason mentioned excitedly the sandwich of turkey, brie, and apple that he had brought for lunch. I was genuinely excited for him. There's nothing quite like a solid sandwich in the woods after a long hike. I was embarrassed for myself. I had a meh bowl of quinoa, cheese, and olive oil awaiting me. In comparison, it was like gulag grub.
You will be at the Shoprite soon. At the corner of High Glen or Higlen Drive and Lackawanna. This is a time to celebrate. You are back on the map. You have reached the shore. Your men have scurvy and you have lost 18 crew members, but you have reached the shore. Slap your hike partner on the ass. New York Yankees or Giants style. You know, as athletic men do.
Get some grub at McDonalds, Subway, or Hibachi or just cross the street to High Glen and keep going and eat the lunch you packed in the woods like you are supposed to.
This was a pivotal moment in Hike #12, ladies and gentlemen. Jason and I just finished lunch. It is 2:00. We have three hours of daylight left. Can we get through the rest of the hike, from the edge of Allamuchy to Waterloo Village in time, before the sun sets? We didn't know. We just didn't know for sure. Jason's knee was bothering him. We had hiked five hours already and were starting to feel the wear and tear. Did we want to go for it? Or did we want to be suckas and call it a day? I made my argument to Jason to go for it. He turned to me and said, without hesitation, "well, yeah, that's what we came for. We came to get you back on schedule." Fuck yeah, man. When you Endeavor, you take risks. You have to. Otherwise, you are a lame-o and you will never experience glory. Glory is reserved for those who risk the darkness. We find this truth to be self-evident.
With dusk as the deadline, we got on our way.
Crossing over the red trail is a huge milestone. Touch the blaze with your fingers and kiss them, like you would a mezuzah.
There are some pretty solid ups and downs in this part of the hike. It's extremely enjoyable and quite beautiful. I highly recommend this part of Allamuchy.
Should take 20-30 mins to get back from this overlook. However, I urge you, do not go back the wrong way. By doing so, it will take longer. We lost 40 minutes that way, bringing us closer to darkness. Check your compass and map when you leave the overlook. Don't get cocky, like Jason and I did. Celebrating with two minutes left in the game: rookie move.
But when got back, celebrate we did.
Use the NY/NJ trail conference map 127 for this hike. It is included when you purchase map 126. No man's land is not covered in either one of these maps.