I went on my first hike with the Jewish Outdoors Club. I gave a lift to three other people from Queens, driving to West Milford, NJ. The state forest borders Wawayanda State Park, where I have hiked previously.
There were around 24 hikers, and we met in a supermarket parking lot, then hiked along a road for a short while before entering the forest. We entered on a footpath called the Jeremy Glick Trail, named posthumously for a West Milford man who died a hero on September 11, 2001.
After climbing partway up a steep hill, we reached a rock that afforded a view of the countryside:
We continued on the trail:
Another view of the footpath:
Another nice view:
A narrow wedge of rock has split away from the main bedrock, with a deep crevice in between:
For some reason, in this shot the party was almost all lined up single-file, even though the path was wide enough that they could have spread out a bit:
A nice panorama:
The group divided in half, with the slower group opting for a 6-mile hike and the faster group opting for an 8.4-mile hike. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to do the longer hike.
There were a number of spots requiring a scramble up or down. Here, it was almost like a natural staircase leading down:
I soon regretted having taken the longer hike, because the leader was moving at a very fast pace and because it was 93 degrees that day. I had to fall behind and rest for several minutes to cool down and slow down my heart rate. I don’t know if the leader realized they had lost someone and didn’t care, or if they didn’t know. I had two friends in that group, and at least they phoned to check up on me. I caught up to them and told them to go ahead as I continued at a slower pace. I eventually continued on and made it to this beautiful overlook of Greenwood Lake, a 7-mile long lake on the New York/New Jersey border, which as you can see is dotted by dozens of pleasure boats. There, I met another couple of guys from our group, and also saw a few that had taken the shorter route, as we were near the common area where we planned to meet.
An even wider panorama of Greenwood Lake:
I then hiked a little farther to Surprise Pond, where the reassembled group of 24 enjoyed lunch.
Some of the group has spotted a turtle near the “beach” of Surprise Pond:
Additional views of the turtle:
After lunch, we began a hike out of the forest, passing over a few streams via stepping stones:
The loop trail ended with what appeared to be an eroded woods road, though one write-up suggests that it was never a road and is just a footpath that became widened and eroded from a century of hiking. I’m not sure that I believe that.
Leaving the forest: