High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

On Memorial Day, Batya and I drove a couple of hours to High Point State Park, which has the highest elevation in New Jersey, of 1803′ above sea level. The occasion was the annual Jewish Outdoors Club “Fun Day.” This event was planned to be smaller in size than the previous year’s event, and only 157 tickets were sold. Batya and I had hoped to join the group that Nachi was leading, which was the only strenuous hike offered.

N.J. charges admission for this park, at least starting with Memorial Day weekend. On weekdays, they charge $5 for a car with N.J. plates, or $10 for a car with other plates. On weekends, that is doubled! Thus, in addition to paying for the JOC event (which included a delicious barbecue at the end), and paying to drive across New Jersey and for the expensive Hudson River crossings, we had to pay $20 to enter the park.

The JOC was set up just inside the entrance. The parking lot was mostly full, but I parked on a grassy strip off the road. However, the JOC organizer came up to Batya’s side of the car, tapped on the window, greeted us with a great big smile as though she personally knew us, and told us that the parking area was closed off and that we would have to drive to another lot that was a 5 minute walk away. I started the car and drove to the parking lot adjacent to Lake Marcia, a 20-acre natural lake that offers lifeguard-protected swimming:

Lake Marcia, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Lake Marcia

We walked back to the entrance where the JOC was stationed, which took longer than 5 minutes. When we arrived back at the JOC station, we discovered a half-dozen other cars were parked on the grassy strip from which we had been evicted. I was not amused. Whereas the previous JOC Fun Days had several registration tables, there was only one this day, and I had to stand in line for about 15 minutes to register our presence. Meanwhile, Nachi’s group left to begin their hike. If we had not been evicted from the grassy strip where others were allowed to park after us, we would have been able to register in time to join Nachi’s hike. This left me very annoyed.

Batya and I decided that we would hike on our own, rather than join the non-strenuous hikes that would invariably travel at a snail’s pace. We walked back past Lake Marcia and began hiking on the Monument Trail, which provided us with this view toward the east:

Eastern View from the Monument Trail, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Eastern View from the Monument Trail

A war veterans’ monument was built in 1928-29. The obelisk is 221′ tall, 34′ square at the base, though tapering to 19′ square at the top.

Exterior of War Veterans' Monument, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Exterior of War Veterans’ Monument

Of course, Memorial Day was the perfect day to visit such a place, and to enter and climb such a monument. Here, I record the upward view:

Interior view of War Veterans' Monument, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Interior view of War Veterans’ Monument

And the view looking down:

Interior View of War Veterans' Monument, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Interior view of War Veterans’ Monument

Small windows at the top of the monument provide views of the park, as well as nearby New York to the north and Pennsylvania to the west.

View from top of War Veterans' Monument, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

View from top of War Veterans’ Monument

Posters inside the monument detail the nation’s debt to veterans from the State of New Jersey, in addition to providing details about the monument itself:

Notable New Jersey Veterans, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Notable New Jersey Veterans

War Veterans' Monument Data, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

War Veterans’ Monument Data

Descending from the top of the 221′ monument, we continued our hike along the Monument Trail. This is a stitched panoramic shot of the surrounding countryside:

View from Monument Trail, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

View from Monument Trail

A flowering plant along the trail:

Flowering plant, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Flowering plant

The trail crossed a small stream at a couple of points:

Stream crossing on Monument Trail, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Stream crossing on Monument Trail

Much of the Monument Trail was flat, passing through a wooded area:

Wooded area on Monument Trail, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Wooded area on Monument Trail

There were a few rock outcrops, but not many:

Rock Outcrop on Monument Trail, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Rock Outcrop on Monument Trail

The trail afforded a few nice views of the surrounding landscape, including this view of Port Jervis, New York, the Delaware River, and the Mid-Delaware Bridge:

View of Port Jervis, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

View of Port Jervis

The trail again crossed a stream, though I can’t say whether it was the same stream as before, or a different one. This crossing featured many nice rocks.

Stream Crossing on Monument Trail, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

Stream Crossing on Monument Trail

The Monument Trail is a loop of only 3.7 miles. We completed it and began walking back past Lake Marcia to the pavilion where the JOC had set up its operations for the day. Here is a parting shot of the War Veterans’ Monument:

War Veterans' Monument, High Point State Park, Sussex County, New Jersey

War Veterans’ Monument

We had been a bit worried that we would arrive late for lunch, but instead Batya and I were the first ones there. We enjoyed such delicacies as cole slaw, potatoes, salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, tortilla chips and salsa, pasta with pesto sauce, watermelon, and cookies. While we missed the chance to socialize with others on our hike, we were able to chat with a few people over lunch, before the long drive back to Brooklyn.

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