I headed out to Harriman (via the train) on Saturday 8/24 intending to do a 13-15 mile overnight loop again. Met some fellow hikers (June and Nilly) on the train out of Secaucus and we started talking about different spots in Harriman, hiking equipment, etc. Well turns out we got so caught up in our conversation we missed our train stop! Once we realized our dilemma we asked the conductor and she advised that if we got off we’d have to wait until 3 o’clock for a train going back in the other direction. That would waste the bulk of the day so we decided to stay on and ride to the end at Port Jervis. Figured we could either go to High Point or DWGNP.
We got into Port Jervis around 11:45, and grabbed a taxi for $15 to High Point SP. Decided to do an out and back on the AT. June and Nilly had never done much hiking in Jersey so they were cool with taking our mistake and turning it into a surprise hike as well, so we joined together and formed a hiking party.
Started around 12:15 Southbound on the AT. First Mile or two was nothing special. Soon you climb up the ridge and hit some nice views and catch a breeze. It was a beautiful day for August, high 70's, pretty low humidity and very clear skies. Amazingly no one was hiking the AT - and from the looks of this forum maybe everyone's quit hiking! We only encountered two separate parties over our entire hike that day! We went down to check out Rutherford Shelter when we reached it around 2:30. Pretty cool looking shelter with bear box, picnic bench, privy and apparently satellite TV. The water source down there is a shallow slow moving creek, so not the best source FYI.
Kept it moving and reached Mashipacong Shelter around 4:45. It’s right next to the road, so staying there and listening to cars all night wasn't our idea of camping out. It is a nice shelter though, with a well-stocked water cache in the bear box courtesy of the trail volunteers. We decided to keep going and see what turned up. We went another 2+ miles into Stokes and found a campsite off the trail to camp at around 6:45.
Fortunately no bears or other nightly encounters. And my new friends didn't murder me (nor I them) so it turned out to be a peaceful night squatter camping.
Sunday we were up and hiking by 8. Another beautiful day. Basically did the same trip in reverse – being that we had maps for Harriman and not for High Point / Stokes we didn't know that we could have taken the Iris Trail and had a completely different hike! But ended up back at the office at 1, got a cab back to Port Jervis and rode the train home.
Nilly, June and myself on Dutch Shoe Rock - Lake Rutherford in Background
7+ Miles each Way. High Point Ranger Station to squatter/illegal campsite just before Sunrise Mountain. Again 35lbs of equipment. A few tough ascents but nothing too taxing (easier than Harriman in my opinion). There were a few nice east facing views. But for me, it's completely no fun hiking without a map! Best part was getting to know June as he's a more experienced backpacker and hopefully we’ll be able to hike together again in the future.