With only 3.8 miles of travel ahead of us for the day we got a late start out of camp. Departing the camp for the trail just before 11am, we would make fast work of the distance if we hiked straight through. With plenty of time and only a short distance to travel we took advantage of the day and traveled slowing. Stopping to disable fire rings and take pictures.
After traveling for less then a mile along the trail we came across what was clearly a local party spot just off the trail. The area included a massive fire pit, and even a rusty old quarter keg container. The fire pit was filled with broken glass and had clearly been established by countless weekends of teenage partiers. We took advantage of the extra time we had in the day and spent over an hour cleaning up the site and removing the multiple fire rings that were here.
I couldn’t help but think back to my time in high school when we had a similar location that we had parties at almost every weekend. That location was nicknamed “The Pit” due to its close proximity to a sand pit. I can’t help but imagine the disappoint that the locals will experience when they arrive to find the party spot they had spent countless hours building being returned to a more natural state. Although I fully support the ability to the local teens to blow off steam I was greatly disappointed by how much they had damaged the area with out any care for others who visit the area. Theres a few locations on the trail just like this one including “Government Cleament Shelter” in Clarendon VT that are abused by locals due to the close proximity to road access. If the NJ locals are anything like those in VT, I highly suspect that if i return to this site at the end of the summer it will be just as destroyed as it was when we found it. I can only hope that others will continue to restore this site and sooner or later the locals will get the message to not destroy the location.
After the clean of the party spot we continued on the trail and it wasn’t long before we descended down off the ridge line and came across a wonderful little pond with a very large Beaver population. We sat for a bit looking at the lodges and damns before reascending up to one of the area Fire Towers. Shortly after the fire tower we located a site that would simulate our unimpacted campsite location.
We made camp quickly but due to the nicer weather a number of decided to make do with out a tent and instead sleep out under the stars. By reducing the number of tents we would also be reducing out impact on the area. Dinner for the evening would be one of my favorite meals “Annes Mac & Cheese”, with some fresh veggies. What a great last meal in the back country. As our last night together following dinner we all shared our action plans of what we would be doing as Master Educators following the course and all turned in for the night with the knowledge that showers would be waiting for us after hiking only a mile tomorrow back to the Outdoor Center.