No.14 Ringwood State Park
This hike was so lovely. Wait, don’t I say that about every one so far?! I packed up my gear into my Teton Sports Oasis 1100 backpack and headed out around 8:45am. Ringwood State Park is about an hour and a half from my house and I wanted to get there so I could time my lunch break at the summit of Mt. Defiance. I love my little routine of choosing my hike and driving directions, looking up the weather and gathering my gear. Miller makes fun of me because there are some Sunday nights that I sit in my bed and, as he puts it, I “spend hours and hours pouring over old maps when I thinks he’s not looking.” Yes, this is a quote from the Fellowship of the Ring, movie version. Anyway, I absolutely love my pack. From the hydration bladder to the raincover (haven’t used that yet!) to all the perfect pockets and pouches, it’s turned out to be quite the travel companion.
Ok, back to Ringwood…it was flippin’ windy! I’m glad that I bundled so well and grabbed Miller’s skiing gator thingy, it really saved my face from wind burn. The views were well worth the gales though! Some parts of the trail were icy and steep, I could have used a set of crampons in a few spots. I crossed a gas pipeline with hundreds of saplings in their protective sleeves, I’d like to see this again in about 5 years. Part of the hike brought me through the grounds of Skylands Manor and the NJ Botanical Garden, even in winter it was beautiful. The eagle statues that guard the main entrance once stood outside of NY Penn Station. The 5.5mile hike with an elevation gain of 850ft. looped me back to Shepherd Lake in about 3 hours and 15 minutes. Back at the parking lot I met a sweet, elderly man named Jim who comes to Shepherd Lake to remember the many happy times he came here with his now deceased wife. I chatted with him for a bit and maybe cried a little too when I got back in my car. The unexpected moments like this one makes me thank God for his love and mercy he shows to me. I am glad to have had a moment to meet and connect with this man and to see how sorrow and thankfulness can be blended into a richer understanding of what is most important. I hope to run into him next time I visit .
@ The Shop
So!! This is the last picture I will take of Great Pacific Frame Shoppe. We start deconstruction this week…the first step toward the new shop, Frame and Fiber. I’m here now, waiting for the storage unit and dumpster. So exciting 🙂