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High Point State Park – Pochuck Mountain Shelter – Swamp Boardwalk 1338.0 - 1358.7

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This was originally planned as a hike where I meet up with fellow YouTuber Uncle Paul and do a bit of a collaboration. 2 days, 12 miles, 3 targets, in and out. There is always a risk of missing the rendezvous when trying to meet up on the trail with moving hikers. As fate would have it, schedules diverged and we were not able to meet up.
What unfolded afterward I could only attribute to the Appalachian Trail evolving my sense of being, revealing a tiny part of its inner mystery to me, and urging me to keep going…whatever it was, I did something on trail for the 1st time, I hiked forward without a plan. And it was good. The not having a plan thing (or rather total deviation from what I though was my plan) was very liberating...transformative in a way.

I started for New Jersey in my car at 1:30AM to get to High Point Park and secure parking by 8:00AM. I was successfully parked and on the trail by this time.
***Overnight parking in the AT lot is allowed only if you check in at the park office up the hill and register.
It is 0.3 miles from the AT parking lot along a blue blaze trail to the AT, and then another 0.2 miles North to the office.
The first good views of the High Point monument occur 1.0 miles North of the office where there is a nice viewing platform. The trail is quite nice along this section with a few rocky areas but nothing unmanageable even for a novice hiker. The side trail (West) to High Point Monument is easy to miss and is only about 0.1 miles North of the platform.

I almost immediately crossed paths with Through Hike flip floppers “Head Knocker” and “Stretches” and fell in with them as we proceeded North. Soon enough, there were 6 of us headed North.
The more I hiked with them the more I felt like I fit in. By the time we got to what was supposed to be my original destination, I wanted to keep going. I was 8 miles in on a hike where I needed to hike back to my car the next morning and then drive 7 hours home. I kept going.
After getting water at an abandoned house (per the guide book), we made it all the way to the Pochuck Mountain Shelter, about 15 miles hiked for the day.
The shelter and privy were outstanding at this site, as were the tent sites. Two more through hikers (“French Toast” and Jacob) arrived that night.
Now I had a real dilemma – hike 15 miles back the way I came, or….yes, I kept going.
I left early the next AM and pressed 6.5 miles, through the cool boardwalk over the swamp at County Road 517, and on to NJ94. I stopped at Mitch’s Hot Dog stand on 94 and got some food and ate lunch. I was surprised to meet up with some people I met the week prior in PA at the 183 parking, very cool. From there I took my 1st Uber ride back to my car. The Uber driver was from NYC and the thought of hiking from GA to ME blew his mind. He could not get over that I walked from where my car was parked in a little over a day.
When I got back to my car I hiked up to the monument that I had missed the day before and also hiked down to check out High Point shelter.
Total miles hiked for the weekend – 24.6
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