1803 ft ASL
I've never had fond memories of NJ. My experiences with this state primarily consist of driving through the state on the NJ Turnpike, paying usury-like tolls, and for my viewing pleasure: industrial smokestack vistas. The moniker "armpit state" has rung true with me.
But hey, this was a great opportunity for me to rethink NJ, to give it a second chance looking down from its highest peak. The Whited clan first had to get there and also needed a reason. We were headed from Roanoke en route to Providence, RI for a week of summer vacation with some dear friends. We stopped for the night in Scranton, PA. We were paying homage to The Office, which had just weeks earlier had its series finale. My wife and I loved this show, it was our first "together as a couple show." We were faithful to watch and laugh through every episode of its 9 seasons. After our ode to The Office, we were a few hours drive to High Point State Park and only a short detour off our main path.
As I mentioned, New Jersey had a lot of work to do to change my perception of the state. Unfortunately, the weather was not on New Jersey's side. It was cold and rainy as we approached the park's entrance. I knew there was a fee to enter, but I was hoping on this treacherous day the fee might be waived because who comes to a park to swim in the lake or have a picnic, or hike on such a day as this. "$10 please for out of state residents." Seriously, I thought. My wife looks at me, her face speaking "Why are we here?" Well, because, I have a weird hobby and it would be more expensive if I had to come here on another day with the gas and all. I'm just thankful we didn't come a day earlier when the fee is $20 for non-residents on a weekend. Ridiculous. We drove past the lake, that no one was swimming in and where lifeguards are busy playing cards in the guardhouse making easy money. (I was once a lifeguard and we lived for days like these, no thunder or lightning, so we can't close, but really who is going to swim.) We drove to the parking lot, where a sign instructed us: handicapped vehicles can drive up the last quarter mile, but all others vehicles must park and occupants hoof it. I just paid $10, I'm going to use all of your road thank-you. Past the sign we drove. My wife snapped my picture from inside the car as the wind and rain pelted me in the face. My wife was not getting out of the car. I don't blame her. My kids were not going to either, but after telling them it would be an adventure, they bagged the highpoint with their dad.
So, I'm glad to have bagged this highpoint. And in a way, going this route, actually saved me from the NJ Turnpike and its tolls, which was nice. But do I still think NJ lives up to the aforementioned "armpit state." Why, yes, I do.
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in High Point State Park