Sourland Mountain Preserve, NJ- PART II


In my continuing half-hearted quest to prove that New Jersey is more than stacks of shipping containers along the turnpike and The Sopranos,  I bring you fresh images from the Sourland Mountain Preserve near my apartment. Last time I told you about the glacial deposit at the top, and this time I have pictures.

I took a personal day today to recharge the mental batteries and thought the weather was perfect for a hike. It turns out it was pretty bleeping hot, but a little sweat never hurt anyone.

The Sourland trails are very rocky and can be steep in places. Bring your good ankles.



So it was a good thing I had these brand new trail walkers to break in. Thanks, Sketchers, for making a pair wide enough for my chimp feet. I will sell out for money in a heartbeat, so, Sketchers people, I can easily put your shoes on my characters’ feet for the right price. Call me.

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Some scenery on the way up

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Things do not seem to have worked out for Jim and Laura. Sad.

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The glacial deposit

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It’s quite remarkable that glacial ice was able to carve the words “hey babe” into this boulder over 12,000 years ago.


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From reading your blogs, I know some of you aren’t crazy about the word “selfie” or the concept. So sorry for this. I was lying on a slanted flat boulder, hence the weird angle. Yeah, my shirt is two-toned from sweat. It’s humid in NJ this time of year. And, yeah, that’s the strap from my man purse. I never go anywhere without it.

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Looks like the Sourland ghost from last time has a pal now. “Bye,” says Mr. Yellow Ghost Owl Bat.

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34 responses to “Sourland Mountain Preserve, NJ- PART II

  • ygm17

    LOL reminds me of my experience yesterday! Went out thinking great weather and it turned out to be the hottest day so far. Great pics Eric. Love the Yellow Ghost Owl I think I may have walked past his Canadian cousin…

    • ericjbaker

      Funny thing around here is I see more animals driving than I do hiking in the forest. I’ll see foxes walking down the sidewalk, deer, raccoon, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, etc. In the protected land, I have to take a picture of a leaf and pretend it’s an animal!

  • ioniamartin

    Man purses are totally acceptable. Unless it has Hello Kitty on it. Then you need a fashion consult. Great photos and a fun trip!

  • Jill Weatherholt

    I was hoping for a selfie of you swinging from a vine, Eric. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a carved expression of love defaced like that…it is sad.
    Well…I wouldn’t ever wear sandals around you! Great photos!

    • ericjbaker

      I tried to get a selfie from atop one of those boulders, but I couldn’t get a good angle. I’m not sure the vine could hold the combined weight of me and my man purse. Man purses are heavy with awesomeness and gravitas.

      Either Laura cheated on Jim and Jim defaced it, or a third party was displeased with their profession of love. Or Jim made the whole thing up and Laura tried to set the record straight. Who knew one little tree in the woods had so much soap opera potential?

      Confession: You lost me on the sandal comment.

  • Kevin Brennan

    I love how Jersey folk like to go out and deface nature… You don’t see much tree graffiti in California.

    I see the beard is coming along nicely too! 👏

  • nrhatch

    That “Hey Babe” inspired Lou Reed to sing “Take a walk on the wild side.”

    Great scenery. Great shoes. Glad you enjoyed a mental health day!

  • skywalkerstoryteller

    That’s one of the best selfies I’ve ever seen. Looks like you had a good day of regeneration.

  • Arkenaten

    Nice Walkabout as the Aussies say, including the shot of the Lessor Grey-Bearded Cave Dweller. 😉

  • Uzoma

    Ah! This visit must have been a feast for the eyes, Eric. Your selfie looks nice. Hulk Hogan (love the guy) should see it 😉

  • diannegray

    I love Sketchers as well – so comfy for walking in those wild forests around my farm.
    I don’t mind the odd selfie. The beard suits 😉

    • ericjbaker

      Thanks. Here’s a boring tidbit: I think I look better with a beard, but I used to sleep face down and it would irritate me, so I’s shave it off after a week. For health reasons, I am forced to sleep on my side now. The silver lining is the beard does not irritate me anymore, so I can keep it.

      Now aren’t you glad you stopped by and let me waste 18 seconds of your life for nothing?


  • 1WriteWay

    That’s my kind of hike! The land is so (relatively) flat around here that my calf muscles tend toward atrophy. Great pictures and that selfie of you is a perfectly acceptable selfie 😉 At least you’re not flashing your boobs and/or sticking your tongue out.

    • ericjbaker

      NJ is mostly flat swamp, so I’m lucky to live near a moderately rugged/steep set of trails. The Delaware Water Gap (which in nowhere near Delaware, by the way) is pretty much it for anything you could call a mountain though. I love to swim in the ocean, so I’ll take the trade off (lame mountains but plenty of sandy beaches vs great mountains and no beaches as all).

      I’ll refrain from making a comment about boob flashing, since I already horrified you once this week with selfie talk.


  • Janna G. Noelle

    The fact that you didn’t see any real animals is actually a good indication that you hiking spot is a real wilderness. In real wilderness, animals are naturally shy of humans. And nice selfie – I like how symmetrical your beard’s colouring is. Is that a natural phenomenon? (It’s probably rude to ask that, but I figured such a self-assured dude with a man purse wouldn’t mind.) 🙂

    • ericjbaker

      Good point on the animal sightings. The rake of the mountain could be a factor as well. It’s way too steep for deer or bears up there, and I’m not sure it suits raccoon or other scavenging wildlife.

      Indeed, the beard is weird and in its natural state. The gray parts used to be reddish until about 3 or 4 years ago growing in gray. My co-worker told me I look “very distinguished” the other day. I’m not sure it was a compliment.

  • Richard Leonard

    Nice peaceful place, by the looks. We have smilar sort of rocks in the mountains near us. Never considered their origins so I must research the telltale signs of glacial erosion on rocks. Possible that Aussie mountain rocks could be affected by glaciers because Australia apparently was once connected to Antarctica and is drifting NNE away from the south pole. You now have me intrigued about my own neighbourhood! Good job!

    • ericjbaker

      You might just find out some interesting stuff!

      These glacial deposits are made of enormous boulders lifted up by expanding ice sheets and carried down from Canada. When the ice retreated, the rocks were left behind. We have a fair amount of rock deposits in this geologic neighborhood.

      About 40 miles form here, give or take, are several massive fields of boulders. There seems to be some dispute as to the origin… recent glacial deposits vs. native rocks broken up by glaciers vs. something that formed under the earth and pushed its way up. This site confusingly suggests a mix of all those:

  • livelytwist

    Yay, selfie! 🙂
    Seems like you had a good day out. I’m sorry about Jim and Laura too!

  • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Thanks for the hike in NJ – I have those same Sketchers, and could pretend I got to go on the hike (though I’d pick a less humid day). I live here, too, but until very recently (got new AFOs – braces) walking, much less hiking, was out of the question.

    I’m working my way up to a bit of time and distance, but actually find it easier to walk on a trail than on a sidewalk (short hike) with these things. I haven’t tried the AFOs in the Sketchers yet – next step. Once I can do Veteran’s Park, I’ll try something longer. I’m hoping to hike in the Muir Woods redwoods in Dec.

    Nice pics – DH has beard, too, and I can’t imagine him without it (ok, I can – I saw – and hated – his Army photos).

    • ericjbaker

      I have another pair of sketchers for street walking… wait, that didn’t sound right… My other sketchers are suited for sidewalks, and the ones in the pic are good on trails. I hope yours are normal width. No one likes chimp feet on a person.

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