Adventures in Hiking….Cape Fly Away Loop, Alpine, NJ

Last month I decided to venture a bit north and hike in Palisades Park in Alpine, NJ. I did a bit of research ahead of time because previously I had noticed that the road inside Palisades Park past the Englewood Picnic Area and Boat Basin leading to Alpine was closed. It seems that there was a rock slide and that road was still closed as of May 2013. I found this site  which gives directions via the highway to the upper trails and also this site which gives a great description of the Cape Fly Away Loop trail itself.

I easily found the parking lot for the trails but because there is a ton of construction going on at the boat basin due to Hurricane Sandy destruction, I was a bit confused as to where to head for the trails. Nonetheless, I hopped out of the car, grabbed my backpack, put the dogs on 2013-05-16 13.24.36leashes and headed nort2013-05-16 13.25.31h. I passed a boarded up white house which I assumed to be Kearny House even though there were no signs. It has a cute little outhouse. Walking past that house, you can easily see the trail signs. 2013-05-16 10.32.46

2013-05-16 10.59.50I took the upper trail heading north and found that a small bridge was missing and has been replaced by a single wooden plank – oh the adventure! My small Chihuahuas are brats and wouldn’t make the small jump onto the plank so they had to be carried. Other than that, it was no big deal. The trail is well maintained and on a weekday morning had very few other trekkers. Of all the trails in the Palisades that I’ve hiked so far, the upper trail is my favorite – a waterfall, old ruins of a picnic area, planks for bridges and overall beautiful forest and flowers – you really can’t go wrong.

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One jogger on the trail stopped me to remind me to check the dogs for ticks after the hike. I thanked him and kept on my way because on all my hikes, I’ve never encountered a tick. I continued onto the shore trail northbound when it connected to the upper trail. Along this section of trail is when I began to have some fun. Right after I started bitching in my head about a couple that was talking on the trail (because they would scare away the nature), I heard a rustle in the leaves next to me by a tree and out popped the head of a black snake. AAAH! I kept walking and started singing out loud about how I lied and didn’t want to see any snakes!!! Then a lizard popped out! I kept on trekking and kept singing. Soon after, Mimi, my female chihuahua, started to get tired, so I picked her up. It was then that I noticed something on her leg. AAAAH! It was a tick! I called my sister in a panic (like she was going to be able to do anything about it from an hour away!) and started to head back home! Perhaps I am not made for hiking!

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Rocky path on the Shore Trail

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Along the way back, I happily ran into another person with a dog (the fifth and last person I encountered on the hike) and I asked him if he had tweezers to remove a tick. He was an amazing guy and was able to get the tick off Mimi with just his fingers! He even showed it to me to prove he got the head out. It was huge and gross. I headed back along the shore trail which was not a great idea with two dogs. The trail is very rocky and not good for tiny paws. However, I would recommend it if you are wearing proper hiking shoes (which of course I was not) and if you left your dogs at home. Because I was now wary of snakes, lizards and ticks, I did not enjoy the return trip as much as I should have.

Overall, we hiked 5.5 miles which was counted by my Edmondo app. I ended the day by heading straight to the vet, getting the pups lyme disease shots (Mimi’s first, Eli’s annual) and antibiotics for Mimi in case the tick had a disease. At home, I checked them both for more ticks and found one more on Mimi and none on Eli.

2013-05-16 13.28.11Maybe I’ll keep the dogs in the house until November 🙂

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