Join us for the seventeen year anniversery hike of what started it all!
We have this hike every year to mark the anniversary of Metrotrails hike #1. I have copied almost all of the information from last year's Warren Railroad hike with only minor changes. I hope that those who helped to organize the hike last year will be able to help again. I'm sure this year will be even better than the past because we've learned how to deal with not only car shuttles, but ordering food, etc.
On March 23, 1997, Michael Helbing gathered a group of his closest high school buddies to hike the route of the former Warren Railroad.
What began as an informal group of friends evolved to become Metrotrails; a New Jersey Non Profit Corporation dedicated to promoting the trails of the NY/Philly metropolitan area.
Pictured above, the group from Hike #1, 3/23/97
We will be meeting March 22, 2014 at 9 am at the Port Colden Mall in Washington NJ, located at 404 East Washington Avenue near the Motor Vehicle, Chicago Pizza, and Hunon Wok. Park in the front of the lot closest to the highway.
We will shuttle in as few cars as possible to the north. Unfortunately, the route we followed on that first hike has become difficult for large groups, so we have amended the hike and shaved off a few miles to keep it at about 15, but added a few things to the route as well.
This is a great hike for convenience, because we will be passing food and drink pit stops at several points, so little needs to be carried. Additionally, at the end of the hike we will begin the 16th Annual Hikers' Hootenanny in Port Colden. More details on that to follow.
The route includes historic rail era towns with many century plus year old structures, abandoned bridges and two railroad tunnels. Those who do not wish to walk through tunnels have the option of joining a co-leader to pass over the top, an insignificant distance detour.
Those who do wish to take the more difficult route, please be prepared for water just over the knees.
Due to a high participation level always encountered on this terrific hike, I am asking everyone to please be patient as we organize the car shuttle to the north. Everyone will have to wait a bit before we get under way until everyone is at the start of the hike.
Upon arriving at Port Colden Mall, enter the lot and proceed to the left, almost back out to Rt 57. Please use the outside line of parking spaces along and facing Rt 57 so we do not use up all of the space for the local businesses. I will park in a spot a bit closer in the Metrotrails car (Red Stratus with Metrotrails on the side) so to be seen. I may have a card table for registration, but either way, make your way to my car to sign in. After that, we will fill cars and send them on their way to the beginning point. Michele, one of my co leaders will be heading to that point first to help get everyone parked. Let's try to be as prompt as possible to get to the trail head. This is Michele:
FOR THOSE WHO WOULD RATHER DO THE TEN MILE VERSION OF THE HIKE:
Please DO NOT report to Port Colden Mall. Instead, meet Eric Pace at Oxford Central School. From Washington, follow Rt 31 north into Oxford. Just before the traffic light, there is a mini mart called the Busy Bee on the southbound side. Behind the Busy Bee and gas station is Oxford Central School, which has a parking lot across from the main school building. Meet there at 9 am instead. The same deal here; Eric knows the beginning point, and everyone should pile into as few cars as possible to head north. Eric will leave his car in Oxford to work out shuttles later unless he decides otherwise. Eric can be reached at[masked] 3916. He has done this hike at least once a year since 2001 and is very familiar.
This is Eric:
At the main meeting point, we'll continue to fill cars up and send them to the beginning as people arrive. Everyone will get in a circle at the beginning to go over the route and make introductions. We may be out of the hard copies of the Warren Railroad guide written by myself and Metrotrails Vice President Matthew Davis. If so, we'll link here to a guide to the entire route that will will make available on our website.
Other friends who are very familiar with the route may be attending including my brother "Tea Biscuit", who has done the hike more times than anyone other than me, and maybe Fred who has joined it many times as well. If he's there, he'll likely lead the faster group near the front to finish earlier.
When we near Washington, I will be calling Dicola's Pizza ahead of time so they will have extra food ready for us. We can hang out there for a bit, and around 8 pm we will have our annual "Hikers' Hootenanny".
Following the hike, and beginning directly after will be the 17th Annual Hikers' Hootenanny! This will either be held at Washington Theater, Washington NJ near the corner of Rts 57 and 31.
The itinerary for the party is as follows:
Begin: Social time, food. We'll order and bring stuff from Dicola's Pizza. BYOB/wine, etc. Limited concession at theater.
8 pm: Showing of new and old Driving Jersey footage from both my hikes as well as other great NJ areas, and Q&A with Director Steve Rogers. Driving Jersey is a PBS documentary series in which we were profiled.
9 pm: Live music with Jack from Strikesound! Some of his band mates from Not Constantinople may be playing as well. The night will continue with band and DJ entertainment.
A little on the route:
The first mile is walking along Rt 46. The railroad paralleled it closely, but soon moves off into sections of Jenny Jump State Forest and Beaver Brook Wildlife Management Area, both beautiful settings. The route is segmented due to encroaching development, but well worth seeing.
Various other changes to the route will be detailed as the time nears as well.