Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hunting the Woo Woo

In June, a group of us decided to head out on a cryptid expedition.  That is, we were looking for a creature known as the WooWoo (AKA the Bighoot). 
I know, some of you are probably scratching your head wondering what in the world this has to do with hiking or backpacking.  If you remember, I've been working on a book of paranormal stories along the Appalachian Trail for a couple of years 3 years long ass time.  The WooWoo is a creature that has been described as a giant owl that lives in the Delaware Water Gap area of the AT.  It's said you can hear it's cries at night, and naturalists have been unable to identify the type of bird making the sound.  So we booked a campsite at Worthington State Park in New Jersey as base camp and headed out into the woods. 
The Delaware Water Gap is actually an active paranormal spot for the most part.  There is the WooWoo, the Messing-W which is a Bigfoot type creature know to the Native tribes of the area (and also thought to possess supernatural powers), Old Red Eyes another Bigfoot type creature and the ghost of an old witch.  I was pretty excited about going on this trip to see what I could find for the book and get some photos.  Unfortunately, I was still wearing a boot because of my broken foot.  No one wanted to head out on the AT without me, so we didn't get to do much in the way of WooWoo hunting.
I did hike a short distance into the woods near our camp.  How did I do this on a broken foot you ask? Well the orthopedic said to "make sure you wear your boot".  So I did.  I wore my hiking boot. It is a boot and it is mine. I didn't make it far before I opted to head back. 

While we didn't spot any WooWoos or Bigfoot creatures or ghosts, we did spot about 30 Red Efts (newts) and a few small toads.  And there were a couple of waterfalls on the short hike.  And I will say, listening to my three year old grandson tell another little boy at camp about WooWoos and the ghost witch on the mountain that they have to stone to kill (I swear that's not what I told him) was pretty amusing. 
We did actually have one strange occurrence with an odd light on the very top of the mountain.  Was it a house, a hiker with a large light, the ghost witch?  Who knows.

Worthington State Park is on the list of places to definitely return to.  I want to be able to hike the AT in the area and spend more time checking out the other larger waterfalls in the area. 

Red light in the woods

Kittatinny Ridge home of the Ghost Witch

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trail Magic Year 2

Last year, my mom, husband and son decided to try out offering some Trail Magic to thru hikers at Pen Mar Park near the MD/PA line.  It was a success and extremely rewarding, so we made sure we planned it again this year.  
Our Trail Magic was planned for June 10th.  It coincided with my unfortunate circumstances.  I managed to fracture my foot by stubbing my toe, and I was on crutches.  It didn't stop me from "hiking" along the trail a bit and taking advantage of being able to get an awesome photo op.  Now my Trail Name "Badass" isn't just because I have one, 
in this photo I look like one hiking on crutches.

When we do Trail Magic, we go all out.
It isn't just a few sodas and snacks, 
we transport our gas grill to Pen Mar Park and grill up burgers and dogs.
There's cheese, sliced tomatoes, onions, 
potato salad, macaroni salad, chips,
fresh fruit, candy, sodas, water, lemonade,
and homemade cookies.
The one thing we were told over and over was that each hiker was afraid to get excited about the Trail Magic signs, because in their experience, the signs could actually be old ones.
They had run into that often.
So keep that in mind if you're doing your own magic,
make sure you take down the signs when the magic is gone!
We served over 20 hikers and 2 dogs.
Gino here was owned by thru hiker Cookie Monster,
who did, in fact, eat the rest of our cookies.
This little Chi-Weenie had a trail name- Drumstick- because of her
very meaty back legs.
Thru Hikers think about food a lot.
It was a great day, and we met a lot of great hikers.
I heard later that we had the most significant amount of Trail Magic.
We've made a few notes for next year
like being there an hour earlier to accommodate the early risers
and have coffee and donuts.
We'll also bring some dog treats and a bowl for water
just in case we get some more 4 legged hikers.
Trail Magic continues to be one of my favorite things to do.
Never have I done anything else that has been so greatly appreciated.