I left before any of the other guys I camped with, hoping to make it into Branchville and get Copper back from Bob. It got muggy and hot really quickly, and the trail mostly went along the top of a ridge, exposed, treeless, continuous views, much like it had through most of Pennsylvania. In fact, it was the same ridge. Somehow, despite the scorching sun, I managed to avoid getting sunburnt. It was a very busy day on the trail, and most of the folk on it were day hikers and short sectioners. Not much happened. I passed Crater Lake, strongly tempted to jump in, but more eager to get my dog back, and climbed straight up a rock wall to the cliff that ran along the lake. I stopped on a rock to eat some bagels while listening to my audiobook, and somehow a snapping, flomping sound caught my attention even through the headphones. I turned to spot a young black bear galloping speedily down the hill through the underbrush. Everyone said I’d see bear in New Jersey, but this one that I could barely make out as it fled was the only one.
New Jersey: The Swamp State