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Edgewater Hiker Treks Over 100 Miles Of Jersey Wilderness

Hiking Enthusiast David Blanke with fellow hikers Shirley Kim, Jesse Mouallek and Michael Vaccarino on one of his bouts across the Highlands Trail.
Hiking Enthusiast David Blanke with fellow hikers Shirley Kim, Jesse Mouallek and Michael Vaccarino on one of his bouts across the Highlands Trail. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of David Blanke
Many of the trails provide scenic overlooks of the New Jersey landscape.
Many of the trails provide scenic overlooks of the New Jersey landscape. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of David Blanke
Blanke said the Highlands Trail has a good mix of terrain from high mountains to valley rivers.
Blanke said the Highlands Trail has a good mix of terrain from high mountains to valley rivers. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of David Blanke
Blanke described himself as someone who "grew up in an apartment," and was surprised at the amount of quality hiking available in close proximity to Bergen County.
Blanke described himself as someone who "grew up in an apartment," and was surprised at the amount of quality hiking available in close proximity to Bergen County. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of David Blanke
Blanke committed to consistent hiking, even when it's snowing.
Blanke committed to consistent hiking, even when it's snowing. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of David Blanke

EDGEWATER, N.J. — Before becoming a nature enthusiast, David Blanke described himself as a guy who "grew up in an apartment" in Fort Lee and Edgewater.

Now he's committed to hiking 106 miles of New Jersey's Highlands Trail.

Blanke always had an interest in hiking but felt intimidated by all the things that might go wrong.

"I had to do so much research just to get comfortable going out there. What if something goes wrong? What if I get hurt? What if I get lost? What if I encounter a bear, or a tick or a snake?" Blanke said.

He felt more confident after doing some research but felt the process should be streamlined for people who have an interest in hiking but don't know where to start.

Blanke now chronicles his adventures traveling the Highlands Trail on his website . He split the journey into 21 parts, with a blog post dedicated to each one.

He plans to condense the necessary information into an easy to follow guide once he completes the trail.

For beginners, he recommends the Saffin Pond portion of the trail.

Blanke took initiative to map out the Highlands Trail, an effort that required piecing together various maps from different sources such as the Mahwah-based New York-New Jersey Trail Conference. He created one hugely encompassing guide.

He's nearly finished with his task, having completed 16 of the 21 trails.

Blanke hopes his travels and writings will inspire others to take an interest in hiking but he also invites others to join him on the remaining adventures. he can be contacted through his website .

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