Morristown National Historical Park: Jockey Hollow


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


The Jockey Hollow unit of Morristown National Historical Park is the site of the Continental Army’s main winter encampment. My first stop was the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center. There, I watched the 15 minute film and arranged for a volunteer to take me inside the Wick House.


The film described what life was like for the common soldier who wintered at Jockey Hollow during the harshest winter of the War, from December 1779 to June 1780. Huddled in log cabins with rags for clothing and little food, the army hunkered down to wait for Spring.


The miserable conditions gave rise to desertions and mutinies, but the death toll was actually small compared to the winter previously spent at Valley Forge. Lessons learned from Valley Forge led to smarter construction and better hygiene designed to prevent the spread of disease.


After watching the film and touring the Wick House, I decided to walk the 2.5 mile park loop road. There are 27 miles of hiking trails in the park, but these were all covered with snow and ice on the day of my visit. There were plenty of pedestrians, dog-walkers and cyclists sharing the road with me.


About halfway around, I came to the Grand Parade. This is now just a field representing the original larger field where soldiers drilled, lined up for inspection and is where an administrative office stood from which court marshals were issued. A few men were hanged and buried here.


Next I came to the site of the Pennsylvania Brigade’s encampment. Here there are reconstructed soldiers huts which are used for historical reenactments in the Spring. The log cabins were small and bunked 12 men.


The officers’ huts were bigger, with two separate rooms that housed two men each. The officers’ huts were built last, after the soldiers’ cabins were completed.


By 1780, the soldiers had constructed 1200 huts in Jockey Hollow.


Morristown Posts:

Location: 586 Tempe Wick Rd, Morristown, NJ 07960

Designation: National Historical Park

Date designated or established: 3/2/1933

Date of my visit: 2/23/2019


Lihue Plantation Hanama‘ulu Ditch


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


When researching our Hawaii trip, the mountain tubing eco-tour with Kauai Backcountry Adventures came highly recommended. The outfitter has leased the lands of the old Lihue Sugar Plantation in order to run tubing expeditions through the irrigation ditches that once carried water from the mountains to the cane fields.


Lihue Plantation was one of the oldest (founded in 1849) and best financed sugar plantations in Hawaii. One pound of sugar requires 500 gallons of water to be produced, so the plantation workers dug the irrigation ditches out by hand, tunneling through rock and mountainsides.

The Hanama‘ulu Ditch, the one used by Kauai Backcountry, was built in 1870. It served as the conduit from Mount Wai’ale’ale (the second wettest spot on the planet), carrying water four miles down the mountains to the fields. The plantation ceased operations in 2000. Today, the ditch system continues to provide water for cattle ranchers.


Steve Case, the founder of America Online, bought the plantation lands in 2001. Kauai Backcountry Adventures has exclusive access to the the irrigation ditches through an agreement with Case, so the only way to see this remote section of Kauai is with them.


Once we were outfitted with hard-hats, lanterns and life vests, we boarded the 4-wheel-drive vehicle for the trek up the mountain. On the way, our tour guides talked about the history of the plantation and provided instructions for the tubing.


Once there, they helped us into the water. In spots, the current was pretty brisk as the channel narrowed and we were whisked through tunnels. In others, it was a fun lazy-river ride through the jungle. At the end of our ride, we were treated to a picnic by the river.


Kauai Posts:

  • Wailua Falls
  • Lihue Plantation Hanama‘ulu Ditch
  • ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls
  • Wailua River State Park
  • Mount Waiʻaleʻale
  • Fuji Beach
  • Moloa’a Beach
  • Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge
  • Kīlauea Lighthouse
  • Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge
  • Wai’oli Hui’ia Church
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Red Dirt Falls
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Waimea Canyon Lookout
  • Waimea Canyon State Park: Waipo’o Falls
  • Kōkeʻe State Park: Kalalau Lookout
  • Kōkeʻe State Park: Pu’u O Kila Lookout
  • Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park
  • Hanapepe Swinging Bridge
  • Spouting Horn
  • Koloa Heritage Trail: Spouting Horn
  • Koloa Heritage Trail: Keoneloa Bay
  • Nā Pali Coast State Wilderness Park

Location: Hanamaulu, Kauai, Hawaii

Designation: Former Sugar Plantation

Date established/designated: circa 1870

Date of my visit: April 18, 2019


Zion National Park: Angel’s Landing


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


So in my previous post on Scout Lookout, we established that there was no way I was climbing the narrow ridge to Angel’s Landing. My husband however, was determined to do it and my teen was on the fence. So we began the two-mile ascent to Scout Lookout at 8 AM.


While this section of the hike has a nice wide path that is paved for a good part of the way, the elevation gain makes it a tough climb. We\ had to take frequent breaks to catch our breath and enjoy the beautiful the view.


By the time we reached Scout Lookout and the base of the Angel’s Landing stretch, it was almost 9:30 AM and it was getting pretty crowded. To get to Angel’s landing, you must climb up a pile of rocks to a narrow ridge. Then, holding onto chains bolted into the rocks, you cross the spine of rock, with sheer cliffs on either side, to the landing on the opposite peak. There are several signs at the base warning people of the hazards.


My husband and teen got in line to ascend to the ridge. My teen quickly turned around and decided to wait at Scout Lookout with me once she’d seen the ridge and realized that everyone had to use the same chain…going up or down.


With so many people on the trail, it was more than a little chaotic and scary. It took my husband over an hour to come back because of having to wait for people to come up before going down. But he made it to the top and snapped a couple of pics along the way.


Location: Springdale, UT

Designation: National Park

Date designated/established: 11/19/1919

Date of my visit: April 11, 2017


NationalParksWithT Store: One Week Left in Two Medicine Campaign



Hello Readers! Thanks so much for your support over the past two years. I’m so glad you have, on occasion, found my posts interesting or useful in planning your own adventures. Our archives have grown considerably…I could have deleted older posts and photos to keep the WordPress hosting free, but then the site would no longer be a comprehensive resource. I was happy to move the site, about a year ago to the business platform with unlimited space, since interacting with all of you has brought me joy.

Unfortunately, my position was eliminated last month, so now I must turn to other means to keep this site running. Rather than bombard you with affiliate links or a Go Fund Me plea, I’ve created a store on Bonfire to afford followers the opportunity to purchase  products using this bnw image of Two Medicine in Glacier National Park while supporting this blog at the same time.

A huge shout out to my sister for being my first customer! Thanks for shopping and happy exploring!



Pearl Harbor National Memorial


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


When I first visited Pearl Harbor in the eighties, it was called the Arizona Memorial. In 2008, President George Bush made it part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument which included sites in California and Alaska as well as Pearl Harbor.


Now it is a separate unit again. Legislation in March 2019 designated it The Pearl Harbor National Memorial. It is run by the National Park Service in cooperation with the US Navy. Since we were visiting only a month after the law passed, they hadn’t yet changed the sign.


The Memorial commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and the United States’ subsequent entry into WWII. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and other areas on Oahu in a two-wave surprise attack. They sank or damaged nearly every vessel in the Harbor, killing over 2400 people.


Though devastating, the attack did not cripple the US fleet as our aircraft carriers (Japan’s intended target) were out at sea. And most of the damaged vessels were raised, repaired and sent back into action. Only the USS Arizona, Utah and Oklahoma could not be recovered.


The Arizona still rests where she fell and serves as a burial ground for the thousand crewmen whose bodies could not be recovered. The US Navy has given the survivors the option to be buried there when they pass to be reunited with their brothers-at-arms.


In 1962, a concrete memorial was erected over the Arizona’s remains so that visitors could pay their respects. The boat ramp to the memorial was damaged last year, closing it to the public. Our Navy-run boat tour took us along Battleship Row near the memorial but did not dock there.


This closure prevented the survivors from coming to Hawaii to observe the anniversary in December 2018. The park hopes to complete repairs in time for the 2019 anniversary. There are only a few survivors left and they are quite elderly.


The USS Missouri is positioned so that it faces the Arizona Memorial. Together, they represent the beginning and the end of the United State’s war with Japan. The Missouri was the site of the Japanese Empire’s surrender.


Do not be discouraged from visiting while the Arizona Memorial is still closed. Visiting Pearl Harbor is a moving experience even without boarding the actual structure over the Arizona. Military personnel are on hand to talk about the events of the day and they, along with the  museum and film presentation, do an excellent job of humanizing the story.


Oahu Posts:


Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Place, Honolulu, HI, 96818

Designation: National Memorial

Date established/designated: March 12, 2019

Date of my visit: April 20, 2019

This Tree of Life design is incorporated into the Arizona Memorial. It is a symbol of renewal meant to evoke contemplation.

Vanderbilt’s Eagle’s Nest NRHP


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


The Vanderbilt family, building on the shipping and railroad business started by Cornelius Vanderbilt, became prominent during the Gilded Age (the period after the Civil War.) William K. Vanderbilt was a great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and he built Eagle’s Nest on the Long Island Sound in 1910 as his summer home.


I’d previously visited the Hyde Park and Biltmore Vanderbilt mansions…those were built by grandsons of Cornelius, uncles to Centerport’s ‘Willie K.’ Some friends and I were looking for a rainy-day activity on Long Island’s North Shore, so we headed to the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium and took the guided tour of Eagle’s Nest.


The summer home began as a 9-room Tudor cottage in 1910. By 1936, Willie K had remodeled and expanded it into a 24-room Spanish-Revival mansion, including a wing dedicated to the memory of his son who was killed in a car accident.


Willie K was a marine biology hobbyist who collected specimens from around the world. He displayed these in a separate building on his 43-acre property. There is also a gallery of his collections on the ground floor of his mansion.


Vanderbilt was outrageously wealthy as evidenced by the eccentricities throughout the mansion. In one wing there is a carved wooden spiral staircase. Vanderbilt saw this in a monastery in Europe and loved it so much that he purchased it, had it shipped to Eagle’s Nest and tasked his architect with making it fit somewhere in the house. It didn’t fit, so the architect had to add another section and a second story to the house to accommodate the staircase.


Vanderbilt left his estate to Suffolk County with an endowment to keep it open to the public as a museum. The county also runs a planetarium in a separate structure to help with funding for the upkeep.


Vanderbilt Posts:


Location: 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, New York

Designation: National Register of Historic Places

Date designated or established: 9/26/1985

Date of my visit: 3/10/2019


Long Pond Ironworks National Historic Landmark District


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


Long Pond Ironworks State Park preserves the historic village of Hewitt, which was a bustling ironworking community in the 1700s.


I was driving by after a hike at nearby Jungle Habitat and noticed that the visitor center was open. I stopped in and chatted with the park ranger for a bit.


This building was once the General Store and also a boarding house for the iron workers. It now houses the museum as well as the visitor center.


The museum depicts life in Hewitt and showcases many iron artifacts from the period. The ranger told me one of the most precious pieces in the collection is the stove, made at Long Pond for George Washington.


At the ranger’s recommendation, I took the self-guided tour of the village. The village map depicts the town as it was back then. Today there are less than a dozen structures still standing.


Because of the water-power of the Wanaque River and the iron ore deposits in the Highlands region, Peter Hasenclever established his Ironworks here.


Hasenclever also built Ringwood Manor which became home to the ironmasters of Long Pond for the next 120 years. You can read my previous posts about Ringwood Manor here and here.


After following the path past historic buildings, some ruins and the river, I arrived at the furnace area. The original furnace is under a tarp and is one of the few colonial-era iron furnaces left.


There are other furnace ruins, built during the Civil War by the Cooper-Hewitt family. These furnaces collapsed in an unusual manner, falling forward instead of into a pile a rubble. The ranger said it could be from people stealing the fireplace bricks (long ago) that formed the arches.


In its heyday, Hewitt housed 500 ironworkers and their families, most of them German immigrants. The town had a church, a school and a post office. By 1882, the forges and furnaces at Long Pond had ceased operations as the industry shifted to coal power.


Location: Greenwood Lake Turnpike, West Milford, NJ

Designation: State Park, National Historic Landmark District

Date designated or established: 1766

Date of my visit: August 24, 2015