2021 Lighthouse Challenge: Sandy Hook Light

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

2021 Lighthouse Challenge

Sandy Hook was the grand finale for us during the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey. Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the challenge in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was mostly virtual. In 2021, it was back on. My friend and I decided to spend the full weekend, stopping at every site on the list and collecting the souvenir piece. In previous years, I’d only finished sections of the course.

Patty and I had lived through some tough times in 2021 and were ready for the brief respite afforded by Lighthouse Challenge weekend. I would also be reporting on our odyssey for my week-long takeover of the Jersey Collective. We finished up at Navesink with an hour left to go in the challenge weekend. We raced across the bridge to Gateway National Recreation Area and drove through the park to our final destination: Sandy Hook Light. The park rangers gave a cheer for each of us as they processed our challenge completion.

We were elated. We did it! In two days we’d visited 14 sites across the state and collected the pieces to complete our souvenir posters. Along the way, Patty and I enjoyed some good conversation, food, edutainment and the healing power of the sea.

Sandy Hook lighthouse is the oldest, still-active beacon in the country. Built in 1764, it was only 500 feet from the shoreline. After over 250 years worth of sand deposited by the currents, the lighthouse now sits a mile and a half from the tip of the peninsula. Due to federal covid rules, we couldn’t go inside the keeper’s quarters or light house. Instead, we walked around historic Fort Hancock until the sun began to fade.

Lighthouse Challenge posts

Location: 128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732
Designation: National Recreation Area
Date designated/established: October 27, 1972
Date of my visit: October 17, 2021