Jockey Hollow Trail - Morristown, New Jersey
The 4th of July this week reminded me of a run I did at Jockey Hollow near Morristown, New Jersey. Jockey Hollow was the main winter encampment used by the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Despite having lived in the area for 4 years, I never made it to Jockey Hollow. However, I had a long layover at the Newark International Airport, so decided to check it out. Since the Jockey Hollow Visitor Center is only about a 35 minute drive northwest of the Newark International Airport, it’s possible to have a run there on a long layover if you are efficient with your time.
This run requires that you have a rental car and at least a 5 hour layover and are in town on a weekend or outside of rush-hour as the roads can be very busy. Once you get off the plane, immediately head to the Air Tran to take you to the rental car counters. You can then drive to the visitor center parking lot at Jockey Hollow where you can change into your running clothes at the public restrooms. There is a very runnable forest trail that is a 6 mile (10k) loop through the park. If you have more time, there are some additional trails that you can take to increase the mileage. Surprisingly, the run also includes about 1000 feet (300m) of elevation gain on the rolling hills. Along the run, you’ll pass several areas of historical significance.
One thing that made the run memorable on this weekend is that a Revolutionary War reenactment was going on. As described in this pamphlet, there are groups who reenact the camp from the troops led by General George Washington. Tents were setup, and men and women dressed in period specific clothing giving demonstrations.
After my run, I used the restroom again to change and prep myself for my final flight home. I hadn’t eaten anything good for a while since I’d come off an international flight, so decided to make a quick lunch stop on the way back to the airport. One of my favorite places to eat when I lived and worked in this area is the Chatham Sandwich Shop. Located right on main street, it’s very easy to get to on the way back from the run. My favorite sandwich is any of their “Sloppy Joes”. In Ohio (and everywhere else in the United States), a Sloppy Joe is a combination of ground beef and tomato sauce served on a bun, but at the Chatham Sandwich Shop (and most of Northern New Jersey), it’s a deli meat sandwich loaded with coleslaw. The sandwich is so thick it is hard to take a bite of it. I did the best I could to finish it!
Even though New Jersey is the most densely populated state, it still has many areas you can escape people and enjoy nature. In fact, there are many ultrarunning destination options if you can stay longer. A few examples of some great areas to explore:
The Delaware Water Gap has about 25 miles of the Appalachian Trail through the “endless mountain - the Kittatinny Ridge”.
The 50 mile (80k) long Batona Trail in Southern Jersey. Its name is derived from BAck TO NAture!