New Jersey’s geocaching community, NJPatriots.org (#njpatriots1776), have organized and developed a Geo Trail that takes you on a discovery of American Revolutionary War historical sites. The trail focuses mostly on northern NJ locations, but all locations are related to the Revolutionary War in New Jersey.
The geocaching trail was scheduled to open during 2020, but as with all things planned in 2020, everything was rescheduled or canceled. I decided to try and visit these historic places during the winter of 2021. Hopefully the winter months will keep human interaction to a minimum, and I get to spend most of my time outdoors.
Outdoors, history, AND geocaching? I’m in!
My first exploration took me to Fort Lee, which has a commanding view of the Hudson River. If there is any benefit to visiting this site in winter is that the trees are bare and you can really soak up the views. New York is just across the river with her skyline views, and the river is serene and silvery today. Sadly the museum is closed (grr, Covid!). But on this cold, bright January day, we had the entire park to ourselves. Well… us and two skittish deer who bolted away, their white tails jutting up. 🦌
Fort Lee is positioned on top of a rocky bluff overlooking the Hudson River. It is part of the Palisades Park system, which is stitched tightly to the river’s edge and along the rocky cliffs and jutting bluffs. We were strolling along the edge of New Jersey while looking at the skyline of New York.
We drove along the narrow road that leads down to the (now empty) dock and beach area. Access to the Fort itself was on a different route located at Hudson Terrance and Bruce Reynolds Boulevard. The scenery was serene and peaceful, mostly due to be vacant of human activity. Seagulls floated on the breeze, and the river was a calm silver ribbon. I enjoyed just sitting and soaking up the scenery.
Fort Lee itself has to be accessed from a different route. We left the Pallisades park and found our entrance driveway. For future visitors: if you drive towards the Fort from Bruce Reynolds, you’ll see a sign pointing to the left to indicate access to the park. If you’re like me, it suggested that you must turn left to find the entrance. That arrow is actually pointing to the entrance immediately to the left of the sign. They should have had an up arrow indicating straight ahead! Luckily we didn’t make this mistake but I could imagine this might cause confusion.
It is self evident why this high ground was desired by all parties involved in any conflict. It is a commanding view of the river and surrounding land. The park contains historically relevant structures to show how troops lived and fought in the 18th Century.
I’m absolutely certain this place is quite busy during non-pandemic times, as they have large demonstration areas. I was surprised there were so few statues. I had expected a few memorials on this historical site – but the bluff was bare of such art.
The museum was closed due to Covid restrictions during our visit. So I’ll have to return at another time to explore the museum AND get my ever coveted National Passport stamp.
We spent the rest of the day enjoying all of these historical places by ourselves. The last geocache had a champagne cork that the geocacher left behind to celebrate a new year. Here’s hoping we all enjoy a happier and healthier 2021!
Geocaching Geotrail: #Njpatriots1776