Next Monday, October 11, you’ll have a chance to experience Essex County in a way that most people haven’t for a hundred years: Walking, from Millburn to Newark.
FreeWalkers, a social networking group for long-distance walkers, has organized Lenape34, a 34-mile hike along the Lenape Trail, which connects Essex County and municipal parks, museums and neighborhoods. A part of the trail winds through Verona, through Verona Park and over the old railroad bed that is a key training area for Verona’s cross-country team.
The walk will begin in Millburn at 7 a.m. and finish at Newark Penn Station at 7 p.m. There will be scheduled stops along the way. The event has been planned so walkers can use mass transportation, particularly NJ Transit, to get to it and back. And note: While bikers are usually more than welcome on most of the Lenape Trail, there may be a crowd of walkers out on Monday.
The walk is just part of the attention that the Lenape Trail is getting. On Friday, October 1, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced a partnership with the New York New Jersey Trail Conference that will begin by installing new trail markers and repainting blazes along the trail, which is actually 40 miles end to end. It was created in 1979 by West Orange resident Al Kent, who has done the bulk of the maintenance on the trail over the years. The long-term plan is to connect the trail to eight new Essex County parks, the Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Park and Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Montclair; Booth Park and Yantecaw Park in Nutley; Prospect Park in Livingston; Riverfront Park in Newark; and both South Mountain Reservation and Verona’s Hilltop Reservation.
(Home page photo of the Washington Lookout in South Mountain Reservation courtesy Paul Kiczek, Lenape34.)