In search of Tripod Rock…and some good pizza

It was supposed to be a “nice” day so we decided to get in our first “hike and slice” of the new year. But what is nice in January? The weather report indicated it would be 50 degrees. That is perfect hiking weather. Cool, but not cold.

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We wanted to see something called “Tripod Rock” so we ventured up to the Pyramid Mountain Historic Area in Kinnelon near Boonton. Boonton, itself, is pretty high up in elevation, and it is pretty well north in New Jersey. So the 50-degree temps we expected, didn’t exactly pan out. Instead, it was overcast and rather nippy.

When researching the trail online, every indication was that it was a 3.6 mile loop, and that the Tripod Rock was on the blue trail. Every indication was also that it was an easy to moderate trail. We didn’t end up completing 3.6 miles (not intentionally) and we also found three sections of the trail to have a degree of difficulty that was underestimated by whomever pitched in with the evaluation.

Our intent was to see the Tripod Rock, an approximately 127 ton boulder sitting neatly atop three smaller rocks, somehow balanced perfectly, created by the glacial movements thousands of years ago. A sight to see, I’m sure. Because…we missed it.

How do you miss a rock THAT big? I’ll tell you. Because we got sloppy.

Normally we carefully research everything we are about to do. This time, though, we were winging it. And while it is great to wing it with a lot of things, sometimes you can put yourself in sticky situations when not properly prepared.

We knew we had to be on the blue trail. And, unlike most trails in New Jersey, these trails were clearly marked. And there were signs marking some directions of some photo spots along the way. Except…except for the fork in the road, the fork in the trail, when we need to veer off to the left. Now…we did not go off course from the blue trail. But…at that fork…we had to. And we didn’t.

Melissa walking along the blue trail searching for the good ‘ole Tripod Rock

There was a tree marked with three blue dots, indicating that there was, in fact, another part of that trail. And it connected with a part of the orange trail. We didn’t know that. But we COULD HAVE if we had done what we normally do – check the sign at the trailhead. Because although nothing indicated a change in trails online, it certainly did on the map at the trailhead.

It was my fault. And I was kicking myself. Because we trudged through some very tough terrain and had to climb up, and down, some rugged rocky areas, both us having to slide down on our asses because it was impossible to get any substantial footing on steep inclines and declines. This is where having some hiking poles (I left mine behind) would have come in handy.

The rocky trail on Pyramid Mountain.

Most of the trail was a nice venture through nature and rock formations. It was disconcerting to see the mountainous high tension wire towers rather than just the mountainous mountains we saw in Wyoming and Arizona. Alas, this IS New Jersey. Venturing up to the outlook you could see the New York City skyline…behind the vista of another high tension wire tower. Fabulous view! You could almost feel the radiation emanating down onto the rock ledge we were standing on.

Alan admiring the skyline.

We completed the “loop” of the blue trail and got in 2.5 miles. Had we not made that error at the fork, we would have been at the 3.6/3.75 mile mark and we would have seen that rock…and would have a picture to post. But we didn’t…and we don’t. Lesson learned.

First thought was to go to Reservoir Tavern…it’s been on our radar for what seems like forever. But we forgot that it is closed on Sundays and Mondays. So we began searching and came up with a place about 20 minutes away – Wood Stack Pizza on Route 46 in Pine Brook, on the border of Fairfield. They have another location in Metuchen. The idea is to go local to the hike, but this was the closest we could get.

Wood Stack Pizza is not your typical “bar serving pizza” establishment. They have a variety of specialty pizzas for the choosing. Although they are not personal size pizzas, we decided to get our own. I ordered the Marinara pie which has kalamata olives, garlic, basil, tomato sauce, oregano, evoo, and I asked for caramelized eggplant to be added. Melissa had the Prosciutto pie with prosciutto di i parma, arugula, roasted tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella, parmigiano reggiano, evoo.

We ordered two New Jersey local beers, Kane Head High from Ocean and Vine Shine, very local from Fairfield next door. There really wasn’t much of a selection anyway. The beers were both light and tasted pretty good. We had the Kane previously, but it was the first taste we had of the real local stuff. But it’s really about the pizza.

The idea, like I said, is to visit an establishment close to the hike, a place that is, actually, known for its pizza. And while we always love stumbling upon a small, mostly unknown, local place, this wasn’t it. Wood Stack Pizza is like any other “multi-location” entity…like a chain. That’s the feeling There was nothing old and warm about it. Nothing iconic about it. It would have felt more comforting to get one of those 99 cent slices on the streets of Manhattan.

Marinara pie
Prosciutto pie

Melissa said that her pizza wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. It was just blah. I was excited about having a pie without cheese…because that was the draw. But the Kalamata olives were so strong that they actually destroyed the taste of the pie…totally ruined it. And it was expensive. We’re definitely going back for another go at that rock, but the pizza? Perhaps we try for the rock on a Saturday when Reservoir Tavern is open.

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