Posted by: ladybughugs | November 11, 2008

NJ Lighthouse Challenge 2008 (part one)

I can’t put my finger on why I’m drawn to lighthouses. I’m not a big history buff, although the individual stories of bravery and dedication of the early light keepers are remarkable, especially the women and children who tended the lights for their husbands and fathers when they were unable. It could be the setting, they are mostly close to the sea and sand (although there are some exceptions), I love being by the water.

This year J, a friend, and I figured we’d start at the top and work our way down. We decided we’d go until Lil’bug had enough and then we’d turn around and come home. We had a beautiful day for our adventure. The air was crisp and cool. The breeze was a bit strong which forced us to limit our time at the top, but it didn’t dampen our spirits.

In past years we’ve collected trading cards at each stop along the way. This year we collected buttons and at the first stop purchased a lanyard on which we added them stop by stop.

We decided to skip Sandy Hook (we’d both climbed it before) and start at Navesink Twin Lights. Here the volunteers were a little confused, because we hadn’t started at Sandy Hook. I guess everyone starts at Sandy Hook. We climbed both towers and Lil’bug was hooked! She wanted more! (For the record, g.maps thinks this lighthouse is on Light House Road, not Lighthouse Road as indicated on the light’s website. Oh, the difference a little space makes! This made it almost impossible to map.) Of all the lighthouses I’ve visited over the years I’ve never seen any like Twin Lights. While the two brownstone towers are similar, they are not identical. The fortress-type structure linking the two towers together makes this light unique. Also, to aid navigation one light was steady and the other flashed, which made it easier to distinguish it from other lights along the coast. The towers, at a higher elevation than most, are relatively short, which makes it easier when trying to decide whether to climb. Bonus to challenge participants: the south tower was open to the public. Next time I’d like to spend more time taking pictures and checking out the exhibit gallery.

Navesink Twin Lights, North Tower

Navesink Twin Lights, North Tower

Our original plan was to skip Sandy Hook, but then we decided we were so close it didn’t make sense to pass on it. Mistake #1. Sandy Hook Light is owned by the National Park Service and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, which has it’s own set of rules, one of which is that one must be 48″ to climb. Lil’bug is not 48″, not even close. A tremendous hissy fit ensued. I have to say, the volunteers of the NJLHS are an awesome group of people. Even in her meltdown mode they were incredibly sensitive to her and wanted to appease her. They offered and she accepted a ‘munchkin’ and a small plush toy out of a box of many stuffed plush. The volunteers here were also surprised that we had started somewhere else. If I had it to do over I’d visit Sandy Hook Light first, before Lil’bug caught on that the whole point (and the fun) were the steps to climb. If I ever volunteered for the challenge I’d want to be posted at Sandy Hook… (it seems) they bring in the best snacks! I’ve only been to Sandy Hook at the beginning of the first day or the end of the second day… at both times the line to climb the tower is very long. I’m sure the line wouldn’t be as long later in the day on Saturday or on Sunday morning.

Lilbug at Sandy Hook Light

Lilbug at Sandy Hook Light

Side note: the plush toy she chose was a wizard in a purple robe and hat. It has white ‘hair’ and whiskers and she decided it was Santa. All day we’d refer to it as the wizard and she’d call it Santa. By the end of the day we’d decided it’s Santa in his Halloween costume. So this year Santa will be a wizard for Halloween, just in case you were wondering. You can ask Lil’bug.

Side note #2: Lil’bug has been to the top of Sandy Hook light. I was three weeks pregnant with her in 2005 when we visited with the cub scouts on a camping trip to Gateway National Park. I thought we’d die of the cold that night.

Next stop Sea Girt (to be continued…)

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Responses

  1. Looks like amazing weather ushered in the lighthouse challenge. Awesome!

  2. I love your post and will have to look for future installments!
    This was my first go at the Lighthouse Challenge and I too had a great time. If you are interested you can read my post on it on my my blog here. I did the whole 13 stops and climbed them all except Barnegat, that was closed for climbing because of extremely high winds at the time I was there. I do a rightup on about a lighthouse a month and there are several on the blog too. I have covered Cape May, Sandy Hook and East Point so far…I love East point.

    I agree Navesink is a bit of a challenge to find, but very cool, yes…a hint if you have GPS…on one site online you can find the longitude and latitude for each. Plug that in and it will take you right to the door…lol

  3. btw…I love that Posin on the Beach picture. Soooo cute.


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