In the Pine Barrens of NJ, at the highest elevation point of 205 feet sits a fire tower. This place is known as Apple Pie Hill, and it is easily one of my favorite places in the world. On any stressful day all I have to do is think about this place and it makes me smile.
Who doesn't love climbing a rickety fire tower for views like this:
I've sat atop this tower to star gaze the Perseids in the summer in the middle of an August night, and on clear, brisk days in the winter, the cold wind whipping around my face, stinging my cheeks and making them pinker than usual. I've brought friends up here just to watch their faces light up when you get about half way up the steps and you break past the line of pines. On a clear day you can see all the way to Philadelphia in the West, the familiar skyline dotted on the horizon, and out to Atlantic City with it's towering casinos to the East.
It's always an incredible feeling; looking out into the distance and seeing these huge, hulking buildings look like ant dwellings, and thinking about the fact that at the same moment, there are literally thousands of people in those same buildings, living their lives. Winning money, or losing it. Eating dinner with loved ones. Doing their jobs. And there you are, so far away, yet able to see it all.
There's graffiti with empowering messages, and not-so-nice-messages alike spray painted and Sharpied onto every inch of space people can find, and it's ever changing. I'm not sure I've ever seen the same graffiti more than once up there.
You have people who come just for the views. And the people who come for the thrill of throwing a watermelon or a TV from the top, just to see what will happen when it finally hits the ground.
And you'll find the people who clean up those people's messes. But I've never had a bad experience coming here. And it will forever be one of my favorite places, no just in the Pine Barrens, but in the world.