By Georgette Weir, Communications Manager
On Saturday, July 20, Mellonie Sanborn of Morris Plains, NJ, plans to put her feet to 22 miles of ground for the benefit of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.
Ms. Sanborn, a self-described “mature woman” who works weekdays as an executive administrator with Black Rock investment company in Manhattan and enjoys hiking on weekends, plans to do a 22-mile trail walk that will start at the Darlington Schoolhouse trailhead in Mahwah, NJ—site of the Trail Conference’s future headquarters—and end at the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Visitor Center at Sterling Forest State Park in New York.
Mellonie’s goal is to draw attention to the Schoolhouse’s location as a trailhead that connects communities to an extensive trail network in two states.
“I asked Don Weise [Trail Conference Development Director and founder-leader of the Wild Wyanokie Wanderers and West Milford 13ers hiking groups] what I could do to support the Darlington Schoolhouse project,” Mellonie says. (She is a member of WWW and of the Trail Conference.) “I enjoy long-distance hikes, and this hike will link two beautiful facilities. It will be an homage to both, as well as to the late Senator Lautenberg, who did so much to protect our environment.”
Mellonie has been hiking regularly since about 2001, and did her first long-distance hike in 2007—completing the 24-mile Suffern-Bear Mountain Trail at Harriman State Park in a day. “I hiked with two fellows and at the end of the day I was the one still standing,” she laughs.
Mellonie has completed the Catskill 3500 peaks, both summer and winter, and has bagged “most of the New Englands” (peaks over 4,000 feet). “When I have a play day,” she says, “I like to make the most of it.” She keeps fit for the weekends with a daily walk of five hilly miles after work.
On July 20, Mellonie plans to start from the Darlington Schoolhouse on Route 202 at 7:30 a.m. She will be accompanied by two or three other hikers who plan to go the full distance; others will join for shorter stints along the way. Some will assist by providing water at intervals. She expects to arrive at the Lautenberg Visitor Center at Sterling Forest about 10 hours later.
Show your support for Mellonie and the Trail Conference’s new headquarters
You can honor Mellonie’s walk for the Darlington Schoolhouse with a donation to the building fund. To ensure that your gift is acknowledged as a tribute to Mellonie, put “Go Mellonie!” in the Special Instructions box.
Mellonie’s 22-mile Trail Route
- Follow the woods path from Darlington Schoolhouse to the Ramapo Valley County Reservation
- Take the Silver Trail to the Halifax Trail and Ringwood State Park
- Take the White Crossover Trail to Ringwood Manor. Near the house, find the Yellow Hasenclever Iron Trail
- Turn southwestward on the Hasenclever Iron Trail to the Highlands Trail
- HT north over Big Beech Mtn, into NY State and past Sterling Fire Tower
- Right on (orange) Bare Rock Trail to eastern terminus
- Right on (blue) Sterling Lake Loop to Lautenberg Visitor Center, where hike ends