North Jersey’s Secret Campground

We went deeper and deeper into the forest. Tents and shelters disappeared, replaced by foxes, deer, and silence.

We pulled up to a small clearing, scarcely another human in sight.


Get the blog before anyone else…subscribe!


The road to Steam Mill

This is Steam Mill Campground in Stokes State Forest. The 16,000 acre park in northern New Jersey is popular with campers, but today we were off the beaten path.

This beautiful spot is less visited than other camping spots in Stokes. The sounds of music and conversation were replaced with bird calls.

Deer near Lake Ocquittunk

Dinner was an incredible coq au vin courtesy of our friend Jim*. A lengthy reduction of the broth left it redolent of bacon and wine.

We weren’t the only ones who loved the smell. As darkness fell, an adorable baby raccoon wandered onto our campsite!

Our friend Roscoe

He was so tame, he rubbed against my leg like a cat. My friend Tim* named him Roscoe.

As he ambled back into the forest, we heard his mother scold him with a loud shriek. I guess little raccoons can be as naughty as little humans.

Our days were for exploring.

Tillman Ravine

We hiked Tillman Ravine, a steep and dramatic landscape of rock and evergreen. It reminded me of the hills and pine forests of the Pacific Northwest.

After a short hike, our friend Victor* casually mentioned “I think the car is this way.” Some campers prefer the hot dogs to the hiking. 🙂

Towering evergreens at Tillman Ravine

Eager to go further, I took a long stroll down an abandoned fire road. The isolation and quiet does wonders for the mind.

But I wasn’t entirely alone. A huge barred owl glided across the path and landed in a tree, looking down at me.

Look closely…

In all our lives, what were the odds that we’d ever see each other? But I’m glad we did!

That night, unexpectedly heavy rain came down. I suffered a catastrophic tent failure and ran to the car.

Settling into the dry seat, I was so grateful for civilization. Sometimes you need to rough it just a bit to feel that gratitude.

Despite its remote location, Steam Mill is quite livable.

There’s delicious spring water on tap a short walk away. Many sites have platforms for tents and there’s even a bathroom…sort of.

The toilet seat is like the one you have at home, but it sits above a deep pit. 😨 It may not be the Four Seasons, but it’s serviceable.

Flush toilets and showers are a couple of miles away at the Lake Ocquittunk camping area, among others.

If you yearn for quiet and wildlife, Steam Mill is for you. It’s a bit less comfy, but the tranquil beauty makes it more than worthwhile.

Hope to see you there!

What are you favorite natural spots? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on the outdoors:

A Hidden Castle…In New Jersey?

The Real Groundhogs of New Jersey

Pine Barrens Glamping in Brendan Byrne State Forest

Get the blog before anyone else…subscribe!

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

*Not their real names.

AMC’s 9 Million Missing Shares

Trading in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. just gets stranger and stranger.

A new report from the SEC shows fails to deliver dropped to 205,675 shares in the first half of July, the latest reporting period. This is down from a high of nearly 9.7 million just two weeks ago.


Get the blog before anyone else…subscribe!


So, were exchanges busy little bees cleaning up over 9 million shares worth of failed trades?

Maybe. Or maybe those shares went somewhere else…

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) settles most US securities transactions. It has an “obligation warehouse” where it puts failed trades.

Once those failed trades go to the obligation warehouse, they basically cease to exist.

We don’t know for sure if that’s what happened with these 9 million shares because the SEC and DTCC won’t tell us. But given the complexity of settling that many failed trades, I’m willing to bet the DTCC just wiped the slate clean.

So why does this matter?

Allowing huge numbers of trades to fail enables naked short selling. Naked short selling is selling short shares without borrowing them first.

It’s a powerful way to push down a stock’s price. After all, if you don’t have to find shares to borrow, you can short as many shares as you want!

No wonder Compliance Week calls it “one massive embezzlement scheme that for years has mostly gone ignored.”

Why would the DTCC do this? Perhaps because of how it’s funded.

The DTCC makes money by clearing trades and is owned by its users.

Hedge funds are some of its heaviest users.

No wonder the DTCC just sweeps trades under the rug instead of investigating what happened.

The SEC should investigate the pattern of massive fails to deliver in stocks like AMC. And the DTCC must ensure trades are actually completed.

Until then, we’ll continue to see these shenanigans in markets.

What do you think happened to these 9 million shares? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

AMC Fails to Deliver Hit 9.7 Million

How DTCC Makes Fails to Deliver Disappear

Wall Street Banks Turn on Each Other as Federal Probe Looms

Get the blog before anyone else…subscribe!

If you found this post interesting, please share it on Twitter/Reddit/etc. This helps more people find the blog! 

Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order.