This story originally appeared in Autumn Years magazine.
The Wild Turduckens of High Mountain, New Jersey
Forget the Jersey Devil. Ignore the Phantoms of the Ramapos. Pay no never mind to the mythic sea serpent of Lake Hopatcong.
I’m here to tell you about the cleverest creatures ever to roam the Garden State: the legendary Wild Turduckens of High Mountain.
Sure, you may have heard of the traditional Thanksgiving Turducken, a culinary concoction consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck, which is stuffed inside a deboned turkey, all of which is stuffed with stuffing. Think of edible Russian nesting dolls covered in gravy.
The Wild Turducken is a bird of a far different feather, originating many years ago in Passaic County. One night at dusk during the Great Depression, on High Mountain’s summit, game wardens got a fleeting glimpse of these large game birds for the very first time.
Until this discovery, the top of the 885-foot-tall High Mountain was famous mostly for its hiking trails as well as its breath-taking views of the nearby landscape and -- in the distance -- Manhattan, New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.