A very dear friend died two years ago this week, she passed on on July 13, 2020. It was the height of the pandemic and funerals were not happening. Either funeral homes and churches were not conducting them due to the restrictions or people were just too afraid to gather in public for any event. This week her family held a memorial service and gathering in her honor.

Her death was sudden and unexpected. She died at home, but no one was sure why. Of course at that time everyone was suspecting COVID, but she had no symptoms of the virus. She was a very private person who didn't like making a fuss over herself and didn't like doctor visits. It took a couple of months for the autopsy results to come in, and it was not COVID.

It turned out to be a disorder from a condition she was unaware she had. She cared more for the others in her life than she did for herself. She was liked and loved by everyone who knew her. A free spirit who was warm, friendly, funny, down-to-earth and as sociable as anyone you'd ever meet. She had an impact on everyone who was lucky enough to have her in their life. She was one special person and a very proud Jersey Girl.

She was a private person and kept a lot to herself. For that reason, I'll only reveal that her first name was Christi. For those who knew her or knew about her, they'll know exactly who she was.

The purpose of this post is not only to pay tribute to Christi and all of her friends and family who loved her dearly, but to remind everyone to take care of themselves. If you think something doesn't feel right and it goes on for a while, please get it checked out. Not only for you but for all of those around you who love you dearly.

To those who couldn't provide a proper burial or memorial to the loved ones you've lost, know that you're not alone and we feel your loss and pain.

Christi, there were a ton of people there today in your honor who all had great things to say about you that you would not have allowed when you were here. They all had beautiful stories of your great but all too short life, and we all couldn't stop telling each other how much we loved you.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite best friends anytime, anywhere and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

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See the Must-Drive Roads in Every State

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: