Mike Helbing was one of the first subjects we encountered on our drives around Jersey. He said he considered himself more "Jersey" than anyone else he knew.

For over a decade Helbing has been leading a weekly weekend (Saturday or Sunday) hike of 15 to 20 miles around the state. He welcomes all hikers. Participants come from as far south as Delaware and far north as Vermont. The day we caught up with Helbing, there were some 25 others along for the adventure. And he gets paid nothing for this. He works all week and then coordinates and leads an interesting, informative, entertaining and often enlightening foot journey around the Garden State...for fun. He has tramped through all regions, counties, woods, beaches, cities and towns of the state, leading forest hikes, urban hikes and shore hikes.

Driving Jersey: Mike Helbing: Port Colden, NJ

But it wasn't just the miles he's wandered or his knowledge of the Garden State that interested us about Mike Helbing. It was also his unique nature, call it eccentricity or originality, whatever it is, Helbing has a wonderfully refreshing view of life and the world around him. He has gone hiking with a group dressed all in Shop Rite uniforms. Asking everyone they met along the way if they knew where the Shop Rite Orientation Meeting was being held. He encourages spontaneity of all sorts on his hikes. He is willing to stop the hike for any possible indulgence or observation. We paused in our trek to buy chocolate milk at a roadside shop. We stopped for a hilarious foot race up a shale hill. We ate lunch alongside a river and watched Helbing walk out and stand in the middle with the water rushing around him and his arms out-stretched. Mike Helbing is addicted to the finest thing in life, life itself, experience. He is an unabashed junkie for the stuff and an advocate to all, to enjoy ALL life offers.

Finally, he is also an unapologetic singer of all sorts of music. On our hike, at full voice, we were serenaded with a soundtrack that included "Besame Mucho," "We're Not Alone" by Rita Coolidge, "Wanderlust" by Paul McCartney and "You've Lost that Loving Feeling."

Enjoy our vision of Mike Helbing and then join his hike for your own experience...your spirit will be glad you did.

You can connect with Mike Helbing through his website: www.sneezehorse.com.

Music for “Driving Jersey - Mike Helbing” was written and produced by Ryan Bott.