AT (The New Era) Journey Across 2016 – 2021 Week 18

Much Needed Rest

We took off 4 and a half days from the trail in Delaware Water Gap. This was to try and recuperate mentally and physically from the brutal intensity of the weather, rocky terrain and nature.

Our son (previous completed a thru hike in 2016) suggested when the “what am I doing out here?” question comes up, you do normal, before the hike stuff like go see a movie, rest and eat ice cream. We went to see a movie, got some beers and ate alot of food. After planning on starting again on 5 July 2021, we should have been fully ready and de-stressed. Something changed alot by this point.

Trying to sleep on 4 July wasn’t a brilliant idea and didn’t go too well due to the lengthy booms, pops and light shows outside. I was experiencing pain along the entire length of the top of my foot. She was experiencing hip, foot and some chest pains. Stay or leave was a daily question at this point.

Starting Fresh

After much nervous energy, it seemed everything was good to go once more. We walked about a mile to the trail start point and continued on. It was a muggy, hot morning already. It was supposed to get warmer as the day went on.

.6 miles in, the PA/NJ line came into view. Maybe a new state is all the focus we needed. We were both super excited about being in New Jersey. This was supposed to be easier than PA. The initial journey just after mirroring the highway for a few miles led into the forest.

This was a popular hiking area which seemed great, at first. The ascent was mild and only a few rocks to walk around and not on top of. This part followed a flowing stream for a few miles until it began to get incredibly rocky again. After 4.8 miles the backpackers campground was reached.

This had places to camp in grass, a privy and a few places to relax amongst the large rocks. After spending 30 minutes here, we moved on. The trail was fine so far. After 30 minutes, we met a 2018 thru hiker named Tree Walker. He mentioned the rocks never stop until southern Maine. Now to skirt the large pond.

Sunfish Pond

This was a great change of scenery to what we were used to. A large lake with at least 8 or more spots to get near the water were present. The trail, however was a large bouldery surprise. It resembled a recent rocky slide due to an earthquake. Every part was barely shoulder width foliage, large boulders and snake like windy path.

This wasn’t too different from the normal path. The ascents and descents were minimal. After the pond, the ridge walking became very painful. It was scattered with sharp all different angled rocks once more. Sigh. A break area was needed.

A few miles was hiked until an opening with some camping nearby came into sight. We spent 45 minutes here and looked at each other with deep long thoughts. I said, “how do you feel at this point?” She said, “I am not sure, but this is no longer fun and everything hurts daily.” I said, “I felt the exact same and would stay with her as long as she wanted to continue.” “I was also mentally broke about 2 weeks prior.”

At this point, it was decided we needed to hike to the nearest exit strategy point. The outdoor center was only a few miles off.

The Mohican Outdoor Center

After fumbling clumsily over miles of rocky ridge lines, it felt as though 15 miles had been done. It had only been 8.5 miles. It wasn’t terribly hot, what was going on? After completing the final miles, the center came into view.

You could order food, rent river travel items, camp and lots more. It seemed like a great place, but it was time to surrender. We went inside and called 8 numbers for a shuttle back to the days almost starting point, to no avail.

Later on, we secured a ride to a nearby small town. After drinking a beer each, a Uber type ride was found and drove us back to East Stroudsburg to the hotel. Her sister was going to drive to get us in a day and a half.

After thoughts

85% happy

15% sad (state of mind if heavily important)

100 plus amazingly cool, relaxed people that we shared our journey with

1 completely large toe, darkened nail, other 1 is half darkened. (Didn’t cut nails soon enough ar the start and boots were too tight)

5 – 10 times walking in light rain

2 times walking in heavy rains

2016 hiked 730.7 miles in this year

2021 hiked 503.4 miles in this year

90% feeling of completion

Total 1200 plus miles hiked total on the AT.

27 pounds lost for me, 20 pounds for her.


Doctors checked her out and all is fine, but both of us are just a bit worse for wear. It might be a month to become normal again, but not too far off.

Thank you to all of you who followed our ups and not so good days of our journey. It was an amazing time while it lasted. It goes alot faster than you think. Enjoy every moment. Happy trails and enjoy your hikes!!!

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Comments 6

  • Kelli Ramey : Jul 14th

    I’d call it a journey well done.
    You did it. You hiked.
    Good job.
    We will all miss your posts and the serpent update.
    Goddess speed to you both.

    • Chad Thome : Jul 14th

      The journey was alot tougher than expected. We ran across an unusual amount of snakes and forest animals.

      We expect in a few years to finish up, but only life knows that answer.

      Thank you and take care

  • lindm0120 : Jul 14th

    I think you both did a fantastic job! You two hiked more miles than a lot of other people have (including me). You wanted to hike the AT and did hike but knew when to call it quits instead of jeopardizing your physical and mental health. Be proud of yourselves.

    • Chad Thome : Jul 14th

      We deeply appreciate that. It did end up being more brutal than we thought.

      We met lots of people from all over the US and overseas. There was so much breath taking scenery in nature, it was tough to stop.

  • lindm0120 : Aug 5th

    I enjoyed reading your posts and you will be missed. But it is more important for you two to take care of any mental and physical health issues by knowing when to call it quits. You two have done more than most people and certainly more than me. I always told my kids even if they didn’t come in first place or finish something as long as they know they did to the best of their ability and gave it 100%, then they were still winners. And that is what you two are – winners! Good luck to any future endeavors. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chad Thome : Aug 8th

      While the trail did beat us up, we were most thankful to have met so many not stressed super happy hikers and people from all across the east coast.

      The experience, now our second one is something that will never be fogotten. It is something that everyone should experience in any lengtb of a hike.


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