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.
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.
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.
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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