Day 103 – Vortex Is As Vortex Does

I eased from sleep in a perfectly chilled motel room. The A/C was humming softly as it kept the room an ambient 68 degrees. I was cocooned up in a mess of blankets and was in no hurry as I emerged. A butterfly, limping to life, exploring and stretching my sore wings. Once up, I sipped the sweet nectar of Fanta orange soda and leftover pizza.

A zero was the plan for the day. I went to the motel gym and got a prison workout in with Hector. All upper body resistance work with dumbbells. Leg day is every day out here, so trying to maintain some semblance of balance is important.

I requested a late check out from the front desk and they obliged. After more food and drying out wet socks with the hairdryer (Clarion Room #136 in Delaware Water Gap, PA, if you have the misfortune of staying there) we were off. Rabbit and I explored the town en route to the Church of the Mountain Hostel.

Along the way we stopped for ice cream floats at Village Farmer and Bakery. We chatted with an older couple who offered to host us at their lake house in a few days when we’re closer. My ears perked immediately at “lake house” (my hydrophilic desires are insatiable). We continued on through town to drop off our gear at the hostel.

Along the way we passed a coffee shop. We had a few hours to kill and decided to check it out. We stopped in at The Mystical Mug. It’s a whimsical little coffee shop with a witchcraft theme. Given my trail name, this was a real treat and I could not stop exploring.

There were shelves decorated with dark books, an Oija board, and animal skulls. A full-sized anatomy skeleton stood near the entrance. Cats, candles, lanterns, and crows adorned other nooks and shelves as well. We allowed us to loiter until past closing (2:00 p.m.). On our way out they gave us a bag full of bagels from the day that otherwise would have gone to waste. We took them back the church to curry favor with potential new friends.

At the church, we met a tramily of hikers and shared our bounty with them. They were a fun group and we chatted with them until Kodiak and her mom showed up. Rabbit made introductions and we realized we had met each other previously in the Smokies! I met Kodiak as she was hiking a section with her sister. A day or so after meeting them I met Rabbit, Sip, Soda, Hatcher, and Stanley. The trail really comes full circle sometimes.

They gave us a ride into Stroudsburg so Rabbit could get new shoes. His Solomon’s had yet another blowout (likely rock-related) and he was looking to make a switch. He tried on a few pairs and settled on Altra Olympus 5’s, the same shoe and color way I’m in (Shoe Twins!).

We explored town a bit more, stopping for Jarritos at a Mexican restaurant and Thai tea at a boba shop. Kodiak and her mom met us for dinner. It was good catching up on each other’s stories since the Smokies. Kodiak’s mom gave us the best trail magic of all when she picked up the bill for dinner. Thank you again!!!

On our way back we got a couple small items from the gas station. Outside we ran into damn near the whole bubble walking back from town. Hot Feet, Karen, Highlight, PFT, Rad, Lisa, and more.

We had a chaotic musical catch up session, crammed into their damp and smelly motel room (Highlight said I undersold how bad the scent was in my previous blog post). It was utterly rank, as putrid clothes were strewn in every nook and cranny of the room. I feel bad for the cleaning staff to be honest (they were room #128, FYI for anyone passing through).

Rabbit and I went back to the church to turn in for the night. I took a Benadryl and found an open spot on a couch (which looked more appealing and had better air circulation than the bunk room). As Ice Cube would say, “I gotta say it was a good day.” Looking forward to crossing into NJ tomorrow and exploring new “rock-less” lands.

Stow away in my pack for day 104 of the Appalachian Trail.

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Comments 2

  • Ryan McGroarty : Jul 28th

    You are finally in the area of the AT that I am familiar with. May the I-80 bridge have light traffic when you cross. I did it on Memorial Day weekend and it was a pretty scary experience, as the whole bridge sways every time a semi passes by you. Also, the first section of NJ has extremely rocky trails too. I referred to the section above Dunnfield Creek approaching Sunfish Pond as a “demented paved road.” Happy trails.

    • Derek Witteman : Jul 30th

      Oh it was wildly unnerving crossing the bridge. Thinking to myself the whole time “who built this thing?”


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