Day 105 – Tramily Reunion
I woke to the slightest mist of water descending down from the sky. I took a quick peak at the weather forecast and hastily threw up my rain fly. A light rain persisted as I caught a few more hours of sleep.
My alarm went off around 5:30AM. The dark of night had faded, but the sun had yet to rise. It was going to have a hard time showing up through the still present rain clouds. I hit snooze and went back to sleep. I decided to rise with the second alarm. Given my rule breaking (being camped off trail) I didn’t want to risk seeing a ranger or people coming to see a non-existent sunrise from Sunrise Mountain.
I packed up and ate breakfast, getting on trail before 7. I made it to the shelter I was supposed to sleep at last night quickly. Along the way, I found myself fighting an onslaught of mosquito assassins. Luckily at the shelter, Radaghast had some bug spray for me which helped immensely.
Also at the shelter was Highlight, who was stretched out on the picnic bench in pain. She had burned her leg/foot with boiling water while cooking. I took a peek and luckily it was just a first degree burn. She would be off the trail for a few days to heal up but I gave her some free medical advice. She was left in good hands with the Ridge Runner on site.
Back on the trail, the bugs here held at bay but only temporarily. I ran into Kodiak and we discussed stopping points for the day. We planned to meet Rabbit at High Point (which is the highest point in New Jersey). The states high point is 1803ft, the second shortest high point for a state along the AT. I took the short observation tower up to see the monument to the location.
We stopped at the gift shop and I crushed 3 sodas (one for each flavor they had: grape, orange, ginger ale). I also got Cheese It’s and bug spray (the later not for oral consumption).
After I took advantage of a small side trail to swim in “Lake” Marcia. The lake was shallow, warm, but refreshing nonetheless. I was not about to pass up a body of water two days in a row.
Back on trail I had 8 miles left into Uniontown NY for food. Along the way there were more bogs and warm weather. The dilemma of hiking here exists as follows. Hiking in the morning or evening time, means many many mosquitoes. Hiking in the heat of the day avoids the bugs, but at the cost of hiking in the heat of the day. This day it was 95+ with the heat index. 18 miles before 4PM in this heat had me wiped.
I made it to town to meet Rabbit at Wits-End Tavern. I found him inside eating with Hatcher and Stanley! They’ve shuttled up from Pennsylvania to rejoin us. It’s great to have tramily members back again! Also at the tavern in town, I had an excellent brie cheese steak (secondary however to the company).
I checked into a donation-based church hostel called “Sola”. I was person number 5 of the 4 bunks they had available, but they allowed me to stay as I offered to sleep on the ground. It’s a fun and well run location. The owners even brought us greens from their garden to eat.
Once Kodiak got into town, we went back to the tavern for a second dinner. The wings I had were great and on our way back to the hostel, we all stopped for ice cream.
I head to sleep, heart feeling full with the company of old friends and new (we met a SOBO hiker named Biscuits). Tomorrow we plan to make it to a drive-in movie theater that allows hikers to camp. We’re going to execute stage one of our Barbenheimer plan.
Until then, stow away in my pack for day 106 of the Appalachian Trail.
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