Week 14 – Vernon, NJ to Delaware Water Gap, NJ

In this week’s episode of Adventures with Dori and Ratatouille, we will spend several days with my family, check out a really cool model train place, do some more hiking, (knocking another state off our list) and get picked up for the last time by my dad. This will also be the last time I get to see my love, Frankie, until the end of our adventures! Time wise, we’re halfway done! Let the adventure continue . . .


Day 92 (time – endless, 0 miles, I’m warm enough degrees)

As I woke this morning, in my warm, soft bed, still at my Dad’s house in NJ, I rolled over to see my love, Frankie, still off in dreamland. I snuggled up to him, throwing one arm over his side in a loving embrace, and closed my eyes, cherishing every second we had together. I will have a few more days with him, until we will, once again, have to part ways. But it’s ok.  This will not be our last weekend together. Not yet at least.

After a little while, though, I could lay no longer. So I got up and went downstairs, ready to start the day. The kittens outside were running and playing, prancing around the cement block legs of the table. I stood inside, sipping on my coffee, lightly giggling at their adorable antics, until the rest of the household was up and ready for the day as well.

New Jersey is known for a few things, but not all of them are bad. One of those things is, for whatever reason, they have the best bagels! So we had decided to go to a local bagel shop and get bagels for the household. They were delicious! New Jersey did not disappoint. And a HUGE thank you to my lifeline/trail angel/love of my life for getting them for us that morning!

After our delicious treat, the remainder of the day was filled with a combination of sitting on the couch with my love, binge watching Halloween Wars (while I dreamed of carving pumpkins), and watching the kittens outside romp around.


My love and I chilling on the couch.

The cuteness outside was too much to bear, so eventually, I went outside to see if any of the kittens would come close to me. After standing still for a long time, a little gray kitten got brave enough to come sniff my shoe. I quietly leaned over. Before he knew it, I was scratching the side of his head. He jumped with a start, but suddenly realized, hey, this feels good! So he let me sit next to him, so long as I continued to scratch him of course. I sat on the bottom step of the porch and scratched and scratched. Really starting to enjoy himself, he leaned into it. And leaned. And leaned. Until suddenly, he almost fell of the step. That was close!

With my kitten snuggle and scratch time fulfilled, not being able to take them in the house, I was forced to leave the little babies outside.  My mother would be arrived here soon and it would be time to meet Grandma Carol for dinner soon anyways.  So after my Mom arrived we left the house to meet Grandma Carol for dinner.  Several hours later, after laughing and sharing stories all night long, it was time to say goodbye.  I gave Grandma Carol a HUGE hug goodbye, promising her I would talk to her again soon.  I’m glad we got to see her again!  Today was a nice, relaxing day with the family.  Tomorrow we have a fun filled day with Frankie’s parents! I can’t wait!


Day 93 (time – running out, 0 miles, getting cooler degrees)

I woke again this morning, my love still by my side, warm and peacefully sleeping. I snuck silently from the bedroom, allowing him to continue to snooze, and went downstairs for my morning coffee.
Ratatouille was already awake and bustling around the room, tinkering with this, fiddling with that. With my cup of coffee, I sat down on the couch and enjoyed some TV.

One by one the rest of the household awoke and joined us downstairs. Dad was running inside and outside, doing errands around the house, while Mom and Frankie joined me on the couch. Outside, the rain was falling and the temperatures were dropping. I’m just glad we’re not on the trail in this! I wonder how Centaur is doing out there?

Suddenly, Dad came thundering into the house. He stood in the doorway staring at me, and with his booming voice said, “I have 5 soaking wet kittens freezing outside on the back porch, wanting to come in.” He looked at me like this was my fault!

Frankie and I looked at each other. Catching kittens was something we were not new to. Only a few years ago we had caught two outside and found them a home. What’s 5 more!

“Well, we can catch them and help you find a no-kill shelter for them. They’re tiny enough and cute enough for someone to want to take them home!” Frankie and I offered to do the wrangling if he would get the cage ready. So guess I’m gonna go catch myself some kittens now!

A few minutes later, we only had two left to catch. Three of the kittens, including the little gray one from yesterday, allowed us to simply pick them up and place them in the crate, like they knew they’d be taken good care of. The other two, however, were less convinced. They had scrambled under my Dad’s grill!

I got down on all fours and peered under the grill at them cowering in the corners.  Very carefully, my Dad tilted the grill as Frankie and I reached under and grabbed a kitten each.  Their little claws nipped at our skin and they screamed and squirmed every step of the way.  But, eventually, all five were now safe and dry inside the crate. To help keep them warm, my dad allowed them free rain on the inside front porch. After they got over the shock of being wrangled and trapped, they actually enjoyed themselves! If I wasn’t on the trail, and I didn’t already have two cats at home, I would have taken one of these babies home with me. Oh well.
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With the kittens now safe, warm, and dry, it was time for all of us to head to Northlandz, a REALLY amazing indoor miniature train place the size of a warehouse! Sometime ago on the trail, Ratatouille had mentioned she enjoyed miniature train scenes, so, naturally, Northlandz was the first thing to pop into my mind. I had to take her there!

Frank and Donna, Frankie’s parents, were going to meet us there. Then, after the several hour tour of the building, we’d all go out for dinner. Krystle, Frankie’s sister, would join us for dinner, then we’d all go back to Frank and Donna’s house for coffee and snacks. What a wonderful evening!

But first, off to Northlandz! Pulling into the parking lot, the size of the enormous building became apparent. We walked under the giant archway, held strongly by several giant columns, and entered the building. Donna and Frank were already inside. Smiles and hugs we’re shared all around, and Ratatouille finally got the chance to meet the two people she had heard so much about over the past several months. We all decided to do the tour and the train ride at the end.

The next several hours were filled with eye opening, awe filled wonder as we strolled through the exhibit. Every turn held new wonders, new scenery, new bridges made from toothpicks! Truly amazing!


Photo by Carrie Yehle




The man who created this building of wonder, really pays attention to detail. His bridges are astounding and his scenes are laced with a sense of humor. I highly recommend checking out Northlandz!

After the tour, we took a small train ride. The train ride is great, if you are under the age of 5. But we all sat and enjoyed the short ride regardless, chatting and catching up along the way.


Photo by Carrie Yehle

After our short ride, it was dinner time! Whohooo! Our hiker hunger was starting to take over again! Quick, get us some food before we turn into monsters!

We all drove to the Ship Inn, a bar/restaurant that was close to Frank and Donna’s home. Krystle met us there. We enjoyed a fantastic meal and some drinks, laughed and chatted the entire time, then were ready to head to their home. Frank had to grab a quick picture of us before we left though.
We traversed the back, windy, roads all the way to Frank and Donna’s home; a beautiful log cabin in the woods of northern NJ.


Photo by Carrie Yehle

Ratatouille got the grand tour of the entire home, while Frankie and I played with Turbo, their little, energy packed, lovable Jack Russell Terrier.


Photo by Frankie Mazza

After some coffee and delicious sweets (apple cider cupcakes Donna made and other delicious treats), we were slowly slipping into a food coma. It was time to drive home and snuggle into bed. We said our farewells to Frank, Donna and Turbo, and head on our way. I am so glad Ratatouille got to meet my other family! They are fantastic people and I am incredibly lucky to have Frankie and them! Thank you for being the best second set of parents there are!

What a great day today was! I got to share something unique and cool with Ratatouille, and she got to meet my other family! Tomorrow, we will, once again, hit the trail. But we’ll be back one more time to spend a weekend with my Dad. Hopefully this parting from Frankie will be a little easier. Goodnight.


Day 94 (1:15 – 4:20pm, 7.6 miles)

Today is my last day with Frankie again, until next week at least. He will be dropping us off at the trailhead, then driving back to Rochester, NY. My mother will head back to Rochester as well after we leave for the trail. We will, once again, wander off into the woods, our packs to their fullest, placing one foot in front of the other down the white blazed trail. But first, breakfast!

We stopped at a local diner, one my family has frequented since my youth, and enjoyed a wonderful meal for the last time until next weekend. After breakfast, we packed our gear, hugged my parents goodbye once more, gave the kittens one last scratch, then left with Frankie on the way to the trail.

Parting from my love, this time, was not as sorrowful. I am getting used to seeing him on the weekends, and was able to say goodbye with fewer tears. I’m sure our next parting will be much more difficult, however, as that will be our last goodbye until Georgia.

With a long embrace, and a few sobs I might add, I gathered myself and off we went down the trail once more. We won’t be catching up with Centaur today, but we’ll log some HUGE miles tomorrow and catch him then.

We will also catch Flicker, another SOBO we hiked with way back in Stratton!  Over the weekend, I learned she had a bad fall on her knee that resulted in a nasty knee injury.  She had reached out for my assistance and had been favoring the leg, continuing to try to hike.  My inner PT was VERY eager to take a look as her knee to see if I could help the recovery process, and I was worried about any lurking, more major injuries!  I was looking forward to seeing her, but for today, we’ll take it easy, fresh out of the gate, and keep the miles low.

We started off walking a boardwalk. Not a boardwalk like the Jersey Shore, but a suspended walkway that meanders and winds through swamps and fields. It was PACKED today. Apparently, people enjoy parking at one end and walking the full length to the parking lot at the other end. It’ll take us a while to get through this section today!
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Once we had passed the masses of people and completed our boardwalk traverse, we were alone again in the woods, and happy! We hiked along, passing a good view or two on the way, until we finally arrived at the Pochuck Shelter.


Cool plaque at the shelter.

There was no water at the shelter, so we had to walk 0.5 miles past it to an abandoned house just off trail that had its water left in for thru-hikers. That’s right! We walked 0.5 PAST the shelter to get water. That means we had to walk back UP the trail 0.5 miles to get back to the shelter. Horah! But it was neat to check out the abandoned home. It was quite nice actually!
After our extra mile of hiking to get water, we settled in for the night, getting ready for our big day tomorrow. We will need our sleep tonight so we can try to catch Centaur and Flicker tomorrow!


Day 95 (8:09am – 5:45pm, 19.7 miles, 45 degrees)

It was a chilly morning as we woke in our warm sleeping bags. But we can’t dawdle today. We’ve got A LOT of miles to travel to catch up with our friends! So off we go!

We traveled up one mountain and down the next. Over one field. Past this view. Through that cow pasture. Over that barbed wire fence. Barbed wire fence! How do we do that you may ask? The wonderful people that help build and maintain the AT have built these nice staircases for us!

We’ve crossed over a lot of these along our travels!


We continued along our way, heading towards the High Point Park, where a monument stands, indicating the highest point in New Jersey.  Eventually, we reached High Point Park. There was a beautiful platform we could stand on to view the monument at High Point. We stopped briefly to take in the view. I managed to catch a rainbow off in the distance as well!
With a little less than 10 miles left to go (yup, we still had 10 miles to go) we didn’t linger long, and spun on or heels to continue on down the trail. Step after step, mile after mile, we finally reached the Mashipacong Shelter! Centaur and Flicker greater us and introduced us to a group of section hikers; Tough Nuts and the Blues Brothers. They were quite the fun group!

We quickly set up our tents, as the temperatures rapidly dropped. The wind started to kick up and was ripping through our layers of clothing, chilling us to the bone. Tough Nuts and the Blues Brothers had gotten a nice warm fire going, and invited Centaur and the two of us to join them (Flicker had already retired to her sleeping bag for the evening). We quickly agreed and spent the remainder of the night joking, sharing stories, and huddling around the nice warm fire. But alas, we had to leave the warmth of the fire and the fantastic company, and return to our tents to brave the remainder of this COLD and windy night! Wish us luck!


Day 96 (9:39am – 4:30pm, 12.7 miles)

I survived the cold last night! After I crawled into my sleeping bag, shivering because of the wind and cold, my internal heater kicked on and slowly, my upper body started to warm. The wind continued to beat against my tent and my legs were numb with the cold. I stopped shivering, but my legs just couldn’t get warm. Shoot! I may need a different sleeping bag after all!

My current sleeping bag is rated for 35 degrees. That means it will keep me warm until it drops below 35. So, recognizing that it will most likely get colder than that during our adventures, I also use a sleeping bag liner that essentially adds 10 degrees to my bag, making it rated for 25 degrees. Should be warm enough right!?

Well, I did manage to get warm last night eventually, but it took a few hours! So, getting a new, colder, sleeping bag may be my future! We’ll have to see!

We crept out of our tents this morning, once more braving the cold.  At least the wind had died down a little! Centaur and Flicker stayed in the shelter last night. I was slightly envious as I believe they stayed warmer, being more protected from the wind. I’ll have to test that out tonight. The temperatures are supposed to drop below freezing later!

After collecting our gear, and eating our breakfast, we were just about ready to go. We bid our friends, Tough Nuts and the Blues Brothers, goodbye as they head off down the trail. We had a lot of fun with them and will miss their company! Centaur, Flicker, and Ratatouille sat in the shelter, as I went to fill my water bottle. Just as I stepped from the shelter, the skies started to drop a mix of rain and sleet. I quickly filled my water bottles, then retreated to the shelter. Guess we’re not ready to go yet!

We waited out the storm and I took a quick look at Flickers knee. She has a little rehabbing to do, but overall, I think she’ll be ok. I ruled out any major problems and provided her with some advice. She’ll be taking it slow and steady today, but she should be able to make it to the same shelter as us later tonight!

Finally, the storm passed, and we were on our way once more. Centaur, Ratatouille, and myself hiked together for most of today, chatting, catching up and laughing. Flicker stayed behind us, nursing her injury and moving at a slow and steady pace. I hope she makes it safe to the shelter tonight! She should!

Early into our trip today, we came upon a huge gazebo. It was beautiful!
After a quick picture, we were off once more. There were not as many views today and the cloud cover was significant, but I did manage to get one good shot.
As we hiked on, Centaur mentioned there was a bar in a small town we would be crossing today. What a great place to stop for lunch! Since we had very few miles to go, and plenty of time to get there, we decided that’d be a great place to wait for Flicker to catch up. To the bar!

We ate a fantastic lunch, had a few beers, and chatted and laughed some more. Just as we were getting ready to leave, Flicker arrived. Her knee was feeling better! Whohoooo! She dropped her pack, readying herself to enter the nice, warm, bar, as we all donned our packs readying ourselves to hit the trail. I felt bad taking off just as she arrived, but it was time for us to go. We’d see her again soon!


The beautiful view from the bar.

Eventually, the three of us arrived at the Brink Run shelter. How nice! It was gorgeous and looked very warm! Let’s see if it’s any warmer in the shelter tonight than it was in my tent last night!
We unloaded our gear and ate our dinner. Flicker joined us before night fall and the four of us packed snugly into the shelter. At least we’ll have the body heat for the night! The temperatures dropped with the setting sun and we crawled into our sleeping bags. Fingers crossed I stay warmer tonight! We’re below freezing so I’m sleeping with my electronics and my water filter tonight. If I don’t stay warm tonight, I’ll have to get a new bag. Here we go!


Day 97 (8:41am – 3:47pm, 14.5 miles)

We all managed to survive the night, last night, nice and warm! Looks like shelter hopping may be in my future since it seems to be warmer than my tent! But I need to do more testing to be sure.

Again, me, Centaur, and Ratatouille all hit the trail together. Flicker enjoys her mornings so she got started a little after us. We all plan on staying at the same shelter once more tonight, so we’ll see her soon.

The terrain the past few days has been fantastic! A lot of ridge walking with very little elevation gain/loss! This allows us, not only, to pick up the pace, but also joke and laugh more on the trail. So the three of us giggled and chatted our way down the meandering path.

It’s hard to say what we’ve seen today because the miles were a flash of color passing by us as we enjoyed each other’s company along the way. Occasionally, a beautiful view would demand our attention and we would all take a silent moment to take in mother nature’s wonder.
As we continued along our way, we approached a fire tower. So naturally, we all dropped pack and made the long climb up the winding staircase to the top. A gentleman was at the top on duty, watching for fires! He let us in and chatted with us for a while, giving us a brief history on the fire towers of New Jersey and explaining that with all of them combined, you could see all of New Jersey! No kidding! He told us how he spends his days up there, looking for puffs of smoke.

“Do you mean like that one over there?” I innocently asked as I had been watching some gray smoke billowing in the distance.

He paused for a minute, “Yes. Just like that!” He continued to explain that normally, he would watch something like that for a few minutes to see if it goes out. “Farmers in the area often burn things on their property. What you really need to watch for is the smoke to grow bigger or become more consistent”

So as we continued to chat, each of us now staring at the smoke, sure enough, it started to grow and become more consistent. So he was quickly on the phone, radioing to other fire towers, and eventually getting the local fire department involved. It was very interesting watching him on action! Luckily, the fire was put out quickly and no real damage occurred!

We thanked the man for allowing us to come enjoy the view, and watch him work, then bid him farewell as we climbed back down the winding staircase. As we gathered our belongings, getting ready to continue on our way, I took a quick look at the weather report to come.

As I opened atweather.org on the phone, my heart sank. It was going to drop below freezing tonight with a chance of hail and freezing rain. Greeeeaaaat!!!! I shared this unfortunate news with my trailmates.

“Well,” Centaur explained, “we could stay at the Mohican Outdoor Center. They have individual cabins and we could all share one and split the cost. See if Flicker is interested as well.”

What a great idea! I texted Flicker quickly, and luckily for us, she replied relatively fast, and we had a new game plan! To the Mohican Outdoor Center! This will be fun! And warm!! And dry!! How exciting!

Off we trotted down the trail until we finally arrived at our destination. Centaur had beat us there and gotten a cabin for all of us already. Ratatouille and I checked in and paid our portion then went to the cabin to check it out. Fantastic!

As we walked up to the building, we could see the screened in front porch. We entered the cabin into a split dining room and kitchen area. This place was fully loaded with a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and a coffee pot! Our bunk room was on the left; 4 bunks. Perfect! We were told another person would be in the other bunk room tonight. No problem! There was even a bathroom and shower!

We got ourselves settled for the night. Ratatouille and I were not going to take advantage of the shower. We were getting picked up by my Dad tomorrow at the Delaware Water Gap anyways, so we let Centaur and Flicker shower instead. Now what to do for dinner?

“I hear we can order a pizza and have it delivered here!” Centaur exclaimed.

“Sold!” I eagerly shouted. “Let’s text Flicker and see if she’s down as well.”

A few texts later, I had her order and Ratatouille made the call. The person on the line was rather confused regarding our location, and informed us it would be 45 minutes before their delivery man was scheduled to work. We’re we willing to wait?

We decided it was early enough, and perhaps this would give Flicker enough time to get here, so Ratatouille provided her phone number for the pizzeria to call us when they were on their way with our order.

While we waited, we went to the lodge and enjoyed the nice, warm, fire. I spotted a book, The Davinci Code, on a shelf and began reading. So we waited.

We waited. And we waited! 45 minutes came and went. No call from the pizzeria. Hiker hanger was starting to hit us, so Ratatouille called them. Apparently, their driver was still not in and would not be in for another hour. Ok. That’s it! Ratatouille canceled our order and called another pizzeria. 45 minutes later, we had two boxes of pizza, Flicker made it to the lodge, and we all sat and ate, happily, in our cabin!

To make matters even better, we were invited to have a second dinner provided to us free by the staff! There were leftovers from the previous guests that we could have! Whohooo!

At this point, our mystery cabin mate arrived. It was a section hiker Flicker had met a while ago, Madhatter! We got to know him and he joined us for second dinner that night! It was delicious!

During dinner two, one of the staff showed us a ukulele he had made and asked if we wanted to play it.

“Oh, I’ve never played one before,” I stated. “I just play bass guitar at home.”

He then explained that the ukulele was actually strung the same as a bass, with the same four notes! So he handed me the ukulele. I carefully took the instrument, feeling like it would snap like a twig any moment in my hands. My fingers and hands, you see, are not meant for delicate things! They are used to beating down on the big, beefy, strings of my 6 string bass at home, not this tiny little delicate instrument! Plus there were no frets! And the neck was merely a fraction of the neck of my bass at home! I didn’t even know where to start.

So, I plucked a few strings, my left hand slowly climbing up the neck until I could find my way on the instrument. Ok. What to try to play. The first thing to pop into my head was 46&2 by Tool. So I tried that. Not only are my fingers used to bigger, beefier, strings, but they are also used to having to stretch as far as possible to play up and down the neck of my bass. So, I had to learn to play as tiny as possible. I might as well have been playing a guitar made for a mouse!

So, 46&2 didn’t work. What else could I try? How about Holy Wars by Megadeth! Of course! What better song to play on a ukulele then a Megadeth song! Haha! My left hand fingers instantly started spinning their way along the strings as my right hand fingers rapidly struck the strings. Finally! A clear, clean, melodic, fast song emerged! But it wasn’t long before my fingers lost where they were, once more, on the miniature instrument. Oh well. It was fun to try.

After my poor attempt at being a musician for the night, we had our fill of food and made our way to our cabin. We didn’t get far before the other guests, that were staying there that night, got our attention. They had left over food they weren’t going to eat and wanted to give it to us!

More food!? Absolutely! So Ratatouille and I went to their cabin. They piled all the food they could manage into our arms and into bags we could carry. We couldn’t say no! So we thanked them graciously and returned to our cabin with a feast! We nibbled on some of the food before retiring for the night. What a great way to end a day! With good friends and FULL bellies! Tonight, we sleep well; warm, dry, and comfortable!


Day 98 (9:39am – 1pm, 10.7 miles)

Today’s weather report was not promising to be much better than last night’s! It is threatening to rain, with possible freezing rain and perhaps snow! Yikes! But Ratatouille and I are being picked up later today at the Delaware Water Gap. We have to press on!

Flicker and Centaur, however, were debating spending a zero at the Mohican Outdoor Center with Madhatter. “I kind of want to stay here today,” Centaur confessed in me. “But if Flicker pushes out, I guess I will too.”

“Honestly,” I replied, “I’m worried about Flicker trying to make the traverse if it’s icy out there! The last thing she needs is a slip and fall on her knee! Let me see what I can do.”

Ratatouille and I gathered our belongings as quietly as possible, then snacked on the delicious leftovers the other guests had provided us with. Eventually, Flicker emerged, just as we were getting ready to hit the trail.

“What’s your game plan today?” I asked Flicker.

“Oh I don’t know. I’d like to hit the trail, but I’m going to work on my blog for a bit first. If I’m not done by 12, then I’ll prob just stay here another night.”

I smiled at Centaur. “So what I just heard, Centaur, is you should keep her distracted until 12.”

We all laughed and I turned to Flicker. “Really, I think you two should stay here! If we weren’t getting picked up by my Dad today, I’d stay here too! It’s supposed to be a nasty day and I hear it’s icy out there.”

“Yea. We’ll see,” she replied with a yawn. “It is nice and warm and dry here.”

Smirking and looking in Centaur’s direction again, I said “Ok. You distract her and I’ll send her cat videos to watch all day!”

Again we all laughed as Ratatouille and I readied to brave the icy cold day ahead of us. Yuck!

We bid farewell to our friends, for now. They plan on waiting for us to return to the trail so we can celebrate the end of Centaur’s flipflop thru-hike in Port Clinton, PA together! We’ll be running to catch them when we return, but it’ll happen!

As we started off down the trail, we discovered everything on the trail was covered in a thin layer of ice. Well that’ll make his interesting! I quickly snapped a few pictures and sent them to Flicker.

Take a zero!









Not only was everything covered in ice, but due to the weight of that ice, branches hung low over the trail. They creaked and cracked as we walked past them, moving them delicately aside. Everything was covered! The leaves, branches, low brush, everything.

We carefully made our way across the ridge, mist covering us, and the visibility low. I took a quick break, not daring to stay too long since the weather was so terrible and cold, as I glanced at my phone.

Ok. I’ll take a zero here.

Oh thank god! At least I know those two will be warm and safe tonight!

On we crept, making sure our footing was solid with each step. Eventually, as we slowly dropped in elevation, the ice melted and we were walking through soaking wet terrain. Just as we approached Sunfish Pond, the rain started. But luckily, it was just rain! We were low enough in elevation to escape the freezing rain! But the visibility was still low and the winds were still howling!

We wandered along the path winding along the pond. The terrain was rocky and slippery. Although there was no ice, we still had to watch our footing. But there were some nice rock sculptures to look at along the way.
On we pressed, never stopping very long since the rain still trickled down. As we neared the location my Dad would be picking us up, I realized we would be arriving almost one hour early! But that’s ok. I’ll just text my Dad and then we’ll wait at the welcome center, where we can change into nice, warm, dry clothes and take shelter from the rain. Or so I thought!

As we arrived at our pickup location, we approached the welcome center. The windows were dark. Very few cars were in the parking lot. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. Upon further investigation, we realized they closed for the season in September! We were now in October. Great!

It’s ok. I had texted my dad as we got close and he was, luckily, only 15 minutes away! He had just dropped the kittens off at a woman’s house, nearby.  She is going to find homes for them!  Phew! We walked down the road a ways until we found the public restrooms. That would work. We’ll just change in there.

Several minutes later, we were in warm, dry, clothes. Now we just have to wait for Dad. I checked my phone.

Which welcome center are you at?

Shoot! He had texted me only a few minutes ago! I quickly replied.

The Kittitany Welcome Center.

Too late. He replied. I’m turning around now.

What! Apparently, during the few minutes it took us to change, he had arrived, not seen us, and, thinking there must be another welcome center, left to go somewhere else! Oh well. We gathered our belongings and decided to wait on the covered porch of the welcome center. We were not shielded from the wind, but at least we’d stay dry.

Just as I was sitting down and pulling my snacks from my bag, my stomach grumbling at me with hunger, up pulled Dad! I quickly threw everything back in my pack and we raced for his car. At last! Warmth and dryness! I texted Centaur and Flicker, letting them both know we were dry and safely down the mountain, and off we drove, heading for Dad’s house.

With two very hungry hikers in his car, we made a quick pit stop at a McDonalds. Now fed, warm, and dry, we were ready to go home.

That night, my love joined me once more and my mother arrived for the weekend. This will be our last weekend as a family. After this, Frankie will drop us off at the trail one last time, and we will part ways until he picks me up at Springer Mountain. But for now, I will enjoy every last second we have together. With that thought, I snuggled into his arms for the night and we both fell asleep. I am once more at home.


The cold temperatures are starting to catch up with us. With the threat of snow, we are running to the south! Will we beat the snow? Will we stay warm through the many nights to come? What does winter have planned for us? You’ll just have to find out in my posts to come! Until then. . .


Happy Hiking


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Comments 3

  • tuff nut and blues brothers : Feb 6th

    Hey Jamie, we camped with you guys one night in jersey at mashicopong shelter, wondering what happened with you guys thru hike? Any more updates coming? We are rooting for you and Ratatouille to make it, hope all is cool and hope you get back on the trail.

    • Jamie : Feb 7th

      Hey! We made it all the way down to southern Virginia before the weather became too cold (-2 with the windchill). Everyone got off trail and I would have been completely alone, so I got off trail as well. I’m returning to complete my journey in the end of march! I’ll still be considered a thru-hiker since I will complete my journey before a full year. Ratatouille will finish her journey at another point in time. I’ve been working on more blog updates, so yes, there are more coming! Hope you guys are doing well! Had a great time at the shelter with you all!

      • Tuff Nutt and Blues Brothers : Apr 2nd

        Awesome to hear, looking forward to the updates. We are planning another section hike this September, hoping to do most of New York in a week long stretch. Good luck to you guys this spring!


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