Rest for the Weary

Pennsylvania had taken its toll on us. We had pressed big miles over treacherous terrain in order to get to Delaware Water Gap on time for Helter Skelter. Once we reached New Jersey, the rocks began to subside, but our feet ached and our hearts were heavy from losing our friend.

As luck would have it, God intervened and provided a reprieve from the trail life through family and friends. First, we were visited by my dear friend Mike who decided to join us on the trail for a day. It was fun to have him battle the tough terrain with us, including the “lemon squeeze.”

Mike going through the Lemon Squeeze!

Mike going through the Lemon Squeeze!

The next day, my family decided to drive from Western, PA to Bear Mountain, NY to visit with us for a day. It was exciting to have them on the trail and helped to break up the monotony of  our daily routine. Even better, we were able to rest for two nights in the comfort of a plush hotel room with free breakfast in the morning. Each morning we were there, we would wake up for the start of breakfast around 6am, fill up, and then join my family for second breakfast at 8:30am. My appetite still never ceases to amaze me.

With my dad on the trail!

With my dad on the trail!

After my family visited, Diatom and I decided we needed to press some bigger miles and break out of our funk. However, we had some big climbs and tired easily adjusting to the new elevation changes that have been obsolete for the past few weeks. Our first day back on trail we only reached our low mileage goal, but was able to stealth camp next to a beautiful lake and see an amazing sunset in the clearing.

Beautiful sunset by lake

Beautiful sunset by lake

Besides the elevation, we also had problems staying focused on the trail with the friends we made with two other thru hikers- Sherpa and Mouse. We had been keeping pace with them the week before and it was good to see them again on trail. After hiking four miles into our second day, we came across them at a shelter and decided to take a break to catch up. They had heard news of a BBQ at the next road crossing and invited us to go with them, but that would have put us at only 7 miles for the day. As luck would have it, by the time we hiked with them to the road crossing, we decided to go with them, just to check it out. We ended up staying six hours eating the lovely food our hosts provided and enjoying some lawn games like canjam. It was a lovely afternoon that I am glad we were able to enjoy with some of our trail friends. The love and kindness provided to us on the trail is very touching at times- the host even had gluten free bread and dairy free ice cream for me. It was amazing. 🙂

After a lovely time at the pre-4th of July party, Diatom and I met my aunt to stay with her for a night. As luck would have it, just as we got into my aunt’s car, I became deathly ill. I was nauseous, had chills, and was very dizzy. I had to get out of the car and lay in some grass for a good while before being able to continue our trip to her house. It was a rough night, but I was deeply thankful to at least be off trail and with family for when sickness hit. For the 4th of July, Diatom and I had a restful day at my aunt’s and enjoyed our meals on her beautiful patio and was treated to a walk through the gardens by her home.

As it turns out, I think I have Ehrlichiosis, a tick borne disease similar to Lyme disease. I had 7 ticks that bit me throughout Pennsylvania and the flu like symptoms and confusion are main symptoms for the disease. Thankfully, Shane was able to prescribe me an antibiotic to help battle the illness.

Since Diatom had never been to NYC, we decided to take a triple zero and spend the next two days in the city. That would give me time to rest up and heal while exploring the city with him. We saw the Met, Central Park, Staten Island, and the REI store by NYU. Mostly, we ate a ton a food and walked over 16 miles a day there, so it was pretty much like being on the trail but with different scenery along the way. As soon as I had my first dose of Doxycycline, I started to feel less tired and achy. By the time we returned to my aunt’s I was ready for the trail once more.

Seeing NYC from a free ferry to Staten Island

Seeing NYC from a free ferry to Staten Island

New York was an enjoyable time with the friends and family it brought.  We then sailed through Connecticut and had to literally run for mail drop before the post office closed at noon on a Saturday. (16 miles in 5 hours before 11am is no joking matter!) Massachusetts had many enjoyable diversions including an incredible shelter on a lake (complete with free canoes to use and a free breakfast of pancakes and coffee), free bikes to use in town to resupply, and free camping in one of the best small towns in America, otherwise known as Great Barrington, MA.

The many off-trail activities and treats were a great way to spend the past few weeks. My heart is happy to see so many loved ones! However, I am ready to see the Whites and Presidential Mountains as well. I am still a little scared about how I will do, but so far we have been scrambling up and down the mountains (even in the rain!) quite well.

Trail Family updates

These past few weeks has been just Diatom and I. NHB is still ahead and Helter Skelter is still a few days behind. We hope that he will be with us by the time of our next trail update!

Overall updates

Current milemarker: 1610.6 (Bennington, VT)

Current weight: ?

Most treasured item in pack: Green goo– this stuff is seriously amazing and works for a wide variety of illments
Food cravings in town: sushi and soy yogurt
Calories eaten in a day: 3500-4000
Biggest concern on trail: Bugs bugs everywhere… gnats are in my eyes, bees are in my ears, and mosquitoes are everywhere else

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