Week 14 on the AT -Interview with All Day, Three Months on Trail
Hello Friends! The days continue and like many journeys, focus continually shifts to the end. Rationally, I know that the journey is the destination and that each day is precious. Emotionally, embracing and living each moment as the gift that is proves more challenging with each day.
My daughter, Morgan gave birth to her daughter, Delilah on July 12th! This new life encourages me to embrace my journey.
Mile 1271.5 campsite
We awoke early and we’re ready to go before 7am. The first part of the day included a lovely walk with some nicely laid stones for walking on. Puzzlingly there was a bypass trail to bypass this section.
We made it to a spring that was the last good water source on trail for a long while.
Down to a busy road and across the river, we went back into the forest and ascended up the rock climbing portion of our journey today. It was hot and steep and very slow going, but we made it up this vertical section.
The trail meandered under the hot sun and we were really sweaty. So sweaty all of our clothes were soaking wet. It took us longer than expected to make it to our lunch stop at the ski resort but it was a welcome reprieve when we did.
We enjoyed air conditioning, lots of tasty food indoors and made our plan for the rest of the day. As an added bonus, it started to rain as soon as we arrived indoors. We even ordered a second meal after eating our first one.
We headed back out on the trail, feeling full and happy and with plenty of water to carry to the next camping area. The trail had lots of sharp rocks under foot so it was slow going.
We found a nice place to camp and considered other options for forwarding my new shoes in case we got to their destination before they did.
Even though it was hot, we felt well nourished and hydrated.
Mile 120.7 – campsite
This morning I awoke with a very bad attitude. I’m not sure how it came on, but it came on very strong and I felt quite negative as we packed up and hiked. All Day sensed my mood and poked me until I exploded in a complete meltdown. Then the mood dissipated rapidly.
As we were hiking we came across a good sized snapping turtle.
Since water is scarce, we ended up at the Gateway Motel where the owner encourages hikers to stop by. He has a sign right by the outdoor faucet, stating that we’re welcome to get the water. He lets us use his bathroom and rest in a tent erected out front under a tree.
He says to me that hikers need better sleep than they are getting and more water and food. His objective is to help them on their journey. My exhaustion was overwhelming so we took some time to rest in his tent. I fell asleep for a moment.
Upon waking, it was time to head out of Wind Gap. We continued on our way and had a nice break where we had a very good heart to heart. Although it seems like the cycle of my exhaustion and upset keeps repeating we’re doing our best to work on our relationship and keep communication open.
This is where we are right now and no matter where we are everything is really just a frame of mind.
We continue taking across rock, scrambles and rocks in general, eventually making it to the campsite at the shelter. There were not very many good tenting options so we opted to go just a little further and camped in a field. It was relatively late and we were able to get our tent up, just as the rain started coming down quite hard.
Upon settling in, we could hear a party going on down in the valley below people, continuing to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Delaware Water Gap – Marty’s Old Yellow House
A cloud encased us in our tent this morning. Packing up came with ease and we began our 6 mile venture to Delaware Water Gap to finish out Pennsylvania.
As we hiked, All Day began to count the red efts. He counted 62 red efts and one light brown one, so 63 total. We also spotted a really great box turtle that was red and black.
The mosquitoes have been attacking quite readily, and some of them are very large. They even get us as we hike. My arms are all puffed up and itchy from my reaction to them.
We saw several day hikers surprisingly, since rain was in the forecast. The terrain changed as we descended, and we came across a lot of rhododendron. We remembered what the trail used to be like way back in Georgia.
We came to the Delaware Water Gap, recreation area and right down the street was Marty’s old yellow house. We were fortunate because Marty had a room available so we took it. In the loaner clothes, all day had found an ice cream shirt and it was fantastic. After a shower we went down to Zoe‘s for breakfast.
We stopped by the outfitter and I picked up a spray can of deet. It comes with lots of stipulations as how one should properly use it. I haven’t wanted to use poison on my skin but see no other option as the bugs are increasing.
The rain begin to pick up and when we came back to the house. A previous hiker had left some resupply items and we got to pick what we wanted out of them.
Over the afternoon we saw several hikers coming down out of the woods in the pouring rain. We felt very fortunate and decided we had picked the correct day to Nero.
After a little relaxing, it was time to head back down the street for more food. We went to a ramen restaurant with noodle soup that was quite tasty. When we walked in, we recognized a lot of hikers that were there. And they recognized us.
After dinner, we went to the bakery next-door and all they got a whole pumpkin pie stale selected a couple treats as well.
We relaxed, and I room after getting thoroughly wet in the shoes and socks.
Mile 1307.4 – campsite
We were in no rush this morning to get going because we knew that we needed to wait for our package to arrive at the Mohican Outdoor Center on Tuesday anyway.
All Day enjoyed his half a pumpkin pie for breakfast. I had a second portions of bakery items procured the night before.
We got ourselves up and ready and leisurely, walked down to the coffee shop, which opened at 8 AM. I enjoyed a cup of coffee, and the two of us shared a bagel with cream cheese and butter.
Then it was time to go. The day was beautiful and perfect for hiking.
I decided to apply my new deet bug spray prior to beginning our hike. I was nervous that the smell would be horrible and there are many warnings on the bottle. Upon application I realized that this was the smell of my childhood bug spray. Familiarity negated all reservations.
We made our way across the New Jersey Turnpike and the Delaware river crossing into New Jersey. Our eighth state!
New Jersey proved to be lovely right away and we enjoyed our hike and the terrain with rocks but not quite as many as in PA. They seemed to be a different sort of rock and I felt like I was able to look up a bit more.
We had a rest at Sunfish Pond, which was more like a lake. It was big and beautiful and very peaceful. After weeks, we practiced our Tai Chi forms. I practiced qigong as well and felt an immediate release from tension deeply held within.
At the Mohican Outdoor Center we had something to eat. Other hikers were gathered there as well, but they were moving on. We got our resupply box but still had to wait for my new shoes.
After having some ice cream, we backtracked to the campsite we had noticed at the road and discovered an even better campsite. After setting up we strolled down to the stream and soaked our feet. What a relaxing day.
Mile 1316.6 – campsite
We took our time in the morning and patched a couple holes in the tent. Then we made our way back to the center where we had some tea and enjoyed their breakfast special, egg on an island.
We walked to a little beach that was secluded and beautiful. The water in the lake was clear and you could see all the way to the bottom. The day was sunny and breezy. All Day took a swim, and then a group or youth group came , their leader said that he’s been coming to that pretty beach for decades.
We had ice cream and then a rest. We read a little bit in their lounge area on a very comfortable leather couch.
After we ate lunch, we decided to go back to the beach. This time I also swam. The water was so perfect.
When we returned to the center, our package arrived, and so I changed out my shoes and we hit the trail. The trail has been very pretty and enjoyable lately. Shorter hiking days probably help. We saw a turkey vulture flying in the woods, a beaver swimming, a turtle resting on a log, and a heron.
We found a nice flat spot to camp. The breeze is gently making its way through the trees as we settle in for the evening.
My beautiful granddaughter Delilah was born today!!!! 8lbs 10oz! Mother and baby both healthy and happy.
Mile 1334.3 – Machipagong Shelter – campsite
It was finally time to hike a long day! The breeze cooled us off over the night and we felt refreshed.
The terrain was very enjoyable and hiking was easy.
We had planned to stop at a tavern 11 miles in, but Moose was providing trail magic from 9-2pm. He does this all through July and had everything hikers could want, even ice cream! We enjoyed lots of fruits, antipasto and cookies. He had resupply items as well.
At the next shelter area we took a break and got water. A group of girl scouts with heavy packs and cheery dispositions came by.
In NJ hikers are asked to camp in designated areas and a general lack of stealth sites forces this to happen. It was good for us to be forced to hike those extra few miles.
Just as we got to camp I received texts about Morgan’s baby being born! What a gift!
There is no water at the shelter. Someone brings big containers but there have been enough hikers coming by that no water right now.
Mile 1348.6 – Unionville town park
We got up early and left before the water was delivered. We headed to a stream and saw our first bear. It was a big bear from what we can tell. All Day noticed it and it noticed us and calmly sauntered on its way, away from the trail.
The day was hot to start and we both felt pretty slow.
We made it to High Point State Park where there was water and a beech with showers. Other hikers gathered as we headed out. Progressing slowly toward Unionville and the promise of the general store and of town food. We weren’t disappointed.
We set up our tent in the city park and there were no town hobos to make us nervous. It’s a nice town. We enjoyed the tavern and picked up a half gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream to enjoy.
The thunder and lightening is picking up as more hikers gather in the town park. The people who live behind it are also setting off fireworks.
Interview with All Day – Three Months In
Day 94 Mile 1300 and some change
What are your overall thoughts on the trail?
You come onto the trail with a lot of excitement and the trail provides its own excitement in the form of user beautiful wildlife or interesting weather. Still, you do very much the same thing every day, so the excitement is hard to keep in the forefront of your mind. However after this many days, I feel like the routine has become seeded as my daily life and therefore my normal enthusiasm and joy of life is coming back into my every day regardless of whatever the trail provides as its own excitement.
What is currently your favorite part of your hike?
Reconnecting with the excitement of hiking and enjoyment every day of whatever is on the trail. Also, I like that every day it is a new trail new to me I’m not quite exciting.
What has been especially challenging?
Hiking with a partner means that you can both have suffering and that suffering will affect the other person.
You have acquired some new gear recently. How do you feel about your choices?
For the stove, I’m glad it’s a fairly lightweight add-on and has made lunchtime more interesting and I can’t complain about eating hot food. We haven’t had to go through the trouble of managing how much gas we have left yet since we’re on our first can but I like the opportunity it brings to heat the food we were already eating, or possibly buy other types of food.
For my shoes, I’m so glad that I got them in Boiling Springs before the majority of the sharp rocks of Pennsylvania started because my feet were already hurting in my VIVO barefoot. The squishy shoes are certainly a welcome reprieve for the pads of my feet.
What changes, if any, do you want to make for the remainder of your thru hike?
I’m ready to do more with my mind than just hike all day, then rest and eat. I don’t know what forms that will take but I’ll try something.
Do you still like Snail after hiking 1300 miles with her?
Absolutely, she’s my best friend. I certainly wouldn’t want to hike this alone.
It seems like you decided to go fishing since we were near the pond.
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