Almost as soon as I left Delaware Water Gap, I crossed a long bridge over the Delaware River and into New Jersey. The state line is apparently the river. I have crossed several of these long bridges over wide rivers and they are scary, with the 18 wheelers passing by, and the bridge rumbling underneath!
The terrain was noticeably different right away. The trees were more scrubby and there were more rock slabs, as opposed to boulders. There were also quite a few views!
I was on a ridge for most of the day. I could hear an auctioneer in the valley below.
The kindness of Trail Angels never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes the best trail magic on a hot day is just a cooler in the woods full of cold sodas!
I saw Will and Tumble on this day. They were all getting on each others’ nerves, so they decided to hike alone this day. PapaJ was somewhere up ahead. Will and Tumble would end up at the same campsite I was at, but I was so tired, I didn’t want to get out of my tent! I also had a bad headache.
The next day was a bad one for me. All day long, I just wanted to put my tent up and go to sleep. I had a bad headache all day long. When I came to the top of a hill, there was a very nice pavilion, and a family, including two former through hikers, doing trail magic. About the time I finished my soda, the guy asked me if I wanted a hotdog. He was just getting ready to grill them. I told him no, thank you. I just wanted to stop early, set up my tent and go to bed early because I felt so bad.
The water source situation has gone from bad to worse. Many of the sources have gone dry. When I got to the shelter, there were jugs of water in the bear box.
I set up my tent in the trees, away from the shelter. I would be the only person at this shelter. My head hurt so bad. It had started heating up again, too, so laid there waiting for sleep to come as sweat dripped down my face and neck.
(I saw my first wild blueberries of this hike, and I also sample some!)
That night, it absolutely poured rain all night long! I’d had Bud send me my old tent a while back. He ordered a part for the broken pole, and fixed it! I sent the Green Bean (as Raid calls it) home. I missed the space of my old tent. My old tent (Copper Spur 2) is free-standing. Green Bean requires stakes to hold out the bottom corners. Green Been also has a short rain fly, which doesn’t always do a good job of protecting from the rain.
During the deluge that night, I felt water dripping on me from the top. My old tent had developed a leak, and was dripping on me about every 30 seconds. I laid a plastic sheet over me, but my quilt still got wet.
The next morning, since I was the only person there, I moved my stuff into the shelter and cooked and ate my breakfast there, since it was dry. I made plans to go to a hostel to dry out.
Mosey’s Place was unexpectedly nice and peaceful, as well as clean. It was new for me this year. Mosey is a former letter carrier and thru hiked the AT in 2015. She was full of good advice, and she cooks a mean breakfast! Eggs, bacon, homemade breakfast potatoes, coffee, orange juice and pancakes! The cost of the bunk, breakfast AND laundry, plus the shuttle to and from the trail was only $30! The bunks even had sheets (many don’t).This price also included a ride to the grocery store and pickup and delivery of ‘takeout’ for supper. This was an awesome hostel stay! We had use of the dining room and living room, which were open and spacious. There was only room for 6 people. We had 5 that night. It was so relaxed. I really enjoyed my stay there.
I have really enjoyed the trail in New Jersey. Though there have been rocks at times, the trail has been flat a lot of the time. The privies in New Jersey are also very nice. I met a guy doing trail maintenance, and he is the one who keeps the bear box stocked with water at Mashipacong Shelter. I don’t know if he maintains all of the New Jersey shelters, but I was telling him how nice the privies in New Jersey were, and he told me they were built in 2010. His eyes got a gleam in them as he told me (in his Jersey accent) That the AT in Jersey is The Crown Jewel of the AT. “You just wait…wait till you get to New York! You’ll see! You’ll see how great New Jersey is!”
All the privies in Jersey have the same design. I’ll spare you the details. Suffice to say I was impressed. A nice privy really impresses me!
After I left the hostel, I decided to stop in Unionville, NY, which was only about a mile off the trail. The heat was getting to me. It was starting to feel like those really hot days I’d had a few weeks back. I also needed to mail some things home, and I knew Unionville had a Post Office. I also knew there was a restaurant and a General Store. I had a Gatorade, Ginger Ale, and a 10 inch sub, plus mozzarella sticks!I packed half of the sub out to eat for supper, since it was 10 inches! 😳
I knew I would have several miles of walking on asphalt, and then a long walk around a wildlife preserve. It’s basically a walk around the edges of a swamp, with with very little shade. At one point, I had to lie down on a bench under a tree to cool off. Keep in mind that I have been rationing my water since so many of the sources are dry. Also, remember that unless we have just retrieved the water, it’s warm.
The day ended with gathering water at the base of a mountain at an old house with a spigot. I got three liters. I knew I would have to carry it up the mountain to the shelter, but I also knew I would drink a lot since I was so dehydrated. I would need some for breakfast and also to get me to the next water source the next day.
When I got up to the shelter, I set my tent up. I was drenched in sweat. When I started emptying the back pouch of my backpack, I couldn’t find my water filter. The last I remembered seeing it was when I unwrapped the filter bag to fill it up with water. I didn’t want to go back down (and back up) that mountain! I had no choice. I can’t hike without a way to filter the water. Down the mountain I went! When I got to the spigot, no filter. I trudged back up the mountain, got inside my tent, and there it was! I had already unpacked it and tossed it inside my tent!
After I got cleaned up and had eaten, the headache began. It was, again, very hot and stifling. It took forever to cool off!
Pochunk Mt Shelter
I knew from checking the forecast that a front was going to come through and bring rain, and wind. I also knew my tent would leak in heavy rain. I had checked out my options-just in case- because you never know if the forecasts are going to pan out like they say they will. The further I would go on the trail, the more expensive the options. When I got to the road where the motel was, I called Bud and asked him to check out the weather and what he thought.
I’m very glad I decided to stay. It has been raining steadily since about 1:00. I am also glad because it gave me the opportunity to do laundry and take a shower! I smelled so bad, and it had only been a day and a half since my last shower and laundry. Thankfully, this front is supposed to cool things down a bit!