Day 106: The hike up Dante’s Inferno was so fun! It rained last night so the temps weren’t bad. We scrambled up, which was a blast, and had good views. We found berries further on, but didn’t dare to eat many since we were hiking through a Superfund site (from zinc production in the valley). The trail was rocky in sections and it was tiring. When we got to Smith Gap Road, Bud’s parent were there doing trail magic! They had fruit, veggies, hummus, soda and water. Everything was delicious. Turtle and Flea were slacking with Bud and it was good to see them again. When we got to the shelter, we set up camp and did our chores, then off to bed!
Day 107: The walk down to the spring was a long one this morning. We filled up again since we were unsure of the water at the next shelter. We hiked down and out of Wind Gap, where the worst of the rocks was rumored to start. The climb was steep and the rocks were rough, but not as bad as I’d expected from all the complaining! We got to the shelter and the water was running. We had dinner there, then continued to a campsite with a view! It was nice and cool with this polar vortex weather. It feels like fall in Maine! I brushed up against some poison ivy today. Hopefully it doesn’t get bad!.
Day 108: We are in New Jersey! Woke to a dewy morning. It was a quick walk into Delaware Water Gap and there was trail magic when we got there! Burgers, soda and some resupply stuff. It was awesome!! We went into town and stopped by the hostel for a shower. We worked on a puzzle while waiting for each other. Afterwards we went to the outfitter for bear rope and a gas station to finish our resupply. Then we went to the Water Gap Diner for an early dinner. The food was great and the price, too! We then went to the hostel to repackage our food and headed back out on the trail. We put bumps in our hair after entering New Jersey. On the hike to the campsite we saw a mother bear with her cubs. There were so small! They were munching on blueberries (we were too). The ridge runner at the camping area is letting us use his huge tent for the night. Slumber party with J-Rex! There are bear boxes too, so no hanging bear bags. It has been a good day!
Day 109: Heard a bear last night but I think I scared him off when I got up to use the “restroom”. There was also a deer munching on leaves right outside our tent. You could hear it breathing and chewing, it was so close. We got up to another cool morning thanks to the polar vortex. We didn’t get far before we were stopping to eat blueberries… there are so many! There are blackberries, too. J-Rex hiked on ahead to try to get some miles on us before her boyfriend comes to visit. We crossed 1300 miles and decided to celebrate by getting a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato at the Monegan Outdoor Center. We spent an hour there. Views are getting nice again! Climbed a tower this afternoon. The trail went back and forth between rocky and road walking. My feet were hurting by the end of the day. 16.9 trail miles! We have a campsite to ourselves tonight. Scared off a bear just after dinner. Hopefully it doesn’t come back tonight! Sleepy time.
Day 110: The bear never came back. It rained a little overnight. Nice terrain this morning! We stopped in Branchville, NJ for lunch at a steakhouse. I got a burger. We hiked to a tower and got great views, then hit the next shelter for water. We took our next break on a mountain with a pavilion and views. We talked with Tumbles there, then he joined us for the last three miles to the shelter. He told us about the human couch! What a nice guy. We all talked over dinner until dark.
Day 111: We woke to a nice cool morning but the day quickly warmed up. We were headed for a beach further down the trail. We stopped at an observatory tower before heading down to the water. We got food and sat reading. The water looked pretty dirty, so we skipped swimming but got to take a shower. We headed back up the trail and took a side trail to the highest point in NJ. We climbed up the tower, without our packs! Then we had about 7 miles into town. We stopped in Unionville, NY for resupply and are staying in the town park. Hopefully there are no train tracks around! We went to the Tavern for dinner then set up in the park. We hung out with some fellow hikers before bed.
Day 112: We got breakfast and resupplied at the Unionville General Store, then headed to the trail. We did a lot of flat and road walking. We got to walk around Wallkill Preserve. It is a National Wildlife Refuge and it was a freshwater marsh. It was beautiful with mountains all around! Then we climbed to a vista where we could see the marsh and the High Point tower. We stopped for lunch and ran into Dos Lekis and Bottle Cap. We decided to pace off them into town. We had a few more climbs and descents, then it became flat again as we reached a boardwalk through a bog. It was gorgeous but hot! Finally we reached the road to Vernon, but we stopped at a farm for ice cream before hitching into town. We set up at the hostel then went to resupply. We showered then had to wait to do laundry, so we got to bed super late.
Day 113: We slept in late this morning but it didn’t take us long to get a hitch back to the trail. There was a steep climb to a vista. We could see the trail below and I could just make out the High Point tower in the distance. It was hot and muggy, and it got worst as the day went on! We stopped at a park for lunch and filled up on water. Then we got to a section of steep ups and downs. We crossed into New York! From the border, we hiked with Voodoo, Spider and Mighty Blue. We did a lot of scrambling, which was tiring, but we got a few good views. We reached a road and walked to a creamery. I had a banana split for dinner! We all tented in the parking lot above the creamery. Hopefully we don’t get into trouble! Today’s hike was very exhausting.
Day 114: I didn’t sleep well last night. Woke to a chilly morning. Another day with lots of scrambling up and down steep rocks. There were many tasty blueberries! We did a short day and got into camp around 4PM. Relaxing and resting up tonight at our stealth site. We are on a nice patch of moss. Lots of blueberries around, hopefully no bears tonight!
Day 115: We woke to a beautiful morning. We hiked down off the mountain and found a water cache at the bottom, so we filled up. We took our first break at a pond, which was lovely, and I napped for a few minutes. Then we hiked up another mountain and stopped for lunch at the shelter. We sat in the sun and saw J-Rex and her boyfriend Max on the way out. We walked another mile, then walked down to a beach. They had ice cream vending machines!!! Soda vending machines, too. We swam and I had an ice cream and soda before and afterwards. Then we hit the trail hard. We crossed an interstate that I’ve ridden on before. It was a steep climb before the shelter. There are blueberries everywhere!
Day 116: We got great views of the NYC skyline last night and this morning. We hiked to a tower with nice views and vending machines that took cards. Then we hiked down to a lake that was packed with people from the city. There was lots of music and so much BBQ! We couldn’t yogi food, because everyone thought we were homeless, so we got food from the concessions. On our way down the trail we missed the blazes and ended up doing a lap around the lake. We found the path the second time and went into the zoo. We saw a fox cuddled up sleeping and two bears interacting. It truly was the low point on the trail. Then we crossed the Hudson River and climbed back into the woods. Eventually we made it to the Appalachian Market and stopped for a wrap. Then we hiked to the Graymoor Spiritual Center for free camping in the field. They also had a shelter with outlets and a solar shower.
Day 117: Zero Day :) We walked back to the Appalachian Market for resupply and heard music getting louder and louder as we returned to the Graymoor Spiritual Center. We joked that the monks were really bumpin’. We soon realized that the music was coming from the field we were camping at. We had pitched our tent in the middle of the field and returned to a soccer game in full swing and our tent nowhere to be seen! It turns out that it was an Ecuadorian celebration with soccer, food and dancing. They were raising money to send back to Ecuador. Thankfully, a few hikers moved our tent off the soccer field for us while we were gone on resupply! It was cool to watch another culture’s style of celebration.