Trail Journal

Date: September 9 2000
Trail Day: 101
Miles Today: 23
Location: Near Long House Road
Section Mile: AT 805
ECT Mile: 1497

The Lemon Squeezer was neat. The gap between the rock is not even vertical. You have to bend sideways as you walk. I had some difficulty because of the side pockets of my backpack. Took a photo.

The beginning was very up and down and progress was very slow. Towards evening it flattened out and things were smoother. Met several very friendly locals. One high school kid, another group of 3, day hiking beer in hand. Water is very scarce now and I was grateful for some container of water left by a trail angel called Tuxedo angel. Thanks.

Tried to make it to Wawayonde shelter but could not. It had also been raining today - quite welcome as it has been dry. Set up the full tarp because of the rain and slept soundly. I also think I was in another deer's territory.

Date: September 10 2000
Trail Day: 102
Miles Today: 23
Location: Near Gemmer Road
Section Mile: AT 828
ECT Mile: 1520

It rained last night but I had an extremely comfortable and dry night. In the morning I found my way back to the trail. Things looked different. I couldn't tell which way to head. I tried one, decided it was wrong, headed in the opposite direction, reversed once again and reversed again. This is how people go nuts in forests. They get lost and wander randomly.

Today's trail first had Wawayonda mountain, a sharp drop and then a lot of flats crossing numerous roads. There was also several miles of road walk. Stopped by at Heaven Hill Farm which was almost on the AT. Ate a pint of icecream. Also bought some groceries. Met Blue Skies with possibly her younger brother. He appeared very unhappy. She is pretty. It is interesting - the last 3 female southbounders that I've met have been pretty - Waterfall, Mama Hotpants and Blue Skies. I know its not just a case of me beign too long in the woods because of the 20 or so women I saw at the store. I thought 19 of them were ugly.

Met Sweep's parents going up Mt Wawayonda. Sweep is a north bounder with girl friend Starlite. I have not met either of them. They are now near the Bigelows. Also met a big group of youths towards the end of the day. One of the guys gave me turkey-jerky - very tasty.

Some of the sections had horrible mosquitoes - worst bugs since Canada.

Date: September 11 2000
Trail Day: 103
Miles Today: 21
Location: Near Culvers Gap
Section Mile: AT 849
ECT Mile: 1541

Today's hike climbed a mountain and stopped on the ridge most of the time. Started off slow but by the end I was on a roll. The trail went by the High monument. Called Vikas and left a message. We will try and meet some time. Most of the shelters in New York and New Jersey are slightly away from the trail. Mahipacong shelter was an exception - made a journal entry. There are a group of 4 south bounders 1 day ahead of me. I think I should be able to catch them soon.

Saw several wild turkeys - first on this hike. Got to Sunrise mountain and started talking to a gentleman by the name of Bob . He told me that the bakery that I was planning on getting supplies from was closed. He offered to give me a ride if he saw me at US 302. I continued hiking and sure enough he was hiking the section near 302. He gave me a ride to the grocery store. Picked food for one day and dinner for tonight - sub and chicken. We then went to a bar and he bought me several beers. I also got 2 cans to go with my dinner. We talked about the trail. He knows the NJ section of the trail very well. He's also been reading several journals from trailplace. I was surprised.

He told me of a good place to tarp on the trail and dropped me off. This is easily the best trail magic for me. Thanks much Bob.

I continued up the trail in some darkness and set up camp. The chicken was horrible, the sub excellent and the beer is always good. Very good view of the valley below. Also a full moon. The mosquitoes however are back.

Date: September 12 2000
Trail Day: 104
Miles Today: 17
Location: Mohican Outdoor Center
Section Mile: AT 866
ECT Mile: 1558

I could not sleep at all last night. I think it was the mosquitoes. Started off just after sun rise. It was overcast the whole day although it never rained. It was also extremely dry. I had no water and the first water source I came to was 10 miles away. I was also not feeling well due to lack of sleep. The day went by in a daze.

Luckily the terrain was fairly easy and the trail used old logging roads a lot. I was quite surprised at my pace. Saw no one on the trail today. We have also moved to the more rural part of New Jersey - cannot see many houses and roads from the ridge top. People are also friendlier and less stuck up. I think New York near the Stadium bar area was the worst. - very yuppy and self absorbed people. New York is also easily the dirtiest state on the AT so far. Even the roads are littered more.

The AT overall is extremely clean. I was quite surprised at first because it has a large number of hikers and it takes only a few to litter. I am finding that the outdoor ethics is quite strong on the AT. There are also a few hikers who actually pick up trash found on the trail. Kudos to them. Just as it takes a few bad apples to screw up a good thing, it takes only a few very good ones to make it whole again. This ethic needs to be spread out to other trails and to society in general. All other trails I have hiked, including the IAT have a lot of trash on them.

Well the hike was fairly easy. I was looking forward to a spring listed on the data book but never saw a sign to it and missed it. The trails are getting quite rocky and building up to the much talked about Pennsylvania rocks. This is about 40 miles of trail that is covered with rocks and makes hiking an ordeal. Cowpie, whom I met in Hanover almost had tears in her eyes when she recounted the hike through the rocks. Buckeye Bob whith whom I went up Katahdin had called it the toughest 40 miles on the AT. Rainbow 6 said "the rocks are slightly difficult, but if you think of every stone you'll go nuts. Just go". Falafel - "You know they talk about the rocks a lot but I just went and did the rocks. Its hyped up". There are 2 hikers at the cabin here who said its not that difficult. I had heard that it is 40 miles of non-stop rock. They say its not true. Anyway, I will find out tomorrow. Tomorrow I begin Pennsylvania and will also pick up my maps at Delaware Water Gap. I don't like hiking without maps.

Tried calling Vivek but his line was busy. Fell asleep quite easily.

Date: September 13 2000
Trail Day: 105
Miles Today: 17
Location: Kirkbridge Shelter
Section Mile: AT 883
ECT Mile: 1575

I had a good night's sleep last night. Woke up completely refreshed. Hiked about 10 miles into the Delaware Water Gap. Took a half hour break at Sawfish pond. It is the southern most glacier lake on the AT. I could see little fish and spent my time watching them. It was very relaxing. I met a trail maintainer on the way. He told me Mr. Clean was not too far ahead. Mr. Clean is an oriental so bo (south bounder) who started Jan 1 at Katahdin. He is taking his time and is now quite famous on the trail. Hope to meet him.

Crossed the Delaware river into Pennsylvania - my tenth state. It has been Quebec, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New york, New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Delaware Water Gap is a very small decaying town. Had lunch and bought grocery for 4 days. Also picked up the maps for PA. I am so happy to have maps. Michelle, my friend from Louisville had also sent me cookies. They are delicious and arrived perfectly. Thanks Michelle. She also wrote that Debbie Woodcock, another friend, is pregnant. Debbie is an interesting woman and has spunk - I admire her. On the sad side Frank Hiertzman passed away due to cancer complications - quite sad. He had helped me buy my present car.

On the way back to the trail I stopped by at the hostel. No one was there. I signed the register and left the NY/NJ maps in the hiker box. I hope its of use to someone else. Delaware Water Gap is also the lowest point in the AT at 250 ft. The climb up Mt. Minsi was steady and steep in places. The mountains have now almost ended. There are a few gently rolling hills in the distance but the real mountains are all gone. Decided to stop at Kirkbridge shelter, a run down place.

Date: September 14 2000
Trail Day: 106
Miles Today: 23
Location: Near Little Gap
Section Mile: AT 906
ECT Mile: 1598

A very unincidental day today. Met 4 hikers. Got water at Wind Gap. This area is very dry. Saw a journal entry by Mr. Clean stating he was very sick - vomitting, loss of concentration, joint aches etc. Doesn't sound good. If he takes more than a week off, I will definitely miss him. One of the hikers said she saw me somewhere in Maine/New Hampshire - a very long section.

I am very confused about the Pennsylvania rocks. Am I in it or is it yet to come ? I don't know. I have also been playing a game to keep the average at 20 miles per day since Suriyan left. I keep a score of the surplus or deficit from 20 every day. So, say its at +5 today, that means I have got 5 miles over the 20 average. If I were to to do 15 today the average would become exactly 20. At its best it was +9. Yesterday it was at -8 and today at -5. I want to get to 0 and stop playing. It has become tiresome. On the bright side I have covered 400 miles in the past 20 days - quite fast.

Well I am a little short of water tonight with almost no hopes of getting any more till at about 10 AM tomorrow. I am also sleeping in the open, so I hope it doesn't rain.

Date: September 15 2000
Trail Day: 107
Miles Today: 1
Location: Near Allentown shelter
Section Mile: AT 907
ECT Mile: 1599

Late last night it started raining. I used the light that Playfoot gave me in Kent and set up my tarp. The light is quite bright. I had sent back my thermal underwear and flash light to Vivek in Delaware Water Gap. I have been hoping to meet other so bo's but I keep missing them when they go into towns. I've already missed Matt. Its interesting - during the planning phases thru-hikers talk about wanting solitude and how to avoid "the crowds". The reality turns out to be very different. They spend a lot of time in towns.

Walked over "The Knife Edge" - there's nothing knife edgy about it. The view however was spectacular - took shots : scenic 1 scenic 2. The 'Pennsylvania rocks' are way over blown. Rainbow 6's advice which sounded naive at the time, is accurate - "Dont worry about every rock - just go". Here's a little rhyme that I came up with :

Pennsylvania rocks,
What a crock,
Honey, Roots was right,
Never listen to hype.

Stopped at a restaurant and B+B almost on the trail. Excellent food. The B+B portion, they told me was 95$ - I almost choked. It was getting dark by the time I left the B+B. Filled up from the faucet outside and took 3 tomatoes from the garden. Started hiking fast so I could make it to the shelter before dark. It followed a logging road, so it was easy. My map fell out of my pocket somewhere and I was quite angry at myself. Another 100 or so miles to go before I have a map again. Finally it got too dark and I decided to sleep in the open. Ate the tomatoes - delicious and juicy.

Trail Info

Hike Journal

Join my newsletter

Friend me facebook
wechat: 18801052785
   Contact me