June 15, 2013
Today’s mileage: 19.8
Total mileage: 1323.1
If you come to visit your fellow AT thru-hikers while they’re on the trail, it only means one thing: slack-packing! We don’t slack-pack very much, so when we’re lucky enough to get to do it, we do it. On our way back to the road where my dad picked us up yesterday, we stopped in at the Dingmans Falls Visitor Center in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. After, it was time to hike. Miles and I planned a big day of slack-packing while my parents enjoyed the Delaware Water Gap for the day.
The weather was beautiful today. We had no rain and it didn’t get too hot this afternoon. The terrain wasn’t too rough either. More rocks, of course, but we leaped and bounded along the trail without our packs. With only a day pack and our poles, we set out to hike 23 miles today to the Deckertown Turnpike. However, we took a couple of longer breaks than we should have and I think our legs are still recovering from our big days in Pennsylvania. So, we ended up cutting our hike short by 3 miles so that we could meet my parents by 6 to go to dinner.
I tried out my new Brooks Cascadia trail runners for the first time today. I had no blisters and they were very comfortable. They’re not as sturdy as my Oboz, but I’m hoping that they work well for me. I’m not sure if they’ll last me all the way to Katahdin, but we’ll see how far they get me. We had some beautiful views atop Rattlesnake Mountain and Sunshine Mountain at the end of the day. It’s nice to have 360 degree views again. We didn’t get much of that in Pennsylvania. Despite New Jersey’s bad reputation (at least in the northeast), this part of the state is very beautiful. Mountains, lakes, and farmland fill the landscape. We only have a few more days of hiking here, but so far we are enjoying it.
After a little confusion, my parents found the parking lot on Sunshine Mountain. We had to change our meeting point, as I explained earlier, so they had to figure out how to get there on the fly. We hit some trail magic from Maineiac and his family on top of the mountain. They had sodas, beer, water, pizza, and candy. Trail magic is always a great way to end your hiking day. This was the first time we had met Maineiac, who is from Harpswell, Maine. We have met so many Mainers out here, maybe more than any other state now that I think about it. Once my parents found the parking lot, we hiked back up to the top to show my dad the panoramic view. We realized on our way down that this was his first time on the Appalachian Trail; but, it won’t be his last. We’re excited for him to join us in New Hampshire to do some hiking for a couple of days and of course, climbing Katahdin with us on the very last day!
We headed into Milford, PA for dinner at the Dimmick Inn. I had a really good pasta dish and a Blue Moon to celebrate…um…well, everything I suppose! 1300 miles, birthday eve, and my parent’s visit. There was a pianist in the dining room playing a variety of songs from “Bridge over Troubled Water” to “Dream On.” He had some kind of weird reverb going on with the mic. It was hard for me to take my meal seriously with the reverb edition of Simon & Garfunkel going on in the background. My mom, the sly person she can be at times, pretended to feel sick during dinner and went into the bathroom. Little did I know, that she was going in to talk to the pianist. About ten minutes later I hear,
“May I have your attention please. I hear there’s a girl here tonight who has been hiking the Appalachian Trail for three months and it’s her 24th birthday tomorrow. So, let’s all wish her a happy birthday!”
And then the entire dining room breaks out in song. Mind you, there’s a huge table of about 15 people in there as well. I was embarrassed, obviously, as the entire room sang to me. I was beet red and laughing. And lucky me, our waiter let me order dessert on the house. It’s not even my actual birthday yet and I’m already getting free stuff! 24 ain’t so bad after all.
I love hotel rooms. As I write this post, I’m laying in my comfortable hotel bed, typing on my mom’s MacBook, and fresh out of a hot shower. I’m about to eat my chocolate mousse cake because it’s midnight, so technically I’m 24 years old. One more year until I can rent a car! And then it all goes downhill after that. 😉 I’ll savor the early twenties life while I can. And what better way than to hike the AT. Yes. I think that’s exactly what I’ll do.