Day 84: Delaware Water Gap, PA to Brink Road

Trip Start Mar 15, 2010
1
86
134
Trip End Jul 23, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Sunday, June 6, 2010

G'day everyone!
Well today was quite eventful so I hope you're in the reading mood. Of course you could just skip it but I know none of you would ever do that!!

Slept in, deep in the confines of the church basement bunkroom. The extra sleep was good after such a short night before. I was still thinking about taking a zero but the weird homeless guy was still hanging around (wearing just his tighty whiteys) and being really annoying. Willard and I hiked out at around 8:15 and 8:45 respectively.  The new shoes feel different but I think they'll work. The first 1.5 is all on concrete so it's a relief to hit the trail! Big milestone alert!!! We crossed out of PA and into New Jersey! Only 6 more states.  I also stop in at the Delaware water gap national recreation area visitors center. I mention this only because there was a "wildlife sightings" board. It had the usual, bear, deer, rattlesnakes, but what really stood out was someone claimed to have seen a mountain lion!  Wow, that just opens up a whole new can of worms. I understand how to deal with bears, but mountain lions, that's creepy (and cool).

Just a couple miles uphill I suddenly freeze because I see a snake out of the corner of my eye... When I look over I realize it's no black snake! This is a big rattler right on the trail, he was very light in color with about 10 rattles (apparently how you can judge their age) but most impressive is the size. About 4 feet long and maybe 3-4 inches in diameter. I just showed the picture to Willard on my camera and he said it looks like it must have just eaten!  This snake could have eaten the entire rattler that I saw last time. You'd be glad to hear I watched my step for the rest of the day!

Did a lot of rocky ridgeline walking today with some truly impressive views. Ive been to Jersey before near NYC and Newark. Well, I never knew how beautiful this state could be! I just want to make one change: it should be the "rock garden state." though we've left PA the rocks persist. BUT...Rumor has it that tomorrow should be the last day of rocks...

Early afternoon I'm climbing a firetower for a view when a line of thunderstorms is clearly visible moving in. At first it looks like they are moving along the ridge and are going to miss us. The view is ominous and the wind is blowing something fierce at the top of the tower when I realize the storm is shifting right towards me. I hightail it down the tower grab my pack and try to get down the mountain away from the lightning and wind. Then the sky opened up.

Fortunately I get my pack cover on quickly. I didn't stay so dry. In fact it's the wettest I've gotten yet. The rain was running down my back, my whole outfit soaked in less than 30 seconds, and my new trailrunners and socks going "squish squish" for the rest of the day.  Of course as quickly as it hit the storm was gone and the sun was back out! Feeling it's warm rays on me was glory. It took hours to fully dry out but I am thankful that I did.

Saw my first porcupine today while crossing a powerline cut. What interesting animals! I've never seen one in the wild before.  Apparently they become quite abundant up north and will commonly chew up your gear for the salt. (we sweat pretty profusely)

I finally catch Willard after the storm and we hike together until I stop for water at a roadside pump. I pumped for a while with no results so I was quite disappointed. Before leaving though I ran back over and pumped like a maniac and water did come out! I had only had about 1 liter thus far in the day so I was starting to get dehydrated. (I can only lick so much of the rainwater streaming down my face and beard)

The last section of the day was very lovely. Wonderful views from near alpine like summits. There are also suddenly an abundance of trailside glacial lakes (as opposed to the fake lakes down south) due to having crossed the line of southernmost glaciation from the last ice age.  While we couldn't swim, the rain took care of getting us a shower.

I guess that's most of what happened today. Amazingly I've spent the last 3 nights in hostels/hotel. I'm scared of the woods again! Ok just joking. I'll sleep well tonight since it's supposed to be down into the 40s and having hiked 25 miles doesn't hurt either.

Hope that everyone is doing well. I enjoyed briefly catching up with my parents via telephone last night. It'll be great to see everyone later in the summer when we do a vacation. Hopefully it doesn't involve walking anywhere further than the beach ;)
1300 miles down, under 900 to go!
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Comments

Sarah Lampe on

Uneventful!? From a homeless guy in his tighty whities to a 4 foot rattlesnake I'd say your post entertained me from beginning to end and your day was way more eventful than mine! Glad the trail should smooth out for you... good luck breaking in those boots!!!!! Can't wait to hear about the miles ahead...
Love the PA Lampes

AUNT CAROL on

Hey Rob, walking the AT--and off the trail too--sure is a lot more interesting than I ever dreamed. Don't know what I expected--maybe a nice little path through the woods? Glad I'm along for the "ride." Was it an easy path to go around the trail to bypass the rattlesnake? Take care and enjoy!

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