Epilogue Day 2. Wow did last night scare the crap out of me. After I posted my blog, the storm got worse and worse. Apparently there was a tornado watch in Stroudberg, just a few miles away. I spent most of the night crouched under my tarp in full clothing, watching lightning strike all around me, ready to sprint straight down the side of the mountain if needed. The wind was so strong at times, I legitimately thought my hammock tent would be ripped away into the night … with or without me in it!
But it calmed down by 11pm and I eventually got back into bed and fell asleep. I woke around 7am to a calm and mostly dry hilltop, ate my breakfast and packed up my mostly dry bed. And then I hit the trail. I didn’t expect to see anyone today, and especially not someone I know … but an hour later, a familiar face rounded the bend. Atlas, a retiree I hiked in Virginia with, was still trying to finish his flip-flop to Harpers Ferry. I saw him briefly in Maine when he flipped up in July, but did not expect to see him again. It was great to catch up and chat for a bit, and was just the thing I needed to lift my spirits for this journey. But he was headed south and me north, so eventually we said goodbye and went our separate ways.
I then made it to the Mohican Outdoor Center, an AMC-operated facility with a restaurant, store, cabins and showers. I had hoped to make it here last night but started too late in the day. Given what transpired up on Kittatinny Mountain last night, I wish I had pushed to it. The nice 20-something staff were happy to tell me “we close at 5pm” when I called yesterday … but today I was informed “one building remains open all night for emergencies”. Yeah, last night was a tornado watch you jerks, that sounds like an emergency to me! It would have been nice to be informed of this option when I called yesterday!
Oh well, after a short curse under my breath, I ate a snack and moved on. And after that sour morning, the next 8 hours of hiking we’re actually quite nice. I ran into a dozen or so Sobos along the trail, and got to rest my (very) wary feet at some great vistas. The Catfish Lookout Tower, Blue Mountain, and Rattlesnake Mountain were exceptionally beautiful with great views along the cloudy horizon. Then, about 1 mile before stopping for the day, I crossed Culvers Gap and stopped to watch the sun set at the Culver Fire Tower. There was a picnic table up there overlooking Branchville, NJ below, and I just took it all in as the sky began to turn.
Side note, I reflected up there on all the amazing love and support I received from my friends and followers after yesterday’s post. Thank you for being here with me, then and now! I feel like I’m hiking with all of you, and it still helps motivate me forward.
I stayed there for about 20 minutes. Not because I was so enamored by the view or deep in thought, but because my feet refused to move. I hiked 22 miles at this point, and my legs were cramped, sore, and simply done. They called it a day 2 hours earlier, and when given a chance to rest, screamed at any movement thereafter. I thought I’d be able to do 20+ miles every day this week, but I took a beating today and may not have the strength to continue that goal tomorrow. With some more cursing, this time not under my breath, I
hiked slowly crawled downhill to the Gren Anderson Shelter. No one else is here, so I can at least lay my gear out to dry in the shelter over night, which is nice. But I’m camping alone for the second night in a row. I’ll reassess the feet situation in the morning, but I have a feeling it will be a late start to the day either way. I need my beauty sleep. Oh, and more thunderstorms are expected tomorrow evening. Great.
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!
- Start Mile: 1303.3
- Start Time: 08:10
- End Mile: 1326.1
- End Time: 18:30
- Miles Hiked: 22.8
- Miles to Go: 66.6
- Lodging: Gren Anderson Sheltee