August 17 – August 20

August 17 Mile 815.7 Wildcat shelter

Exhausted. But what a great day. Amazing trail magic, new friends, beautiful trail and lots of miles. Would write more but I have to sleep. It’s going to rain tomorrow and I am so happy because that means no bugs. Yes!

August 18 Mile 827.8 Wawayanda shelter, NJ

I was up early and on the trail by 6am hiking in the rain over rocks. After about 20 minutes I hit good trail and got to the highway in 25 minutes. I walked the 2 miles down into Greenwood Lake and found the cafe Skyman recommended to me and settled in for a good breakfast, external battery charging in the outlet next to my table. I love going out to breakfast, it’s something my dad and I do whenever we can so it’s special to me. And since I knew Skyman had been here I thought of him and when he was here, in this space. So far away now.

After eating I prepared to leave and went to pay my bill. The server/cook told me that a regular had come in and paid for everyone’s breakfast. People never cease to amaze me with their kindness and generosity.

The rest of the day passed and I found myself at the Wawayanda State Park visitors center where I filled up my water bottles and took advantage of the restroom to wash the sweat off myself and rinse out my socks. I got a sticker from the park ranger for my AT Passport, which was nice.

I got here to the shelter and set up my tent when two NOBOs walked up and asked if I had any bug spray they could use. Fortunately, I had several DEET wipes John the trail angle gave me yesterday so I passed them on and the NOBOs were happy.   We chatted about bugs and the trail for a bit and then they were in their way. Fern and Gully got here a bit ago and Milkshake, whom I hiked with yesterday afternoon, should be here later.

It’s raining and there is a severe thunderstorm warning for the area in effect until 9pm. I’m cozy and dry in my tent and should remain that way, whatever the storm brings!

August 19 Mile 844.7 Unionville, NY

Back in New York again; the AT goes in and out of NJ for a few more miles then I’ll say goodbye to New York mid morning tomorrow.

Today I saw my first black bear on the AT; a huge one that ran across the trail in front of me and then kept on through the woods. I love the way they move, a kind of lumbering waddle, bear butt shaking and nose up in the air; it smelled me and turned around to check me out and then kept going.

I also saw a bunny, four king snakes, several herons and a great blue heron and all kinds of other birds. A good day for fauna. I hiked with Milkshake on and off for most of the day, and we are camped here in town with Kanga, Roo and Sherpa.

Another brutal and amazing day on the Appalachian Trail.

August 20 Mile 854.8 Mosey’s Place

It was nice to sleep without my rain fly last night and tris morning when I got up at 5:15 to use the Porta-Potty  in the park there was no dew on my tent at all. Nice. I slept well despite the orange glow from the lights in the park and by 6am I was walking back to the trail.

I made quick work of the 8 or so mile to the New Jersey High Point and by 11am I was drinking a free Pepsi (third soda on the trail) with George the Ridgerunner at the High Point State Park Headquarters. We talked about the eclipse and just he was leaving Mosey pulled up. Mosey is a thru-hiker from 2015 and she opens her home up to hikers. For $25 she’ll offers trail pickup/drop off, laundry, showers, a bunk and a huge breakfast. She’s highly recommended by numerous NOBOs and so far I am very glad to be here. There’s a NOBO named Slow n’ Steady here and looks like some other SOBOs may come in later. It is so nice to be clean and have clean clothes. I don’t think I’ve ever been as smelly as I was when I got here.

Looks like we’ll be getting pizza tonight and I plan on getting a large so I can pack some out tomorrow for lunch.

Another beautiful day on the AT.

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