We awoke to bright sunshine in the Leroy A. Smith shelter this morning, so I knew we had overslept. It was 8:45. Tandem pointed out that we needed the extra sleep after being up so late last night. I found a large colony of small ants all grouped together and busy with something just outside of the shelter. Mio and I took a picture of this phenomenon.
We ate in our “beds”, packed up by 9:45, and left the shelter by 10:00, headed for NJ! The state line was 20.5 miles away, and we’d fall just short, doing 20.2 to the Church of the Mountain hostel in Delaware Gap, PA.
I had identified a Geocache for Mio and me to find about three miles from the shelter, which made for a good break for us. It was a large ammo box. We signed the log and bushwhacked back to the trail. There were many rocks to tackle on the trail today, and my left foot felt every one.
Today is the summer solstice, so it is also hike naked day. I did not hike naked.
When I got to Wind Gap at PA 33, Tandem and Mio were snacking. Mio left to go to a store to buy some beer. While he was gone, Ragnar and Scout showed up, having spent the night at the police station basement. They started promoting the idea of hiking naked and how to do it. First Aid and Tent Maker also came up; they were completing a section southbound before going back to NY and going north again.
I knew that I would be slow climbing the 700 feet from the road, so I started hiking. After about three miles, Scout caught up with me and he did have his clothes on. We hiked together for about three more miles, talking mostly about his life and relatives and being a Gator fan.
We were taking a break when Tandem came in with Mio, Ragnar, Sunshine, and Young Beard, who were wearing nothing but bandanas covering their privates. They then surrounded Scout trying to get him to hike naked, too, but he wouldn’t. Tandem had brought me an 8 oz beer from the 24 that Mio had purchased.
We hiked around Wolf Rocks on a blue blazed trail that was much easier. When we came to Fox Gap at PA 191 we found Lorax working a slack packing connection. He gave me another shot of rum. As we hiked up the other side away from Fox Gap, I could feel the rum coursing through my blood stream and making me feel good.
We stopped for dinner around 17:00 at the Kirkridge shelter. We were joined by Rattlesnake, who thru hiked in 2012. She backpacked in with her two dogs and offered us Fritos and brownies. We were the only thru hikers that she had met on the trail that afternoon. She joined us for dinner, and we updated her on the typical facts, like name, start date, why the five of us were together, and our favorite experience so far.
After dinner we gave her our thanks and left for a waning sunlight, 6.4 mile hike to Delaware Water Gap. We lucked out, because an old road is the trail for about three of the miles. Before finishing the last 2.5, we stopped for a view of the river and highway.
It started getting dark at 21:00 as we were dropping down the mountain. I fell behind the other four and used my headlamp for the last 1.5 miles. I found them beside a pond before the trail parking lot playing with bullfrogs. Ragnar had one for me to kiss, as everyone had done already. Then it was let go back in the water. We checked out the tadpoles and found an enormous spider with her dozens if baby’s on her back.
We hiked out to the parking lot and down the street to the hostel. Mosey greeted us as we came in. He and Jungle Jim were there. We all enjoyed sodas and snacks and rummaged through the hike box for extra gear and food. Ragnar was handed a sleeping pad and tarp by Mosey, and he got really excited, since he had no tent and needed both.
We decided to sleep in the main room on the couches, recliner, and floor. I was on the floor. We worked on our blogs and journals while we snacked and drank more sodas. Scout and I made arrangements to go Geocaching in the morning nearby.
We plan to celebrate our 44 mile push from the last two days with a zero day here, and then in a hotel over in East Stroudsburg, where I have an appointment for my left foot on Monday morning at 8:10. We will be watching America play in the World Cup on Sunday night in a bar near there as well.