Appalachian Trail Journals 07-25-03

Journals From A 2003 Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail (by Loony)

Entry #102 – July 25, 2003

8:40 PM – Monday morning (the 21st), we didn’t get a very early start, due somewhat to the good time we had the night before. Managed to wake up at a decent time, though, and checked @ the post office for our mail drop. Unfortunately it hadn’t come in yet, even though it was only coming from Port Clinton, PA, and had left there a week ago! Decided to wait until 10 when all the mail would be in. While we were waiting, I gave my mom a call – they were in Maryland and would be leaving there that morning and heading up. We decided to meet the next day in Vernon, NJ. Our mail drop never did show up, so we headed out for Vernon – 12 miles away.

Got to the road around 4 or so where we’d try to get a ride in. We were planning to stay at the church hostel in town – we heard it was really nice. Showers, laundry internet, etc. Andy was in front and had just crossed over the fence & onto the road. I was still on the trail when I looked up & a car had already pulled over! It was a lady from the church hostel & she gave us a ride in.

The hostel was nice. Threw a load of laundry in right away & sat down to relax a bit. I was just checking my e-mail when all of a sudden I turned around & guess who – my mom & dad showed up! It was quite a surprise, but I thought maybe they’d show up that night after all. We had fun chatting awhile and they met a few of our fellow hikers. After a bit they left to go find a hotel for us and we finished up our laundry. They came back for us shortly and we loaded our stuff in the car. They definitely got a good whiff of “hiker stench” on the ride there, we were still in our sweaty clothes, unshowered.

It was great to settle in @ the hotel & clean up. After a while we went driving around & found a place to eat. During dinner, a huge storm blew in. The sky was black, and the lightning was flashing all around. We were so glad to be indoors!!!

The next couple of days were a whirlwind. Took care of our town chores, did some shopping, a lot of driving and even more eating. It was so much fun. My mom & dad were just planning on staying 2 nights, but when we were ready to get our stuff together to leave, I just felt down and did not want to head out. The weather was also supposed to be bad again. So, they ended up staying one more night. That day we drove up towards Middletown-Westbrookville, actually, where Andy and I use to live. The house we rented was actually for sale. It was neat to see the area again. Weird, though how much we didn’t remember or recognize!

Well, all good things must come to an end, so we headed back to the trail the next morning – Thursday. We all hung out @ the trailhead for a bit, taking pictures & doing the “Minnesota long goodbye” thing. Then we were off – up the trail. We turned and waved and soon were out of sight. We all had a great time. Makes me miss home, but also reminds me it’s there waiting.

Did 18 miles that day, as I wrote about yesterday. Today we were planning on 20, but the terrain has become pretty difficult again. Left camp @ 8 this morning but made horrible time. Did have a couple of Trail magic run-ins, though. Pop, apples, Powerbars – yippee! Also, got a new pair of boots during our “time off” and they need a bit of breaking in. Unfortunately, I have to do it all on the Trail here.

Tonight we’re camped off a road in Harriman State Park. Not sure if “trailside” camping is allowed here, but oh well. Didn’t have energy for 20, so did about 16 instead.