Date: June 21, 2012
Day number: 101
Wake info: 0537h @ the mosquito infested campsite just south of Rattlesnake Mtn to journal. Out of the hammock at 0645h.
Start Mile Marker (MM) & Time of Day (TOD): 1309.8 mile @ 0710h at campsite near Rattlesnake Mtn
Pain scale AM (1-10): 2
Happiness scale AM (1-10): 7
Hunger scale AM (1-10): 5
Start weather: Clear, calm (unfortunately), pleasant, low 70s. Another hot day is predicted.
End MM & TOD: 1330.3 mile @ 1952h at High Point State Park
Approximate miles covered today: 21.2 miles
Pain scale PM (1-10): 3
Happiness scale PM (1-10): 7
Hunger scale PM (1-10): 2
End weather: Hot, humid, clear, lower 90s
Resting time: 4:19
Bedtime: In hammock @ 2245h to read. Asleep by 2246h.
Where slept: hammock @ stealth site near the Park's beach
Money spent: $6 for chips, a tasteless sandwich, and bad service
Resupply: Sort of. I need to make a 4-day box of food last 5 days.
Trail conditions: In the morning a mix of rocky and smooth. Some rocks are wet from underground seeps so be careful! After that, the Trail became very rocky again. The last four days have been carbon copies of each other! Some of the Trail is unprotected from the sun, and much of it is not well-maintained. All day there were too many grasses and weedy plants to push through!
Issues with Equipment and Clothing:
- My shirt is getting holey!
- The water filter is starting to get hard to pump, indicating it may need to be replaced soon.
Liters of water consumed: 14 Liters
Approx fuel burn time: 12 minutes
Approx. pack weight: 40 lbs
Number of river fords: 0
Number of paved road X-ings: 3
Number of road miles: 6 miles (to make up time, I road walked from Culvers Gap to Sunrise Mtn, with a stop for water at Gren Anderson Shelter. I'll remind the purists out there that I've already hiked this section in August and technically don't need to walk it again.)
Number of named mountain summits: 2
Number of mountain summits: 1
Number of wrong turns: 0
Number of times I stubbed a toe: 17
Number of times I've fallen: 1 (Some of the rocks today are slanted on the side of the mountain. Most are dry, but a few have a thin film of water on them due to an underground seep. If the rocks are in the sun it is easy to tell which are dry and which are wet. The rock slab I slipped on was not sun lit and even after the fall I couldn't tell it was wet until I touched it. My feet just slipped out from under me, sideways. I landed on my right hip, elbow, and forearm. I'm not injured, but have abrasions on my forearm. I keep wondering when the day will come that I fall and really do some damage.
Number of bugs swallowed: 0
Number and location of showers: 0
Songs playing in my head:
- The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
- Under Pressure - Queen
- Down Under - Men At Work
- Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John
- Candle in the Wind - Elton John
Happenings at home: The kids played D&D and other games at a friend's house all day. Kathleen dropped off supplies for me at Chris' house.
Companions (Assume thru-hikers unless noted SH for Section Hiker or DH for Day Hiker): Houdini in passing. He was the only other hiker, thru or otherwise, that I laid eyes on today.
Trail Magic: None
Flora: Sorry, I was too busy watching the rocks!
Fauna: A large black bear on top of a hill munching on blueberries; it ran away as soon as it heard me. A deer in front of Green Anderson Shelter - it didn't see me and came rather close. Two beaver. Tons of squirrel and chipmunks, which, by the way, make more noise when they scamper than an adult bear - they startle me all the time! Whippoorwills, which I haven't heard since Shenandoah. Lots of frogs today. In fact, a dozen bullfrogs are serenading me right now while I prepare for sleep. Did I mention the mosquitoes? Fireflies (See Notes section below)
Vistas: Several today.
Attractions: Not "Joes To Go"! High Point State Park - I wish I were here at a time that the concessions and beach were open, though. This is the highest point in the state of New Jersey.
State of body: My left knee is a little swollen, but I'm not in pain. My left foot is what's hurting the most on me. There's a hot spot on the Achilles tendon and the pad of the foot is very tender. Too many miles on too many rocks. I'm ready to hike on dirt again!
State of mind: I'm ready to hike on dirt again!
- I awoke, broke camp with extreme celerity, and departed without breakfast because the mosquitoes were swarming - not as bad as last night, but bad. I'm outta here!
- I was the Web Walker this morning. Some of the strands were so thick I could actually hear then snapping as I walked through them. No joke!
- It's hot and humid today, but not as bad as yesterday. And there's a bit of a breeze that feels nice on the hill tops!
- It was hot and I needed water (which is very scarce today) so decided to eat at "Joes To Go" sandwich shop (with no tables or chairs) right off the Trail at US 206 at Culvers Gap. A sign on the door said, "Don't worry about the dog, beware of owner!" so I thought I should wash up, wear a clean shirt, and be extra polite. I thought, however, that he would be friendly to hikers because he had hiker signs out front and a bench for my "rear and gear." Big mistake! He was an old curmudgeon who ran a cash only business, wouldn't let me charge my phone on one of his six empty outlets, and refused to refill my water bottle. Oh I could pay for water, no problem. When I said I would pay to charge my phone, he got a mean grin on his face and said, "Five dollars." His regulars just laughed. When I tried to explain that the electricity for half an hour of charging was costing him much less than one penny and that it would be a nice way to attract hikers, he went nuts and threw me out of the place! He started yelling at me saying, "you guys are bleeding me! Get the #$&@ out of my store! Now!" Then starts chanting, "Obama! Obama! Obama!" Looney-tunes! He did have nice A/C, but his food was tasteless. I'm telling every SOBO I meet to avoid this place! Go to the Gyp Tavern instead.
- Here's a physics lesson for Joe To Go - the guy who kicked me out of his store for suggesting that hikers be allowed to charge their phones in his store. Get your calculators ready! If we assume that my Razr is a 2 watt smartphone (it is), and that I was going to charge it for an hour (I wasn't, only 30 minutes), and that electricity in Jersey costs - oh let's go crazy - $0.20/kWh (it's actually more like $0.12/kWh), then to charge my phone would have cost his business a whopping $0.0004 or 0.04 CENTS! In other words, if 25 hikers had come into his store today (they didn't) and charged their phones each for one hour, the electricity would have cost him exactly one penny! That's not even penny wise and pound foolish. That's 1/25th penny wise and pound foolish! Good grief!
- I saw Houdini at the Gren Anderson Shelter. (Yay, I'm not alone out here!) He, too, complained of the swarms of mosquitoes last night. But he didn't sleep outside. Rather, he hiked south<\b> nearly 3 miles back to a hotel. When a thru-hiker walks backwards for three miles, you know the bugs were horrendous!
- In most of the wooded areas, especially near water, the mosquitoes, black flies, and horse flies were just too aggressive to pause for any length of time. In some stretches, mosquitoes and biting flies were in crazy numbers! For perhaps a mile today the mosquitoes were so bad that I always had several on me - while I was hiking. Fast. Amazingly tenacious critters! With hiking poles under my arms I would be swatting with both hands nonstop while walking. I must have been a sight!
- There was excellent 3G phone strength at the Gren Anderson and Mashipacong Shelters.
- I'm excited to meet my friends, Ozzie and Chris, tomorrow. They will be joining me on the AT for three days.
- I made it to the State Park in two days after leaving Pennsylvania. When I did the same section (minus three miles) in August, it took me four days! What a difference 1300 miles makes, huh?
- The High Point Monument, which looks like the Washington Monument in DC, was lit up with numerous spotlights and it looked quite impressive up there on the hill.
- There's a nice breeze blowing tonight. And to top it all off, there was a fantastic light show put on by a few hundred lightning bugs in the forest! Like flashbulbs popping in a dark stadium, or the little twinkling of the embers at the end of a major firework. I tried to photograph and video the scene, but there just wasn't enough light. In a way I'm glad it couldn't be captured and recorded - that the show was for my eyes only. I just wish all my friends and family could have witnessed it with me. I'm not sure if I've ever seen a firefly display so magical.
Lessons learned/confirmed today:
- Mosquitoes and biting flies are to a hiker what spurs and a lash are to a horse.
- Rotate the tips of your hiking poles so they wear evenly. (I did not do this at first.)
Droid Phone Notes: I charged the phone and the PEG in the bathroom AT the State Park's beach parking lot. I actually journaled while the phone charged. It's hot in here even at 10:30 pm!