High Point Shelter(1337.8) to Vernon, NJ(1356.7) 18.9 Miles
I slept great last night. The ice cold swim in Marcia lake soothed my sore joints and going to bed after a nice shower was fantastic. My new goal for the next leg of this hike is to be able to shower and swim in lakes every other day, which is totally doable. I have a relatively relaxing week planned, which includes deli's, swimming, and showering. I can't wait.
I was out of camp a little later than usual because I had to filter water. I can't wait until I get my new filter on Saturday. My quality of life will improve with one simple purchase. Lil Freebird waited patiently for me to finish filtering and we started out. Since we hike the same pace we stuck together all day again.
The morning was very humid and extremely overcast. We cruised through the easy rock free terrain. I forgot what it was like to be able to look around while I hike. With the constant rocks of the past two weeks, all I've seen is the ground. We had a small uohill climb from the shelter, but when it was done we came out into a fantastic meadow.
The next few miles were great. Pretty rock free and great trail. We hit a super swampy section, but the trail mainters had put in an awesome boardwalk for us.
My only complaint about the boardwalk was the lack of Nathan's hotdogs and carnival games. Not quite what I imagined when I read about New Jerseys amazing boardwalks. We had several sections of this today, including one part that was a mile long. I can't imagine the time and effort the volunteers put in to create something like this.
When the boardwalk sections would end we would either come out onto a county road, or a cool little meadow with big views. We probably crossed 20 roads today, both paved and gravel. We are definitely in a small forested corridor.
We had one really tough climb today. It has been several hundred miles since we have had an extended uphill like this. It amazed me how quickly my leg muscles have changed. A month ago this climb wouldn't have felt so hard, or maybe it was just because the rocks reappeared. Even though it was difficult we absolutely crushed it. We climbed for 1.3 miles and it only took us 35 minutes.
The remainder of the hike was pretty cool. We crossed over the one mile section of boardwalk. It was an open field so it was easy to look around and appreciate the beauty. The boardwalk was a much higher quality work of art. It was almost wide enough to fit two people side by side.
The boardwalk ended just short of NJ 94, which was our destination for the day. 0.1 miles off trail was, Heaven Hill Farm. A store that was part nursery, organic farm, general store, winery, and ice cream shop. We bought lemonades and milkshakes. It was kind if a weird combination, but we were really thirsty. The late part of the day was out in the open and it got really hot today. As we sat outside trying to figure out how to make it into town, 2.4 miles away, 2 BAD dogs came strolling in. They had to be at the post office before it closed at 5:00 to pickup a maildrops. They offered to split a cab with us. After, Airlock's bad experience last week, I didn't want to try to hitch hike. The cab only cost us $5, which seemed like a bargain to me.
We were dropped off at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. They run a hiker hostel out of a meeting room type space. They offered a shower, laundry, and soft drinks. All they requested was for people to leave a $10 donation. We quickly showered and got our laundry started. The room was booked from 6:30-9:00 for two AA meetings. We didn't want to stick around for that, so we went out for pizza and to resupply. Both went great. The pizza place was really good and the local grocery store was fantastic. When we arrived back at the hostel 2 BAD dogs were there, along with Honey Badger, and Pig Pen. It was a fun night and I was able to get some of my gear fixed up. This town trip was a total success in my book.
"I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." -Stephen Hawking