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AT 2017: Day 99, Delaware Water Gap to Mohican Outdoor Center

They call it that Jersey Bounce

Hike with Gravity

This morning was our last morning in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, it was without any rocks.

The same could not be said about the afternoon in New Jersey. Nevertheless, the morning and afternoon were made pleasant by sunny weather and good times with friends.

Weather Mostly sunny and warm, with a high temperature in the mid 80s
Trail Conditions Pennsylvania rocks become New Jersey rocks
Today's Miles 10.8 miles
Trip Miles 1,304.4 miles

Because we didn’t arrive in Delaware Water Gap until late yesterday, there wasn’t time to resupply for the next section of our hike. That meant today would be a nero, a near-zero mileage day, to give us time for resupplying.

This town didn’t have a grocery store, or even a convenience store or Dollar General. Stick made arrangements with a shuttle driver known as Kenny Ole Dawg to pick us up at 7:30 a.m. That would allow us to do our shopping at a Walmart in nearby East Stroudsburg.

Delaware Water Gap also didn’t have a laundromat, but we were able to wash out some of the sweat and dirt from our hiking clothes while we waited for the pickup time. We used a couple buckets and a garden hose, which were provided by the church parishioners for hikers.

Old Dawg arrived soon after we had hung our clothes to dry on a line. The trip to Walmart only took 10 minutes.

After we completed our shopping, Stick and I walked across the parking lot to a Burger King to get some breakfast. That’s where Old Dawg picked us up for the return trip to the church.

By the time we returned, most of the hikers who had stayed at the church last night had already left. Uncle Heather was still here, and Stick and I had a nice and sometimes deep chat with her (she identifies as female, but on the trail prefers to present as male) about diversity and inclusion on the trail.

Once we had organized our food purchases and repacked, we were finally ready to get back on the trail. The time was just after noon.

Setting out, we only walked two blocks before spotting Zoe’s Ice Cream Emporium, which required a stop for milkshakes.

Zoe's was located in an interesting old building called Castle Inn, which dates back to 1906. It was the last of the hotels constructed during Delaware Water Gap’s heyday as a resort destination.

It’s said that Enrico Caruso and John Phillip Sousa performed here. Heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney trained here before his second fight against Jack Dempsey.

Big Band leader Fred Waring purchased the hotel in 1952 and turned it into an office building for his music publishing business. Though no longer a hotel, several small businesses besides the ice cream shop were now located here.

Zoe's was much like an old fashioned soda shop, complete with marble countertop and small, round tables. Two hikers I had not yet met but had seen before on the trail were there, sitting at the counter. They don’t have individual trail names, but call themselves “The Honeymooners” because they were recently married.

RedEye sat with us at one of the small tables as we enjoyed milkshakes. Boomer and Jason were also here, but remained outside with Maple.

After leaving the ice cream shop, we passed another building that was part of Castle Inn. It was a large reception hall that, from the outside at least, appeared to be beautifully restored.

Walking a couple blocks farther, we reached Interstate 80, which becomes Christopher Columbus Highway as it crosses the Delaware River.

The Appalachian Trail also crosses the river here. The sidewalk rumbled and vibrated as trucks and cars zoomed past us.

About halfway across the bridge, we reached the state line. This was the seventh state line we crossed and certainly the noisiest one.

We stopped here to take pictures. Stick’s photos of me turned out to be photos of his finger. We both had a good laugh about that later when I took a look at the photos.

At least we didn’t have the same kind of mishap that happened to RedEye just a few minutes later. She, Boomer and Jason also stopped to take pictures. As they posed for their photos, RedEye leaned her trekking poles against the bridge railing. The vibration of the large trucks caused one of her poles to slip through a gap in the railing and fall into the river.

By the time they caught up to me they had gotten over the initial shock of seeing the pole dive into the river and were laughing about it.

The trail began a long, rocky climb up to the top of a ridge in Worthington State Forest, which was adjacent to the New Jersey side of Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

I was no longer in Rocksylvania, but rocks are rocks, and there were plenty of them here.

After about four miles of walking up and along the ridge called Raccoon Ridge, I came to Sunfish Pond. In the Northeast, large bodies of water are often called ponds, not lakes. This was certainly a large one. It covered 41 acres and was created by a glacier during the last ice age.

According to a sign posted nearby, the pond got its name because pumpkinseed sunfish are among the few species of fish that can live in the water. The pond is too acidic for many species.

Apparently the water wasn’t too acidic for amphibians or humans because I saw a frog and Redeye, who had both been swimming here.

The trail rounded the north side of the pond for just over a half mile. I stopped for lunch in the middle of that section when I found a large boulder to sit on and enjoy the light breeze coming off the pond.

After leaving the pond, the trail continued along Raccoon Ridge. There were a few views from here of the Delaware River and the Pocono Mountains to the north, and Lower Yards Creek Reservoir to the south. Seeing clouds forming in the sky, I thought rain might be on the way, but it never appeared.

The trail passed several campsites on the ridge. Late in the day I passed where Redeye, Jason and Boomer had stopped to camp, then later saw where Simple and Uncle Heather were camped. Simple said mosquitoes were bad there.

Stick and I had agreed to stop at Mohican Outdoor Center, a facility with group and family camping sites, as well as cabins. It is operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club.

I arrived there well after 7 p.m., the time the office was closed. This was a large facility and I didn’t have a map, so I had no choice but to wander about the campground to look for Stick. The one thing I had going for me was that Stick will talk to anybody he sees, so I figured someone would know where he was.

The first people I saw were some boys playing in the road. I asked them if they met Stick. Yes, they had, but didn't have any idea where he was camped.

Next I asked some campers if they knew where Stick in the Woods was. No, but one camper offered to pull out a map to find “Stick in in the Woods”. I had to explain I was looking for a hiker, not a campsite.

It was getting dark by now, but soon after more wandering about I found Stick. He had set up his tent in what he thought was a campsite, but it was really the intersection of a couple trails.

Stick told me the boys who claimed they didn’t know where he was had helped him find the spot.

At any rate, it was a flat spot so I pitched my tent there too. Unfortunately, we didn’t count on this spot being such a busy trail intersection. For much of the night, even past midnight, people walked by, usually talking to each other at full volume.

Apparently, "Hiker Midnight" means nothing to these people.

They call it that Jersey Bounce
A rhythm that really counts
The temperature always mounts
Whenever they play the funny rhythm they play

It started on Journal Square
And somebody heard it there
They put it right on the air
And now you'll hear it everywhere


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine." ref.