A beautiful morning, then hitting the New Jersey boardwalks on a sunny Independence Day.
After a few miles I was able to walk 0.4 miles up a road to reach a gas station called End Of The Line, with a small store and a range of freshly made sandwiches. Perfect! I ate an egg, bacon and cheese roll there and bagged up a turkey and mayo roll for later. The gas station appears to not be in New Jersey as that welcome sign was a hundred yards east of it.
But neither could it be in New York as that sign was a hundred yards west! The trail is close to the border (clearly) right now but doesn’t enter New York full time until tomorrow. As it’s the 4th of July though it seems appropriate to include this sign:
Returning to the trailhead there was a sign by the stream that was right here. It says, “2 dead pigs upstream. Confirmed 1/7, it’s really gross.” I had seen one of the unfortunate animals myself. This is one of the reasons we have to filter or treat our water – you never know what lies upstream.
And then the trail was on country roads for a mile before entering Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge. This was 2 or 3 miles of very beautiful wild swamp and grasslands. There were lots of birds, butterflies and herons galore! That section, enjoyed on a glorious summer morning with it all to myself, was one of my favourite sections of the trail.
Then there was a steep 500′ climb to Pochuck Shelter where I took a mid-morning break and used the facilities. Even though it was noon I wasn’t very hungry after my egg sandwich so I tackled the rest of the climb, another 300′ of rocks.
The day was hot now and the top of my left ankle was bothering me enough to slow me down. When I stopped for lunch just on rocks by the trail about 12:45pm I put on a light brace and that helped. As did the sandwich – the moist turkey meat slices were piled an inch thick!
The early afternoon featured several North Carolina-style PUDs (Pointless Ups and Downs) which were also rocky so the going was slow especially in the heat of the early afternoon hours.
Being Independence Day and the ease of this section there were quite a lot of families (frequently with dangerous dog breeds noticeably) enjoying the walk. I wonder how many even know what it is they are walking on.
Somewhat frazzled under the hot sun I popped into Heaven Hill garden centre as they do ice cream, some cakes, cold drinks and fruit. And other things not useful to a hiker. I cooled down with a chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, lemonade, a quarter of a watermelon and an apple strudel.
I had been working hard on a hot day since 7:15am but now it was 4:30pm and I had only done 13.5 miles. Where has the day gone? So now I approached the final section of the day which happened to be a 900′ steep rocky climb. This is not the approach view you want to see at 4:30pm I can tell you.
Since this climb and viewpoint are also popular locally I had to get past the viewpoint to get back into normal quiet AT territory in order to find a campsite. It was heading towards 6pm and had clouded over by now with rain forecast soon. I found an old stealth spot and used it with relief. Unfortunately the day had provided sufficient evidence that more Imodium was required plus I skipped dinner. I will have a zero after tomorrow so hopefully it will clear up completely then.
Plenty of big fireworks could be heard starting around 9pm. The Americans celebrate their Independence from Britain every single year which seems a bit much. It’s like having an annual divorce party, it comes across as obsessive. #satire