Summary: Cross into New Jersey cross 1300 miles
Delaware Water Gap, PA: 1293.6
Random Campsite: 1308.1
Total miles: 14.5
On the way to breakfast at the Deer Head Inn, we made a quick stop at the outfitters to pick up fuel, new socks for Tyler (a pair ripped apart), and shorty shorts for Tyler since his others were too big and heavy. The outfitters had opened early, which was convenient, and the guy working there told us about the Delaware Gap Special. You get a beer and a slice of pie from the nearby bakery and hike the few miles out to Sunfish Pond to celebrate the fact that you are once and for all done with Pennsylvania. We felt jubilant but didn't participate in the DWG special.
Brunch at the Deer's Head was great and the waitress was kind enough to keep refilling our waters and coffees as we worked up the courage to leave. Ducky also arrived and she certainly did not make it easier to leave since we were all having such a good time in the cafe.
At noon we, including Ducky now, did actually take to the trail (after a quick ice cream stop). We quickly crossed into New Jersey while halfway across the Delaware River. And just over the river, Emily found Monty napping on a bench. He woke up and joined our merry crew.
Once we made it into the woods, the rocks, sadly, continued. We had heard a few different accounts. Some had said the rocks suddenly just end at the border, others said they slowly get better, and stop others said that rocks are just the way life is now. We at least hoped that they would slowly get better. But it didn't really happen, at least not today.
We took a brief break at Sunfish Pond, sans Delaware Gap Special. Ducky and Dean found a big bag of trash that some day hikers had left behind. We tried to ask one group of day hikers to hike it out when they were leaving, but they said that the trash wasn't theirs and that they would be at the pond for a while which apparently was enough of an answer. The next group, while skeptical, did hike the trash out.
We hiked another few miles to the Mohican Outdoor Center, where they were preparing the Saturday night barbecue. It smelled delicious, but was a little pricey and we all had heavy food bags we wanted to start depleting. Still, we grabbed some drinks, more ice cream, and water before heading off. So far, all the steam water sources we had seen around have been the color of weak coffee with strong red overtones. Monty stayed behind at the outdoor center to chat with his mother, and the rest of us headed off.
* Good ol' Jersey water
Luckily, before the campsite, there was a clear spring. However, the camp site we wanted to stop at was fairly busy, and the weekenders already set up warned us that they were going to be noisy, so we moved on another mile before setting up at a disused campsite fifty or so feet off the trail. It ended up being a great spot and we could look down on long grass in a valley as the Sun went down. The bugs were out in heavy numbers too, and these New Jersey bog mosquitoes seem unfazed by any bug spray we used.
We ended the night listening to Ducky singing random bits of songs with her lovely voice as we sat around our cooking pots. Both Ducky and Dean are singers. Dean has to make 150 miles in the next week, but this time seems pretty unconcerned with sticking to a strict plan to make it. Hopefully it's a sign of good morale and faith that the rocks will diminish.