Summary: Random campsite: 1308.1 Gren Anderson Shelter: 1325 Total Miles: 16.9 We were hiking at 9:15. We passed a large group that looked like they were from a camp, perhaps backpacking for the first time. Their packs were all at least as big as they were and they did not look very happy. The rocky terrain continued today, but there are starting to be frequent breaks. So, instead of ten continuous miles of rocks, we get a mile of rocks followed by a mile of smooth. Sometimes it lets our feet just relax enough to hurt. Some day hikers from New Jersey gave us some grapes and cherries. They asked us if we found Jersey beautiful. While a lot of it is just as nice as the rest of the AT, or just as tree'd in, there has been a lot more ponds and bogs here which has been nice to see. Bodies of water have been disturbingly lacking. Of course, that probably accounts for the sudden, mighty increase in mosquitos. Our break at a stream was ill planned. Dean and Ducky had pushed on to a ridge top, while we took our break near a stream. Until recently, that would have been a fine choice. Now, we both had several new bug bites to show for our break. We have started taking garlic pills upon some recommendations to supplement bug spray. It does seem to be helping. There are just too many New Jersey bog mosquitoes. We stopped after 13.9 miles to head up to Gyp's tavern for a late lunch. Gyp's is awesome. We ordered some food and had lunch by a lake in the back porch. If we had longer, we would have gone swimming, but time just goes by too fast when we finally get to relax. The area was extremely generous to some other hikers. French Press and Lazy Boy were given $20 from a random lady to put towards food or beer or whatever. Another hiker, as soon as he took his pack off, was offered a beer by another patron. Yet another hiker got a free pizza when the kitchen accidentally made an extra. We did not get so lucky, but it didn't matter, porch sitting by the lake was enough.
We spent two and a half hours at Gyp's before heading out again. We fully intended to go 8.8 miles to the second shelter, but, after three miles, and Dean's wise suggestion, we stopped at the first shelter. Relaxing is hard. It reminds us that there are better ways to live than constantly hiking. So we needed some more of it this evening. Stopping early was great. We actually had time to read, chat, and make our second dinner without feeling like we were pushing into our bedtime. Ducky and Dean both said they would head out early the next day, but we figured we would just keep up our routine. With any luck, the rocks will keep getting better and we will be able to crank out twenty miles in a normal amount of time (that is, about eight hours).