Summary: Unionville 1345.1 Random campsite 1362.1 Total miles: 17 Atypical for us, a number of tents were still up when we left in the morning! Presumably the lights and late night swimmers kept them up or it was Pick of the Litter and his zero day celebrations. Tyler grabbed breakfast sandwiches and donuts from the grocery store. Meanwhile, Emily cooked up her underwear since we would be going a couple more days before we could do laundry.
We got going, after the mini laundry was done, into the extremely humid day. Of course, the first part of the trail was a steep uphill. We stopped at a shelter immediately after to try and avoid what looked to be an impending storm. We got about three drops of rain. We noticed a chipmunk companion and named him King Chipmunk. He apparently was using the spittle of rain to bathe.
After the uphill, we had a series of boardwalks of various complexity. Many, just boards placed across sludgy ground, and then a mile of a fancy bridge over a bog which had a number of locals walking it (dogs, families, wheelchairs, strollers, it was a well built structure indeed). One family of ladies asked us what all these people with the big backpacks were doing. We talked to them about the Appalachian Trail and answered some thoughtful questions like how many pairs of shoes we had gone through so far. They also told us that we were "almost there." Sadly, not quite. A lot more people don't seem to know what the Appalachian Trail is in this section. Seems weird when they are walking on it with us.
*The haze is from the humidity in the air. It is stifiling.
The heat and humidity were starting to get to us, and we were day dreaming about cold drinks. Especially before the upcoming "Stairway to Heaven" climb which we had heard could be brutal. Our prayers were answered for the cold drinks, and a nearby farm had a huge market with wine, cold drinks, and snacks. We stopped in and grabbed two drinks a piece. They certainly hit the spot. We breaked again for perhaps too long since we would still have seven miles to go to hit 20, a big uphill, and it was 5:30. The top of Emily's feet were really bothering her, which meant we had to move carefully. The climb up stairway to heaven was a bit of a challenge, but went by quickly. The more frightening part, was the huge storm that seemed to be rolling its way across the farmland. However, the clouds were all bark and no bite. We made a few more miles, but daylight was fading fast and it was too late and we were too hungry to continue on. Some people may make dinner and then night hike, but we preferred to set up camp so we could have some protection from the mosquitoes. We moved a few hundred yards beyond the shelter, grabbed water from the nearby state park spigot (we're avoiding New Jersey water whenever possible since it's been extremely metallic tasting). Sadly, this spigot water also tasted like pennies, but at least we didn't have to pump it.
We cooked dinner from the safety of our tent as best we could. At one point, Tyler knocked over the stove and pot and managed to set a Sawyer bag on fire (but apparently not enough to give it a leak). The only real bad side to not making 20 miles today was that we would have 10 miles instead of a nice low 7 into Warwick, New York tomorrow. It won't be the end of the world. As long as the mosquitoes don't drag us off.