AT from Blairstown, NJ to DWG, PA Day Hike

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06/17/2006- I am not sure of these dates and this entry is purely for historical purposes. When I completed my backpacking section hike of the AT from Kent, CT (sometime in the 2003-2006 time period) I was supposed to hike to Delaware Water Gap, PA. However, I had arranged with fellow hiker Chuck Bramhall of New York to shuttle me home from DWG to Bristow, VA where I lived at the time. Since I was not making my miles and Chuck had other plans the next few days I asked if he could meet me at the AMC Mohican Outdoor Center in Blairstown, NJ instead of somewhere in DWG, PA. So he did. The only payment he asked for was a good meal along the way. We stopped at a nice sit down restaurant somewhere along I81 (I can't remember the name) and had that good meal, which I paid for. He got me home late that evening. I asked if he wanted to stay over for the night but he said no, thanks and started back to NYC.

Fast forward 2 or 3 years: When I went to do another long backpacking section hike of the AT I had wanted to start where I left off at AMC MOC in Blairstown, NJ. I took an Amtrak Acela train to New York City, then I took a bus back to DWG. As I approached DWG I noticed that the water levels in the streams were very high. Then I noticed that the Delaware River was over it's banks as we crossed the I80 bridge from New Jersey into Pennsylvania. Then the bus driver announced that he could not drop us off at the normal bus stop in DWG because the town was flooded! He dropped us off somewhere on the outskrts west of the town. I was a bit worried at that time. I would be more worried later.

Earlier that month I had sent my backpack to a motel in DWG. The original plan was to get to DWG by bus, stay at the motel there, then get a shuttle to Blairstown the next day by the local outfitter. I would then start the hike where I left off previously and head southbound to Swatara State Park, PA, a distance of about 123 miles. I usually section hiked the AT from north to south when above the Mason-Dixon line so I could end up closer to home in VA. I would stay at a hostel in DWG on night 2.

Even the best plans are derailed because of the weather. I walked through the town of Delaware Water Gap, PA to the motel. It was closed when I got there. I did not know why but I noticed a water line on the building. Then it dawned on me that the water from the Delaware River had gotten half way up the first floor of the motel where I had sent my backpack. Then I panic'd. What if my backpack was on the first floor of this motel and had gotten wet? If so it would be ruined and so would my trip.

I waited around for a short period, then I walked through town to try and find someone to see when the motel would reopen. No one knew. I went by the outfitter that was supposed to shuttle me the next day. His shop doors were open in both the front and the rear. All the merchandise was gone. It looked like it had been totally flooded. I thought to myself, now the trip is surely ruined. The outfitter would be busy restoring his shop and probably would not be able to shuttle me to to MOC. I figured that I could sleep in the hiker hostel sponsered by the local church tonight, then take a bus/train back home tomorrow. Then I walked back to the motel to see if anyone showed up while I was there. Just by chance a car pulled up to the motel. It was the owner of the motel! He told me that the flood had ruined everything on the first floor of the motel. I thought to myself, great, my backpack is ruined. Then he said that he told his staff to place my backpack on the second floor of the motel. He went in to retrieve it. I was on pins and needles. Then, after about 5 minutes, he came out with my backpack. And it was dry!

Things were looking up. I had my backpack but still no way to get to MOC. So I decided to stay at the hiker hostel in DWG that night and then start hiking southbound on the AT the next day. I did, that hike went well. But now I had a 10.5 mile gap in my Appalachian Trail mileage.

07/14/2007- I drove up to New Jersey. I parked my vehicle at a pulloff on I80 where the AT started it's ascent of Kittatany Mountain. I hiked about 5 miles northbound on the AT to Sunfish Pond, turned around and hiked back to my vehicle. Then I drove my vehicle to Camp RD near the Mohican Outdoor Center, parked it, then hiked about 5 miles southbound on the AT to Sunfish Pond, turned around and hiked back to my vehicle. I did pass a few people that day. I remember walking by an area and hearing a snake rattling but could not see it as I was heading back to my vehicle on Camp RD. I then passed a pretty lady and told her to be careful up ahead as I heard a snake but could not see it. She thanked me and hiked on. I drove home that day.

It was a long day. I had hiked about 20 miles and drove about 600 miles that day. I did not hike the AT parallel to I80 that day. But I drove it and felt that was sufficient. I was then again continuous in my quest to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

Mike C



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