The first 10 miles of New Jersey were similar to Pennsylvania: very rocky. The mountains should have been told that they were crossing a state border and were supposed to stop putting rock obstacles in my path. I did not know that feet could get this sore without being blistered, injured, or operated upon.
One night I stayed at the Mohican Outdoor Center, run by the Appalachian Mountain Club. It was very nice and clean with a shower and real food, which was a big plus. In the dining room that night there was a group of ladies eating at a table, quilters who gather there annually. When I sat down, the waitress asked “Are you a thru-hiker?” When I replied, she told me it was my lucky day. One of the quilters couldn’t attend their get-together, so the leader had instructed the waitress to give her meal to the first thru-hiker that wanted a dinner. So I had a wonderful salad, fennel roasted turkey and roasted finger potatoes with coffee to drink. Trail Magic, but this time I met and thanked the Trail Angel.
A few days later, I was running low on water. Along the Trail there was a beaver pond, but the water looked disgusting so I continued on. Unfortunately, that night’s shelter, Mashipacong, is one of the few without a water source. I was down to 1 liter for the evening, breakfast, and hiking the next day. This was cause for concern, as the next water source was over 5 miles away. After arriving at the shelter and eating, I put my food bag in the bear box (a large box made of steel that a bear can’t open). Much to my surprise, the caretaker of the shelter had placed about 20 gallons of water inside the bear box. Trail Magic! You gotta love it!
I saw another type of wildlife; a porcupine, who hiked with me for about 20 yards then went off on his own. Although I kept a wary eye on him, I wasn’t interesting enough for his notice.
The following night I stayed at High Point shelter with 3 adults and 12 eighth graders. The adult leaders were friendly and the kids were respectful and well-behaved. They attend an environmentally focused charter school and were on a 4-day, sixteen-mile hike.
One of the leaders asked me what I did before I retired, and when I told her I was an anesthetist, she said her daughter has had approximately 30 procedures requiring anesthesia since birth, because of problems with her trachea. Her daughter, who was present, has had a long-term tracheotomy, numerous bronchoscopies and an open procedure on her trachea requiring bypass. She has been treated by the same physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital who treats my grandson, who also has tracheal problems. Small world.
For my next resupply I stayed overnight at a retreat center. They were unbelievably kind to me and other thru-hikers. I was picked up at the trail head, served dinner and breakfast, allowed to wash and dry my laundry, driven to a supermarket for resupply and then back to the trail head. Their facility and grounds, over 500 acres, were beautiful. I awoke to torrential rains the following day so I took a zero, enjoying another night with these extremely nice folks.
A few views on the AT while in New Jersey:
An interesting change: boardwalks through marshes:
Drizzly off & on today but I moved forward. Streams were swollen and the Trail itself, at times, was a small stream.
Not very impressive but now officially out of New Jersey and in the state of New York.