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Appalachian Trail 2003 - Chelsea's Journals

Entry #98 - July 19, 2003

9:25 PM - Not sure what happened, but we slept until 8:00. That's basically 12 hours of sleep! Didn't get going until almost 10:00.

It was only about 4 miles until our first break, though. A bakery right off the trail. We had to resupply there, too, and unfortunately they didn't have much of a selection. Mac & cheese & some power bars & crackers. Yech! Gave my mom a call while we were there just to make sure their phone was working ok, so that we can contact them on Tuesday. Also ended up having a cheeseburger @ a grill down the way. Really shouldn't have, but oh well. Andy is getting very concerned that he's not eating enough.

Left around 1:00 with 12 more miles planned. Somewhere around 7 or 8, I was bonking. Sometimes you just feel like the last thing you want to do is hike. There are still miles left to your destination, you're thirsty, your feet hurt, and you're stubbing your toes on every damn rock on the trail. Finally we arrived at a shelter a few miles from our planned stop. There was some Trail magic in the bear box. Drink mix for our water and candy. We had also found some at the shelter last night. It was all from a guy named Desperado. Things were looking up a bit. Took the trail down to the road where there was supposed to be water. There was a parking lot, but no stream or anything. We were wondering what to do, when we saw a bunch of water jugs just up the trail. Someone had been bringing them out. Found one with about a liter left and filled up. Just then a guy came down to get the jugs & refill them. He asked if we'd heard of Desperado. We told him we had, and he said we were about to meet him! We walked back to the parking lot, and it was him, there to fill up the jugs for thru-hikers. The back of his Explorer was filled with goodies, and he immediately got us something to drink and some cookies. After we snacked, he went through a whole host of info about the Trail-towns we'd be coming to, where the best places to stay are, etc. What a nice guy - a professional Trail Angel, I guess! He said he's been doing it for 30+ years!

Finally moved on around 7, feeling much better. Just an hour ago, I had been down in the dumps and I actually said to myself that the only good thing about NJ was Desperado and his Trail Magic and then we meet him. Strange how things happen.

From there it was just under 3 miles to the Rutherford Shelter and we booked, since I am not too fond of hiking in dwindling light. Got to the shelter sign just before 8, and we could see it was straight down to the ridge. Decided there was no way we were hiking down (.4 miles besides) and made the decision to go on. If worse came to worse, it was just 3 more miles to water & the state park.

Ended up finding a spot not much further. We are on an awesome rock ridge, and can see forever off of it, to the East. We can see New York City, we think, and there are a bunch of fireworks going off all over. We're going to try to get up for sunrise.

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Preparing to Hike the Appalachian Trail?

Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers include the Appalachian Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail Conference), the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters, and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent tools for use during a long distance hike.




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