(We have probably had many writing errors in our blog posts! Sorry for that. It is a mixture of writing on our phones and trying to pump out daily post as we fall behind and try to catch up!)
8:45 am start. It had rained throughout the night but we were under my fancy tarp I had purchased before leaving Hamburg PA. Rain was still in the forecast today so we headed out to try and beat it. Didn’t make it far, at 9:30 am it stared raining, hard. Soaked, we hiked on as by now this was just what we did. No need to take cover or wait it out. The weather was perfect. The rain stopped as we came to High Point overlook where in the distance we could see the Veterans Memorial. It was a tall obelisk structure to honor war veterans – construction started in 1928 and it was completed in 1930 and it stands 220 feet!
Not much more happened as we hiked on. The clouds were parting and it looked like the rest of the day might be sunny. We walked along a boardwalk which snaked its way through the thick vegetation for about .3 miles. We soon were approaching the small trail town of Unionville, New York. I forgot to mention, the AT snakes back an forth between the border of NJ and NY in several spots. This was around mile 20 so we had already pushed pretty hard today. Walking into town we passed a general store and up ahead saw a pizzeria. Do I need to say more? The small pizzeria had an extensive menu with lots of delicious choices. We both settled on a calzone. It was big, delicious and cheesy. We have been quite spoiled with food lately, these trail towns were impossible for us to not stop. This stop allowed us to rest our feet as we still had 17 more miles to do today. A local guy chatted us up talking about the local area and how we would soon be coming to a large bird sanctuary! Maybe we would see some interesting birds? He also said we wouldn’t make it the 17 miles to Wawayanda State Park because it was so late. We just looked at each other with a knowing look. Oh, we would make it kind fellow, don’t you worry. Nearby there was the local general store which we stopped by to grab some ice cream and some Powerade to bring with us.
It was around 6:00 pm when we finally stepped off. It looked to be another long day/night as we walked out of Unionville. The local was right, we came to a huge swampy man made bird sanctuary. The trail walked along the side as small birds chirped away. Not too much to see as dusk was falling and we were hurrying to make good time. The trail ended up looping back almost to the road we had just walked along to get to the bird sanctuary. A few steep, sweaty puds later we were walking down the other side of the NJ hills. We passed a huge bubble of people too as we hiked on – looks like we were going to be ahead of the pack for now.
We walked along an extremely well maintained raised boardwalk through the tall catfish reeds and views of the distant rolling hills. It was a nice night, as the sun was setting and the sky turned a lovely pink. We crossed Walkill Creek Bridge which ended our boardwalk walk. The darkness was creeping in now and we still had about 6 miles to go and a giant pud to do. The fireflies came out, dancing around us and making a mystical walk through the dark. There were so many, I had never seen so many in such a small space. They quickly disappeared as the night grew even darker, we ascended a steep rocky pud as my headlamp lit the way. It was a 500ft climb in about .3 miles. So, it was pretty much straight up. At the top, we stopped for out Powerade break and took in much needed electrolytes. From here it was downhill to Wawayanda State Park. It was already 10:30 pm so we didn’t dawdle around. Moving as fast as we could in the dark we arrived at a road crossing with a cooler of sodas! Jackpot! Drinking two sodas each in about 5 seconds we pushed passed. Thank you kind stranger!
11:30 pm. We arrived at the state park. We found a spot on the side of a blue blaze trail that offered us quick access to the visitor center which had a bathroom and water. We filled the Katadyn with warm bathroom water and were able to take a somewhat warm shower!
38 mile day complete.