(129) Monday, July 28, 8:00PM
I forgot to mention that I was stung by a bee yesterday. It happened very near the end of the day. The bee stung me on my calf, through my socks! I didn't even notice the bee until I felt it sting me. It must have gotten stuck in my sock and couldn't free itself. Since I'm fairly allergic to bee stings, I dropped my pack and immediately began applying a treatment that I carry with me. I'm pleased that this only my first sting so far. I was pleased this morning to find that my foot wasn't all swollen. I didn't have much discomfort hiking today until this afternoon, then each flex of that calf muscle would stretch the swelled area. I hope it feels better tomorrow.
I saw another bear today. Again it was a close encounter right on the trail. I suppose we were both grazing on the same patch of wild blueberries. The shelter I'm tenting near tonight had several warnings in the register regarding bears. There is even a large steel bear-proof box for our food. I hope my bear encounters continue to be non-eventful.
The Trail came right by Kittatinny Lake this afternoon at Culvers Gap. I enjoyed a good barbeque dinner there with only three miles to go to camp. It was nice to be able to set up camp tonight without having to worry about cooking.
The rain last night made today a little bit cooler and breezier, but still very humid. I'm told that another heavy storm is expected overnight tonight and that the long coveted high pressure system will follow that bringing cooler drier days. I really look forward to that.
I've been doing a lot of thinking on the Trail lately, mostly about Christine. I find that kind of ironic, because I never intended to have a girlfriend while taking this trip. Right now all the other things that I had originally intended to have occupy my thoughts are just not able to push Christine out of my mind.
18.1 Miles Today, 1299.9 MTD
(130) Tuesday, July 29, 7:30PM
The hot weather finally broke. Today was cool, clear and dry; a very nice hiking day. It would have been better if I didn't have to spend the day hiking on rocks worthy of being in PA. I also got stuck not carrying enough water which was very evident when I passed a dry water source on which I had depended. When I finally reached the water pump at High Point State Park I drank a half gallon, even though it tasted and smelled strongly of sulfur. I'll be more cautious in the future.
I'm already in my tent ready for bed thanks to the fairly short day I hiked to day. I did this intentionally to set up my planned stay at the Apple Valley Inn; supposedly a real treat. They do my laundry, feed me dinner and breakfast and provide a nice room all for a very discounted hiker rate. I'm looking forward to that tomorrow.
I'm still not back to 100% from my illness, but each day brings more strength. I seem to get hot and tired more quickly right now. I really look forward to having my stamina back soon. I have two long days planned for Thursday and Friday to get me into Fort Montgomery early on Saturday for mail. I hope I'm up to the push.
12.9 Miles Today, 1312.8 MTD
(131) Wednesday, July 30, 4:00PM
I'm sitting right now in my room at the Apple Valley Inn B&B. This place is everything and more than I could have hoped for. I have showered and toured the house as my clothes are being washed. This 180 year old house feels like home. I'm the only guest tonight, so John & Mitzi are going out and leaving me the run of the place.
Today was an absolutely perfect day. It was everything that I wanted yesterday to be. It was again a cool clear and dry day, but the trail was hardly rocky at all, and I had plenty of water. I was on the trail today at 7:30AM and covered all fifteen miles by 1:15. What a great way to cover some miles.
I am now resting my feet in preparation for the more strenuous 22 miles that I have planned for tomorrow. All this is to set me up for a morning arrival on Saturday in Fort Montgomery to get my mail. So far so good.
My bee sting has been reduced to a nagging itch. The whole area of my calf that had swollen is now itching like mad. This is not to be confused with other parts of my feet that itch due to my latest case of poison ivy. This is only my third case so far, and initially this one seems no worse than the other two. It's always something.
15.2 Miles Today, 1328 MTD
(132) Thursday, July 31, 9:00PM
Hello New York; good-bye New Jersey. Eight states down and six more to go. I really feel like I'm cruising now. I pulled the long day as planned, but this afternoon really wore me out. There were about eight miles, right as I crossed the state line that really strained me. Otherwise the day was filled with some pretty fair hiking.
The stay at the Apple Valley Inn last night was a real treat. I was fed like a king. Mitzi fixed me a feast before she left, so I ate by myself. She fixed me four fried chicken breasts in honey-Dijon sauce; four ears of summer sweet corn; a half a plate of stewed squash; a large spinach salad with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers; and all that washed down with a pitcher of iced tea and a beer. I ate all the above except for one ear of corn and some of the salad greens. Everything else slid right down the gullet. I guess I'm just getting so tired of my trail food that my appetite really kicks into gear in the presence of real home cooking. I also enjoyed a generous helping of lemon sherbet after my meal settled.
It all continued the next morning when she called me to breakfast at 6:50AM; early at my request. I ate all twelve buttermilk pancakes she made for me; the three sausage patties; three eggs; and washed it down with some coffee and orange juice. She then shuttled me back to the Trail so that I was hiking before 8:00AM. It couldn't have worked out any better.
I was fortunate to encounter a farmer's store right along the trail at lunch time today. I enjoyed some cold drinks and fresh produce. The peaches and plums were just lucious. I also came across the juiciest, plumpest, and ripest blueberry patch yet. I really took some time out to stuff several handfuls into my mouth. Theses berries were so ready to be picked that it took no coaxing to pluck them from the bush. They almost jumped right into my hand as I waved it under the fruit.
Hey ! What's up with this food theme?! Dinner tonight was very anti-climactic after such an epicurean day. I really don't need to apologize, though; needing whatever it takes to keep some weight on this body. I have another long day planned for tomorrow, so I hope I didn't burn off all that food today. I'm going to need some of that energy tomorrow.
22.2 Miles Today, 1350.2 MTD