Delaware Water Gap [mile 1915; SOBO 896.6]
I’m in Pennsylvania! I’m in Pennsylvania! I’ve never been so excited to be in Pennsylvania!
It’s a little deceptive, granted. If this were a movie, I’d get closer and closer and closer, until I arrived at my house in triumph! In triumph!
But this isn’t a movie, and the shape of it is this: I approach the orbit of my house for about a week, then I’m within about an hour for a day or so, then (so sad) I start drifting away. I drift toward Harrisburg and beyond, and finally to the Maryland border.
But after that… the end!
So I woke up early at the MOC and had to wait around for breakfast. My feet were itching to get walking; the waiting is tough. But breakfast was worth it, and it was nice to spend a last bit of time with the orienteering workshop students I met at dinner last night. What a great bunch of people. Plus, they’re all handy with maps! 🙂
Then… the walking! It was another day on the ridgeline, bright and sunny and cool. The biggest problem today was wind. It kept blowing my hat off. And it was one of those too hot/too cold days. Up on the ridge, too cold, pull on the jacket. Ten feet lower, too hot, take off the jacket. Jacket on, jacket off.
I eventually hit Sunfish Pond, which was weird because I hiked there before—back in 2004 when I was first getting serious about the AT. There were rock sculptures; that was odd, having now seen the ones in Vermont.
At one point the trail turned to a slate sidewalk, and I had a strange feeling, what I call ‘When-I-get-to-the-Whites-itis.’ I’ll think, I wonder if the Whites will be like this, and I’ll get that little burst of fear. And a split second later, I realize I’ve already done the Whites. I’ve already done most of the trail.
Eventually the trail turned downhill. Somehow I lost track of where I was. I thought there was a problem with the book for a while. My feet were starting to throb—break-in day for shoe pair number six. I wanted to get there, get done!
There were dozens of dayhikers out today (at the Water Gap parking lot there must have been forty cars). I asked one of them how far we were from the parking area, and he said two or three miles. WHAT? I thought I was under a mile. I found myself hoping those were dayhiker miles (so, like, a half mile) versus thru-hiker miles (so, like, six miles). It turned out it was almost exactly two.
And there I was. At the choked parking lot at the Delaware Water Gap, just the width of the Delaware between me and Pennsylvania.
I crossed the bridge while the wind tried to snatch my hat and beat me to death with it. The river seemed too small down there, compared with the mammoth it becomes down around Philly.
And here I am—possibly the last indoor night until home. But we’ll see about that. There are still a few weeks to go.