I remember driving through the Delaware Water Gap as a kid and I always thought “we must be in Delaware”. How stupid I felt when I learned its the Delaware river cutting through the border of Pa and Nj. Ha! Memories.
I’ve been wanting to hike this a while. Finally got to! Since Dara, my wife, decided to go for a massage instead of coming out to hike a section of the AT, she dropped me off at the trail head about 1pm or so. According to my AllTrails app, the hike would take about 3 hours to cover a little under 5 miles. I did it in 2. Blam! After a bit of exploring at the beginning, as there seems to be several side trails (although it is pretty obvious which way you’re supposed to go), I come out at Lake Lenape.
Very scuzzy looking. Since Pocono Palace doesn’t keep water in your room for you, and they only have a simple water cooler in their main lobby, and I had drank almost all of my water bladder at Bushkill 2 days earlier, I wanted a place to fill up. Plus I just like getting to use my water filter and drink fresh mountain water. SO much better than anything out of a tap or a bottle. Across from the lake was this drainage, leading down to this waterfall that I had thought about climbing to the bottom of, but there was a lot of people coming up.
After filling it up, something about it just made me feel uneasy. Maybe that it was coming out of what looked like a sewer drain, across from this scuzzy looking lake. Oh well, I will put my filter to the test. The trail then follows a woods road up for a while, before turning left off the road and onto the AT.
It wraps around the mountain for a while with lots of rhododendron everywhere and some very nice green scenery. Eventually you start getting your first glimpses of the top, and across to I-80.
The trail is also incredibly busy. I pass people constantly. Kids, old people, you name it. Thankfully its nowhere near as crowded as Bushkill was, but definitely not the place to come for solitude. After walking up a ways, crossing some small streams, hopping rocks, and ducking branches, you come to Eureka creek.
This looked much fresher, so I opted to dump the iffy water from that drainage pipe and refill with this stuff. Hopefully I don’t catch dysentery or something. I know the Katadyn filter doesn’t filter everything out, so, yeah.There’s millipedes everywhere on this trail. Seriously, everywhere. I’ve never seen so many millipedes. It wasn’t as bad as that scene in Temple of Doom, but you definitely had to watch where you step.Nice trail everywhere. First good view is called lookout rock. It requires a small bit of rock scrambling. I love that stuff, lots of fun. There was a family of about 4 or 5 people at the top, who’s dog had decided the best place to lay down was right in the middle of the trail. I had to step over poochy since there was no space on either side. You know people, the polite thing to do if your dog is blocking the path for others, instead of making them step over your dog, is MOVE HIM for a minute. Dogs don’t have to show manners? Anyway, here’s the view from lookout rock.This is where the AT comes back to the road you started on. There was another pretty decent rock step part that gets you huffing pretty good. I ate a cliff bar while I climbed. Yay, multi tasking. No wonder I finish so soon, I don’t even stop for snacks! Then before you know it, BLAM the top. WOOHOO!GREAT views of Mt. Tammany from here. I plan to come back and conquer that mountain sometime in June, and hopefully hike back to sunfish pond. So after I snap a few photos, a group of several other people get there so I decide to keep walking. After about 5 minutes, I say wait. This is the AT. The direction I’m walking takes me to Georgia, and I don’t think there’s anything else besides trail and eventually a shelter. So, I must reluctantly turn back. (I REALLY want to thru hike this whole trail, but that whole thing called “responsibility” puts a damper on my life’s goals) When I get back to the spot where the AT rejoined the road, I decide to head down the road instead of back the trail just for a change of scenery. Oops, bad idea. Not bad as in something bad happened, just that the change of scenery really wasn’t anything special. It was a boring, downhill road walk. The trail was much better. I passed a Hispanic couple walking up that seemed like they had no idea what they were doing. They asked me about what was ahead, they wanted to find a nice spot with some views. I took out my map and showed them where they were and how long it would take to reach the top. I’m always surprised to see how little people carry on hikes like this. I have my Kelty 3500 MAP that I’m using as my day hike bag, with a bag of trail mix and a cliff bar, a water filter, my rain coat, first aid/emergency survival kit, head lamp, map and compass. I saw one couple coming down from the top who were carrying 1 water bottle between the 2 of them. Maybe I’m over thinking the “be prepared”?
Wanderlust. Yeah, I got that bad. Real bad.
On my way out, I pass the lake again, like 45 minutes ahead of schedule. There’s a pair of really dirty looking guys sitting at the picnic table with backpacks next to them. “Thru hiker?” They say, as I walk past. “Unfortunately, no, just a day hiker.” I get to talking to them both for a while, and I’m totally envious. They’ve been hiking since late March, it’s now the end of May. They’re in New Jersey, and they still have to go through Connecticut, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. It must be totally awesome to have no job or people that depend on you. As I thought back on this encounter, I really wish I would’ve spent more time sitting there chatting with them. My wife had managed to get an extra 45 minutes or an hour from her massage therapist, and wasn’t reading my texts I was sending her that I was done, so I stood at the parking lot getting attacked by evil mosquito instead. I decided when I go back to do Mt. Tammany, I’m going to do some Trail Angel shit. I’ll pack in like 2 or 3 boxes of Entenman’s donuts and find some thru hikers to give them to. If I can’t be on the whole trail myself, I might as well do something nice for those that can. Re-spect!
Final notes: Not much word on gear. I still like the trekking poles I have. I love my Icebreaker t-shirt. It is the bomb. I want to get a whole bunch more, except they’re pretty expensive. I downloaded a new app for my Iphone, TOPO maps or something. It gives you topo maps that you can use the phone’s GPS on. By laying that down on top of my actual trail map, I was able to pin point where I was pretty accurately. The AT is so well blazed though you could get away with not even using one. I also got a new pair of hiking pants, the North Face paramount valley convertibles. I like them, although I think I would like them more if my ass wasn’t so fat right now. They also can be a little annoying when you have a ton of stuff in your pockets. Next time I’ll just keep my phone in one of the cargo pockets, and my knife in a side pocket everything else is going in the bag.