Friday, July 03, 2009

Rutherford Shelter to Pochuk Mountain Shelter

Friday, 7/3

AT Miles = 16.7 / 1340.4
Other Miles = 0.7 / 46.9
Total Miles = 17.4 / 1387.3

Every time I woke up last night I could hear the swarm of mosquitoes buzzing on the other side of the netting on my hammock. It was a bit unnerving, actually.

It was still very damp when I got up this morning, and I ate and packed hurriedly so I could get moving and try to escape the mosquitoes. Are you starting to see that tiny little insects are now in control of my life?

After the three falls I took yesterday, I was leery of all the wet rocks this morning and I moved more slowly and carefully than usual. When I got to High Point State Park I stopped at the tower just south of the High Point Monument; not for the view, as there wasn't anything to see but fog, but rather because it was windy up on top of the tower and I could sit and eat without the 'squitoes bothering me.

The AT does not go over High Point, but I took the few minutes necessary to drop my pack and scamper up to the highest point in New Jersey, and then back down.

After leaving the park the trail goes through some lowlands where it threads it's way through some nearly suburban neighborhoods. There was lots and lots (and lots and lots) of mud through here, but the air was freshening and felt drier and cooler, and the sun was starting to break through more and more. At one point I was actually in New York State, but only briefly before crossing back into New Jersey. Then the trail makes a loop through the Wallkill River (isn't Wallkill River a redundancy?) NWR. The sun was out now and at one point I came upon a large, expansive bench next to what I assume is a wildlife viewing blind, and I stopped here and spread all my wet stuff out. I ate my lunch and was just settling down with my book when I heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. I just had time to get my gear stowed away when the sky opened up and it poured on me. So much for trying to dry my boots!

It was only a couple miles from the wildlife refuge to this shelter, and by the time I got here the sun was out again. The only problem I had is that I didn't read the book ahead of time, and thus did not know that the water supply for the shelter was at the bottom of Pochuk Mountain, 1/2 mile BEFORE I got to the shelter. When I got here and couldn't figure out where the water is, I reaqd the book then realized I had to walk a half mile back down the mountain, then of course climb the half mile back to the shelter. Duh!

I hung my hammock and strung my bear bag line as a clothesline, then out out all my wet stuff, and even my sleeping bag and the little down jacket I use as a pillow. They sure could use some fresh air and sunshine.

It clouded up again a little while ago and I put everything away. I think we might get another storm this evening, but it is definitely cooler than last night, and the forecast for the weekend is dry.

I have to go into Vernon, NJ tomorrow to resupply. I still haven't decided if I am going to stay in town or come back out onto the trail. If I stay in town tomorrow night then I will reach New York on Sunday. If I gho in and out of town tomorrow then I will sleep in New York tomorrow night.

"Home is where I hang my food bag"

Allen Freeman

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