Mercifully, the motel had a driver who offered to shuttle us back to the trailhead, thus saving us from another two mile walk on the concrete. So we all climbed into the back of his pickup truck and we were extremely grateful for the ride. Everyone stood around at the trailhead parking lot for about 30 minutes, presumably adjusting our packs. The truth of the matter was that no one was anxious to climb back up into the mist to face more rocks.
Eventually we rejoined the Rocky Horror Pennsylvania Show. There is no doubt in my mind that there are thru-hikers out there who “yellow blazed” the entirety of Northern Pennsylvania yet claimed to have hiked the entire A.T. We were not part of that group. After all, if a blind guy hiked it, so could we.
Much of the morning was a continuation of the trail from the previous day. Our clothing didn’t even come close to drying overnight, so we were soon soaking wet from the mist and I didn’t get very many pictures because of my inability to unlock my wet phone. You will just have to trust me when I tell you that it was another eight miles of walking down a riverbed of sharp ankle twisting rocks.
Shortly after noon, I arrived at a feature called Wolf Rocks. There was a bypass trail for the weak and the sane but since I only qualified for one out of two, I chose to do it the hard way. The wet rocks were as slick as ice and it was a real challenge to hold on to the rocks while looking for the tiniest little sliver of dirt to place my feet. It was slow going but I was determined that I wasn’t going to end my thru-hike in this God forsaken place.
After Wolf Rocks, the trail got really smooth so I motored my way to the Kirkridge Shelter for lunch and to take advantage of the water tap located there. At the shelter, I met a father and son from New York that were thru-hiking together. As we were eating, a southbound hiker, also from New York, arrived having recrossed Wolf Rocks to retrieve a Croc that he had left at the shelter. Folks from New York are a little different but I wouldn’t have crossed Wolf Rocks twice that day to have retrieved my food bag!
For the rest of the afternoon, not only was the trail nice but the weather started to improve too. I even got a decent view of the farmlands below from the top of the ridge. Before long, I reached the top of Mt Minsi (150 foot climb) and began descending to the Delaware Water Gap. Although there were a few steep and rocky patches, for the most part the trip downhill was very easy.
I really enjoyed the view of the valley below from Lookout Rock (see the featured picture) knowing that all I had to do was cross that river to get out of Pennsylvania. A little further down the trail, the shoulder strap on my backpack broke. I tried to repair it by tying the pieces together but there wasn’t enough there to work with, so I continued on while holding onto the strap.
There was a friendly Ridgerunner sitting at Council Rock who was sharing information about the resources available in town. I told him I needed a shower, hot food, cold beer, clean and dry clothes, and a soft bed (listed in order of importance) and he told me exactly where to find each item. He also said that the rocks would end at the Pennsylvania State Line. I knew he was lying and I told him so.
After passing by rhododendron thickets, a pretty stream, and an inviting lake, I finally arrived in Delaware Water Gap, PA. Boo Boo and the gang were staying at the free hostel sponsored by the Church of the Mountain, but I wanted an air conditioned hotel room for tomorrow’s zero day. The Edge of the Woods Outfitters, where my resupply package was waiting, was already closed so I continued on to check in at the Pocono Inn.
Once I had showered and changed into dry clothes, I walked back to town to enjoy a Father’s Day dinner at the Sycamore Grill. The place was packed for the holiday and I found Boo Boo and some other hikers finishing dinner and Cousin Eddie was at the table with them! After visiting for a while, I found my own table and waited forever for a server to take my order. Since the place was so busy, I told her that I would go ahead and order everything I wanted at once and I ordered two margaritas, a full size Cesar’s salad, and a full rack of baby back ribs. She asked, “Do you want the margaritas straight up or on the rocks?” I laughed and said, “For as long as I live, I will never again order a drink on the rocks!”