Back in the 1960’s, the Pocono Inn was probably a premier convention destination, but now it is a dump/construction zone. Over 75% of the rooms are closed for renovations and the huge convention meeting rooms go unused. When I walked downstairs for the “free” continental breakfast, it consisted of coffee, two boxes of cereal, a jug of milk, and six bagels. But for now, it is my home away from home and I’m happy to be here.
When I started catching up on my journals this morning, I discovered that I had hiked over 85 miles in the past four days through what is considered to be one of the roughest sections of the A.T. My legs ache and my feet are battered and bruised to the point where it is difficult to walk. I needed this day of recovery like no other since I started my journey but I’m ecstatic to be past Rocksylvania.
I finally located the washer and dryer in the construction zone and decided to walk to town to retrieve my resupply package containing my laundry supplies. On the way, I came upon BR and O2, a retired postman from Arlen, TX, who were on their way to get a room at the Pocono Inn. Not a hundred yards later, I ran into Valley Forge who had walked into town for a meal and a quick resupply before continuing on his way. It was really nice to see these folks again!
I have had a love hate relationship with my Zpacks Arc Blast backpack since I started my thru-hike. I love the fact that it only weighs 20 ounces and is waterproof. I hate the fact that it is so uncomfortable when carrying more than 20 pounds (it weighs in at 27 pounds after a five day food resupply with a liter of water). During those “heavy” days, it makes my shoulders ache and the waistbelt pinches a nerve that makes my thighs go numb. The pack also has questionable durability for a thru-hike. I’m very careful with my gear but I’ve already had one buckle break and when you look inside the pack and hold it up to the light, it looks like a planetarium inside from all of the pinholes. I wanted to replace it back in Waynesboro, VA, but they didn’t have my size in stock at the outfitters. Now that the shoulder strap is broken, it is time to bite the bullet and buy a new pack.
After picking up my package at the Edge of Woods Outfitters, I looked around to see if they had a suitable replacement pack but it is a small store and they did not have what I was looking for. So I returned to the motel to do my laundry and work on the pack situation. After an hour of letting my fingers do the walking through an old fashioned telephone directory, I finally located what I was looking for at an REI store in New Jersey. The downside was that it would take a $75 Uber ride (each way) to pick it up, so I rejected that idea. I finally ordered the pack from Amazon and paid the extra $6 (with Prime) to have them ship it to me overnight at the motel. That will cause me to have to take a second zero here but, honestly, my body could use the extra day of recovery.
Once my laundry chores were finished, I was pretty hungry so I walked down the street to Doughboy’s Pizza to satisfy my sudden craving for Italian food. Inside, Boo Boo and Cousin Eddie were already eating at one table and Ninja and Lighthouse were waiting for their order at another nearby table. Ninja and Lighthouse had moved from the hostel to the Deer Head Inn next door due to the lack of air conditioning at the hostel. Doughboy’s Pizza is run by an authentic Italian family and they served me a huge Stromboli that was to die for.
After lunch, Ninja, Lighthouse, and I walked across the street to the Village Farmer and Bakery for dessert. When I walked into the bakery, it was a shock to my senses and I might even have teared up a little. For as far as the eye could see, there were tables covered with pies, cakes, and fudge surrounded by cases containing every imaginable pastry. I wandered around this sweet tooth heaven for over 45 minutes before I could decide what to get, and finally walked out with a full sized cannoli cake which barely fit into the refrigerator in my room.
I spent the rest of the day catching up on journals, drying gear, and resting. That is until I got hungry again and dug into that cannoli cake. Oh my! That frosting full of chocolate bits and the sweet ricotta filling are amazing.