June 13, 1998

6/13/98 Delaware Water Gap, PA

19.9 miles (1270.9 total)

I almost ranked today as my worst day on the trip. The rain continued through the night. This morning it almost let up, that is until I left the shelter. As soon as I started hiking, it began raining again, and as the morning progressed it got worse. I kept hoping the rain would let up, but if anything it only rained harder. At many times I asked myself "why am I out here?" The weather and the trail is getting to me. I miss "home". I passed a southbounder with a smile and thought I’m not the only idiot out here. But no sooner had I passed him, with my spirits a little higher, and the rain down HARDER!

I soon came upon another hiker. Turned out to be Not Yet. He’d gotten off at Wind Gap for supplies and a night out of the rain. Both of us were going over another rock traverse along the ridgeline. I had my metal hiking poles but just didn’t care about the lightning - I just wanted the rain to stop. Got lost several times. I was concentrating so hard on my footing, that I missed the trail at several junctions.

By the time I arrived at the next shelter, the rain had stopped - praise the goddess! Met a few people from a maintenance crew that had just finished a new reroute. Even though it stayed overcast, the rain never reappeared. Other than lake-size puddles I had to wade through, I actually began to dry out. The closer I came to Delaware Water Gap, the more weekenders I saw. Most had waited to see if the rain would stop before heading out. The sun eventually burned off all the clouds and the afternoon was looking a lot better.

Walked down into town to the hostel in the basement of the church. Believe it or not, Smiley was there. He’d taken two full days off, along with a score of others, trying to avoid the rain. Longstride and Longway took the shuttle into town and began bar hopping in the morning and never made it back. A lot of section hikers here, a few OK like Hooser Daddy and a few I’d like to avoid like Chris who asked me "Do you know Jesus?". But it was nice to get a shower. All six bunks were full along with five guys sleeping on the floor. I’ll head into town for laundry tomorrow and see how the weather goes.