June 17, 1998

6/17/98 Glenwood, NJ

15.2 miles (1330.5 total)

Besides Longway, Not Yet and myself, 2 guys on the 2nd day of a 17 day trip, stayed at the shelter. Because of the weather, their sore feet, and they admit-heavy packs, they weren’t having much fun. Though it only sprinkled last night, it was hard to tell because we are surrounded on all sides by overflowing streams. We didn’t get up till 7:30 which is late for most thru-hikers. But the 2 guys were still in their sleeping bags when I left near 9am. Although I started out in sunshine, it threatened rain all morning. Today’s trails were mainly small creeks but lots of mud, the worst being in the farmland we had to cross.

Vernie Swamp was something I dreaded all morning with its 112 bog bridges because I didn’t know how flooded it would be. But my feet didn’t get wet once. Finally after crossing more roads not listed in the guidebooks, I walked into Unionville, NY to Horlor’s Grocery for a deli sandwich. But needing a place to use the bathroom, I headed to the hostel at the Back Track Inn. And guess who I should meet but Short Job, a section hiker I met outside of Troutville, VA. With her was her husband, here to give her and Captain Nemo a ride home, and Frump, a ‘98 thruhiker I hadn’t met before. Longway decided to pass up town and keep going to Vernon, NJ, another 20 mile day for him. While Not Yet and I decided to do a 15 mile day to the Apple Valley Inn.

Crossing Vernie Swamp using over
100 bog bridges

My plan to be in Bear Mountain by Saturday would kill me, so now I’m slowing way down to get there the following Monday. Too bad that EWOS is only 2 days ahead, it will be hard to catch him and Bugbait (Sandi) for awhile.

After walking several miles around a National Wildlife Preserve of wetlands, the trail went through another swamp not on the map or in the guidebooks. But in this one, the bog bridges sank to shin deep in places and a few had to be leaps to get across. It was also the beginning of miles of mosquitoes. It made it dangerous in places because while climbing rocks you were also swatting at the hordes as they landed on exposed flesh. So again, mother nature provided reason to "haul ass".

Made it to the Apple Valley Inn in plenty of time for dinner. What a great place, much fancier than I’ve ever been in. Mitzi’s been letting hikers stay here for half price for years, including dinner, breakfast, and laundry. She treated us like family. After breakfast tomorrow, my plan is for a short 4 1/2 mile day to Vernon where they have a pavilion next to the fire station and some more rest and relaxation.

A wonderful night at the Apple Valley Inn