June 18, 1998

6/18/98 Vernon, NJ

4.5 miles (1335.0 total)

When you get a good nights sleep, you don’t need much. Got up about 6am with the sun. Spent most of the morning writing in the journal, trying to get caught up. This was a perfect morning. Had ‘fancy’ french toast with the other guests this morning. Then because Mitzi was busy getting ready for a full house this weekend, she rushed up back to the trail by 9am.

Restored one-room school house in New Jersey

The sun was out, the temperature just right with a cooling breeze, only a few bugs. Even the three mile road-walk didn’t dampen the mood (even though not one person waved back to me). I don’t even know why I had Mitzi wash my socks because they got soaked again crossing several swampy farm fields. Headed into Vernon about 11am with no luck hitching a ride.

I’d walked about a mile on a busy highway when a guy (thank god for people who drive junky pickup trucks!) picked me up. He didn’t know about the AT or Vernon but gave me a lift to town. Once there, I met a few section hikers who gave me the low-down on everything.

First and foremost - food. Went and bought pizza. I still haven’t got used to the enormous sizes on the east coast. Then headed over to the diner to write, then believe it or not, I got a haircut. Then off to the store for groceries and ice cream. The camera store sort of fixed my tripod, can’t wait to try it. Went up to the deli for a late dinner but nothing jumped out at me. Might try chinese later.

While sitting here during a brief but intense rain storm, I’m definitely feeling lonely. The firemen all seem busy and no other hikers came in today. Looks like just me. I’m bored and lonely.

Spent the night alone near the firehouse

The pavilion isn’t bad, but it’s a gravel floor. They’re building a bunkhouse next to the bathroom but it’s not done yet. There’s a hand pump for water and if I want, the HAZMAT truck is available for showers. This is really a great setup for hikers, with everything an easy five minutes walking including the post office. Tomorrow I’ll stop by the bakery before hitting the trail.