Day 76: mile 1303.4 to Gren Anderson Shelter, 21.6 miles
Day 77: Gren Anderson Shelter to Unionville, 20 miles
Day 78: Unionville to Wawayanda Shelter, 16.8 miles
Total AT miles hiked: 1361.9
We awoke early to a chilly morning at our small campsite in the woods. Garrett made coffee, and we broke the tent down. As we were sitting eating breakfast, it started to sprinkle a bit, and continued to do so for the next few hours. We dipped down and over hills all day, stumbling upon some trail magic in the morning by way of orange soda and popcorn!
By the afternoon the weather had cleared up, and we ran into Enengizer! We hadn’t seen her since Harper’s Ferry, and she is a lot of fun to be around. We all ended up at Gyp’s Tavern, which sits just off the trail, and spent a couple hours there catching-up. She went into town afterwards, and we hiked three easy miles to the nearest shelter to round out our day.
The next morning was cold again, and overcast, but we managed an early start again. We entered New Jersey’s High Point State Park (where they give hikers a free Pepsi!), and had lunch quickly before the rain fell again. We were going into Unionville in six miles to resupply, and we crafted a plan to stay in a nearby hotel and dry out a bit. Our plan in place, the miles went quickly, and were surprisingly beautiful.
We made it to Unionville, ate copious amounts of pizza and resupplied, then got and a ride to our hotel where we escaped the heavy overnight rains. They stopped by the next morning, and we were back out on our trail enjoying the last full day of New Jersey. We hiked over a boardwalk for nearly a mile through marshland, and saw many birds. We identified a Prarie Warbler by song using my birding app on my phone. The call is an ascending trill, and very distinctive, but the warbler itself has only given us a few glimpses of its yellow-green feathers.
After the marshland was farmland, and we passed right through a herd of cows. The cows were surrounding the trail, and made little effort to move as we passed by. They were very unimpressed with us! Shortly after we went to a farm stand by the trail for lunch to fuel up for our next big climb, nicknamed the “stairway to heaven.” The name is a bit dramatic, it was more steep than it was long, but it wore us out more than we anticipated. By the time we were finished, we decided to cut the day a bit short and stopped at Wawayanda Shelter. The weather forecast was calling for evening rains into the morning, and we weren’t interested in getting soaked. Just our friends Nopol and Frodo showed up a bit later, and we had a quiet evening in the shelter.