We started our last day in Pensylvania walking through forest with my favourite ground cover – lots of ferns:
Today was a short day – only 22km to get to Delaware Water Gap (I wish Delaware was 8km further so we could bank 30km iso 22, but my optimising skills unfortunately can’t move towns 😀) where we have booked for the night at the motel – we need battery banks charged and laundry done, and a shower!
We had no problem with Wolf Rocks – the last rocky outcrop Pensylvania threw at us. The last 4km into town was harder…very busy with day hikers strolling up the mountain. It was like Germiston station with all the visitors (I think Delaware Gap is a bit like Hartebeespoort in the old days- people go there for a Sunday outing).
I saw (in the Awol guide we are using) that there is an ice cream store right where the trail enters town. I have walked miles and miles of detours for Trevor to get cold drinks over the last 3 months, and today was my turn to make demands. I told him I’m going nowhere before getting my ice cream. Not where he can buy a cold drink. Not where he can buy a beer. Not where he can look for new hiking shoes. Or draw money. Nowhere, before a stop at the ice cream shop.
We got to town around 1 o’clock (earlier than initially anticipated) and lunch was a 2 scoop ice cream. He looked a bit puzzled when I asked for two scoops but I don’t think somebody who can have 4 cold drinks one after the other should get upity about a second scoop of ice cream?
There were negative comments about the motel (the best accommodation option for the town; other options are an expensive jazz hosting hotel, and a church donativo with bunk beds) on Guthook so I wasn’t expecting much. What a pleasant surprise I got; the motel is very neat, very spacious and very comfortable, better than most City Lodges in SA.
Though Delaware Water Gap is a cute little town there are no supermarket so re-supply can only be done from gas station (garage) stores. This can be very expensive and limited in range. Trevor was looking around on Google Earth and noticed a Walmart not too far from the hotel, so after checking in at our motel we Ubered to the neighbouring town to re-supply. The saving from buying at Walmart rather than at the gas station way offset the cost of Uber.
We are doing a brave experiment. We bought food for 6 days. We have never carried food for so many days so will see if we can manage the weight. It does give us the option to push our next stop out to 6 nights from here. If the food is too heavy we will have a very big and interesting breakfast tomorrow (to go with our carrots&grapes bought for that purpose).
Trevor went with me to Wallmart (because my Uber account doesn’t work here and because he didn’t have anything else to do: he sucks at doing nothing, as many of you would know). For the first time he understands why it takes me an hour to buy the few items we need – the shops are huge and you have to make your way through such a big area to find what you want. And we queued at the cashier for maybe 20mins – the store was very busy. I wish I didn’t have to go through this exercise every few days!
Back in Delaware town we went to the Barbecue Grill, an extremely popular little eatery where you stand in a long queue to order: you order meat and get meat, if u want anything with it (French fries, coleslaw, bread roll) you need to order that too. It took us forever to get our order in but the wait was so worth it, the food was superb (we could have ordered one portion though cause half a pound of brisket is a lot!!!! of meat!).
There is a big braai station outside, I think the meat is smoked and then braai-ed and then passed to the inside where it is sliced and weighed and wrapped for each order. A production line of note with about 5 woman buzzing around calmly (a bit of an oxymoron I realise, but a true description) taking orders and preparing trays for a non-stop queue of customers, very interesting to watch.
Fiona Watt commented how amusing she finds the importance of eating and rehydration in our current life. I was raised with food/eating being core to my life, I spent my adult life learning to de-prioritise food, to make eating either functional or social instead of a go-to activity. I’m afraid I will have to re-start the learning from scratch after this hike.
We alter Zero (or Sero) days with charging days, but with today’s early finish we got a bit of an undeserved rest in on a charging day. I am feeling guilty about it as we have done only 95km since our rest at the Martins, but yes, I know it isn’t supposed to be a route march 😀 and with my toes being hammered by these rocks my feet over rules my conscience.
Besides – we are already more north than New York (the southern most dot on the route below) – see Mom, not too much longer before we will be done!
Now for laundry and figuring out where to pack all our food.