…and it smells wonderful! Surprising I know, but first thing tomorrow morning we’ll be crossing over the mighty Delaware into northern New Jersey and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, really. Of course if the trail went through Elizabeth, the smell factor would be a whole ‘nother story…
It is nearly indescribable the feeling I got today when hiking downhill into Delaware Water Gap, PA and I caught my first glimpse of I-80 over the river. Finally, after 3 months and 12 days on the trail, after 1285.3 miles on my feet with a heavy pack strapped to my back and a big camera on my front, up big mountains and down them, through rain, mud, snow, sweltering heat and loads of sweat, did I feel like I’d really gotten somewhere. Who would think that after all this time spent living outdoors, I would find the sounds of interstate highway traffic so soothing?!
I know for a fact that it’s because I’m so close to home now. The northeast! The blue states! It feels good, it feels right. Pennsylvania may be north of the Mason-Dixon line, but off the trail and out of hiker related circles, I didn’t feel like I quite fit in. And it didn’t really hit me until last weekend, when I got to spend a brief day or so with my man, just how homesick I was. Or maybe it was when he dropped us back off on the trail after the wedding last Sunday, that I really took notice. I was so bummed out and so physically and mentally tired from the rock and boulder filled hiking that the AT in PA is chock full of, that two days in a row I actually contemplated quitting this thing.
But now, now that New York is in my sights and a trip home to Brooklyn is in the works, I feel rejuvenated. Biscuits and gravy for breakfast and all-you-can-eat buffets for dinners were a nice novelty and a must-do for fun and caloric intake while hiking in the South. But now, to be back in the land of egg sangwiches, good pizza and caw-fee…my spirits have soared! That and the fact that in a mere 107 miles I’ll be able to see the New York City skyline from the top of Bear Mountain…I’m seriously giddy.
So I’m breathing a sigh of relief (and yeah, some more car exhaust) to know that I’m close to most of my friends and family. And to look back at how we’ve actually walked here all the way from Georgia — it just makes me want to keep going. Lobsters of Maine, lookout! Thru-hikers are comin’ and they’re hungry!
Thanks to all for the awesome comments we got this week! We do eventually comment back, so be sure to take a look back under the old posts to look for our replies. And Hatchet, we miss you out here on the trail too! Hope your back is doing better. As for photo updates, I know I’m behind – there just haven’t been any libraries lately to upload from. Soon, I promise.