APPALACHIAN TRAIL ADVENTURE RUN

   
       
Jim, Sue, Cody, and Tater at Springer Mtn., start of the Appalachian Trail Adventure Run

 

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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
 
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DAY 86:  SUNDAY, JULY 24
 
Start: Delaware Water Gap, PA                          
End:  Dunnfield Creek Natural Area, NJ
Today's Miles:                        1.7
Cumulative Miles:          1,291.8    
   
 
" . . . Just wanted to say hi, good luck and thanks again.  I will be checking in
every day to see how you are doing.  If you happen to see Cucumber
again . . . take a picture and post!  You know how us guys can be!"
- a reader of this journal
 


The AT crosses the Delaware River into New Jersey on the I-80 bridge at Delaware Water Gap.  7-24-05

This is one of the funnier comments we've received lately! I'll add some more "From the Mailbag" quotes and comments below, hoping I don't embarrass anyone.

Meanwhile, here's today's report:

The mileage above is not a typo. I did just 1.7 miles today, best as I can tell from the AT Data Book.

As you know, I've been itching to get out of Pennsylvania with all of its rocks. I quoted Horton a few days ago, with his tirade against the rocks and how he shouted "Good riddance" (a bit stronger, actually) when he crossed the Delaware River Bridge into New Jersey back in 1991 when he set a new AT speed record.

Although I'm just as happy to be in a new state now, I'm reserving my exuberance about being done with rocks until I get a few more miles completed. Horton and other hikers go on to mention rocky areas in New Jersey and points north, too.

I'll just continue to assume it's gonna be rocky and I'll be surprised and delighted and with the more runnable parts. I've been reading ahead in the NJ-NY trail guide and I'm excited about where I'm going.

Every day is an adventure!

FORDING THE STREAM

I got a relatively late start today (9:45 AM) after a lousy night's sleep. I was so tired and frustrated yesterday, I had a good cry and went to bed about 8:30 PM. I couldn't find a comfortable position in bed, so about midnight I moved to the recliner in the living room of the camper. I surprised Cody when I came down the three stairs from the bedroom area and he barked at me! Fortunately, Jim was dead to the world and didn't wake up.

I finally went to sleep in the chair but woke up repeatedly and had to change positions. I got cold and went back to bed at 5 AM (it was only 58 degrees when we got up at 7:30 AM). Standing feels best but my legs get tired fast and I obviously can't sleep that way! Sitting is next best. Lying down is the worst. One more night of this, and I get my adjustment. Man, I hope it helps!

It was a fairly short drive from our campground to the Delaware Water Gap parking area. Jim ran backwards a mile on the Trail where I finished yesterday so he could see the views down to the river. He said all the frogs at Lake Lenape reminded him of the many froggy ponds along the Vermont 100 course.

While he was heading south, I walked about 3/10ths of a mile on residential streets to the pedestrian bridge on the Pennsylvania side of the Interstate-80 bridge across the river, dutifully following the white blazes north. Music filled the air from a local church as I walked past the houses and toward the din of the freeway.

As you can see in the photo above there isn't much of a concrete barrier between hikers and semis whizzing by at 70 MPH about six feet away. It wasn't even waist high. There was probably less traffic on a Sunday morning than on a weekday, which is the second reason I did this little jaunt today and not later in the week.

I tried to focus on the scenic beauty of the river and forget the traffic and stupid pick-up drivers who honked their horns. (There will be a major traffic tie-up if Cucumber walks across that bridge in her bikini!!) Yesterday afternoon there were numerous rafts and other watercraft on the river but it was too early for people to be floating down the river when I got there today.

After crossing the bridge I had to walk along an access road about half a mile past the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area visitor center, under I-80, and up to the Dunnfield Creek Natural Area where Jim was parked. The large lot was full of day hikers enjoying the AT and other trails in the area. Hopefully there won't be so many folks on the Trail when I get back out there in a day or two.

I spent the rest of the day resting, reading, writing, icing my leg, and doing laundry. I'm not looking forward to trying to sleep tonight. I am looking forward to my adjustment and massage tomorrow (no hiking), and I have high hopes for some immediate relief from pain.

FROM THE MAIL BAG

You guys amuse us, inspire us, motivate us to keep going. Thanks for sending us your e-mails! We're amazed how far this link has traveled. People keep writing that they've just discovered the journal and have spent days reading it to catch up. We're glad you're enjoying our little jaunt and hope you follow along all the way to Katahdin.

We love the humor in some of your letters, like the comment at the top about the comely "Cucumber." (OK, guys, if I see her again, I'll ask her if I can take her picture!) One lady who's written several times said after my failed attempt at VT100, "Hope your butt's feeling better!" (That made me laugh!)

Lots of folks congratulated Jim on his fine finish at Vermont and wished me luck getting over my sciatic injury. For example, "I'll continue to follow your trip and try to send good thoughts your way. Let's hope, too, that Mr. Sciatic Nerve has had his/her fun and will leave you alone for the rest of the trip!"

Others have offered tips on keeping the bugs away, avoiding Lyme disease, avoiding poisonous snakes, and ways to help my hip/sciatic/knee problem. Thanks for all the suggestions!

And you keep telling us how inspired you are by what we're doing. We love that! We want everyone to think big and follow their dreams. I especially liked this recent letter:

"Well, fortunately for me, I have finally caught up with your trail log!  I am a runner and ran (no pun intended) across your link at Coolrunning.com.  I have always been fascinated with the idea of doing the AT, so I couldn't stop reading your journal!  I started about 5 days ago and have just now finished . . . Thanks for sharing the adventure you two are having!  It is really interesting to read about your travels and the good and bad days you both have . . .  I never knew much about ultra running until I started reading your journal.  You are both excellent ambassadors!  Makes me want to try one.  Maybe I'll get my first marathon out of the way first!"

When I wrote back to him I suggested he forget about the marathon and go straight to an interesting trail 50K! Just about any ultra runner will tell you that your body will feel better after a trail 50K than a road marathon and you'll have a lot more fun. I suggested he go watch (or run) a new trail ultra in his area in a few weeks. 

Please keep on writing to us. We love your letters!
 

PROGRESS!

Seven states down. Seven to go. Almost 1,300 miles completed. Only 883 to go! At this point, it's more fun to count down the remaining miles than add up the ones I've done.

We have to finish this adventure run/hike. Wish us luck!

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil