June 7. Amy called and said that she was at the post office waiting for me…unfortunately I was also at the post office, just in one town over. Once we got that worked out she picked me up and we went to the Water Gap Diner for a big breakfast. I was still in my wind pants and sleeping shirt, but at least I had showered and I wasn’t wearing my smelly clothes. After breakfast we drove to the town of Jim Thorpe and started walking around. It is a nice old town with lots of history and Amy found an authentic English restaurant that served proper English tea. We stopped in and she had tea and I had an IPA from a brewery in Breckenridge, CO. The owner of the place came out to meet the guy who ordered his strongest IPA for breakfast and we started talking about weddings in England, the trail, and the town. Another couple in the restaurant from Florida joined in on the conversation and we had a blast swapping stories and hanging out. After breakfast we walked up to the Harry Packer Mansion and took the grand tour of the house. If you ever have the chance to see it, do it! We really enjoyed the tour and our guide was an incredibly nice guy. After the tour we left Jim Thorpe but we really had fun meeting a lot of nice people there. We drove over to Hamburg, PA and walked through the huge Cabela’s store. The place was giant! There where stuffed animals all over the store and there was a whole room dedicated to deer and with more than 50 stuffed deer, some world record setting deer, I think I may have seen more wildlife in Cabela’s than I have seen on the entire trail! I looked over the camping and hiking gear…they had an ultralight tent, only 5 pounds! Hard to compete with my new 1 pound tent! If I was hunting and fishing along the AT I probably would have bought a lot of gear, but long distance hiking is a little different. We stayed in a hiker hotel in Hamburg and I loaded up on a hiker hamburger and fries for dinner.
June 8. Woke up and headed to Potsville, PA to take a tour of the Yuengling brewery. Before we left I did my laundry so the car wouldn’t smell so bad. The brewery tour was fun! And, it was really Amy’s idea! I know what you are thinking mom, let Amy do what she wants to do on her vacation to see me…I told her I didn’t need to see the brewery! She insisted we should! We actually did have a lot of fun, learned a lot, and met a guy who graduated from Ball State in the 70’s, small world! After the tour we headed north to Scranton, PA, which I guess is where the TV show “The Office” is based. I am not sure what else the town does…something about an electric railroad. We stayed in a hotel downtown and spent the night at a seafood bar with live music and great food!
June 9. On our last day together we took it easy. Amy drove me to Wal-Mart so I could buy groceries. We went to a park so I could test out setting up my new tent, and we went back to the hotel and spent some time relaxing in the pool and hot tub. This was the life…I didn’t have to carry a backpack or hike anywhere…but I would tomorrow. I thought that could be trouble.
June 10. We woke up in Scranton and packed my gear and Amy’s suitcases. I had new shoes and a new tent. I hoped to have a new backpack but the one I ordered just wouldn’t work. We drove down to Deleware Water Gap and had breakfast at the Water Gap Diner again. Amy had a flight to catch so she drove me back to the trail. I also had some trail magic from our friends Nick, Kari, and Kat…they sent me some Fairytale Brownies! I grabbed the brownies and stuffed them in my food bag and got a picture with the box and the AT sign. I hugged Amy, I wasn’t ready to see her go, but every day we spent together now was one more day longer until I would be home. I grabbed my pack and she got back in the car to head to the airport. We both had to cross the same highway bridge, she in the car, me walking. I saw her go by and she called me later and said as she drove by she thought “That looks like a pretty legit hiker…oh, that’s Chris!” So I guess that is good…at least I look legit, I was happy to see Amy for 3 days, and I had less than 900 miles to go. Back to the trail!
Go brother go! I haven’t chimed in much, but I think that this is an amazing adventure! Good luck and god speed!