Mile: 1293 - 1317.8 (25 miles)
With the heat and loud late arriving hikers I head out early with no problem.
I cross a giant river and mid ridge officially hit New Jersey just 0.3 miles into my morning.
Under an interstate and into a state park I start the slow climb up away from town.
It's all frogs and mosquitos as I climb but it's tolerable in the shade and not a bad start.
The trail takes a very rocky course around Sunfish pond and I worry the rocks will never be gone but it's really not too bad.
The climbs take me to pretty ridge line and I'm starting to really love this state. It's mellow miles along ridge lines.
Groups of kids pass southbound but no other thru hikers. I happily eat berries and stare at all the pretty butterflies enjoying my morning.
Open ridge lines are on rock but these are large wide flat rocks that are lovely to walk on. No treacherous slick boulders or small sharp rocks for these few miles at least. I'm I no rush and am enjoying an icy cold spring when Obiwan catches up. We met yesterday and drink water watching the sky turn black and the wind start to howl. The rain hits right as we make it to a large fire road with zero protection from the trees. The road is a river in seconds and we're drenched as we cross pavement and find attempted trail magic. Some folks have set up magic but didn't get the tent up in time and are physically holding it up over themselves.
The rain continues but lightens and I decide hiking wet is better than standing still wet.
The miles are slower after the rain and the mosquitos pick up but it's still pretty ridge lines and forest.
I get to the shelter to grab water and end up talking to a ridgerunner and Obiwan for a few hours. Merlot shows up having had an awful day and I figure why not lighten up and stay early at a shelter for a change.
Plus there is a baby bird nest in the shelter porch and this new mystery salamander in the spring.
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