Made it to Delaware Water Gap exactly as planned (and remembered). Hiker hostel at Church of the Mountain is still open. Another pack was in the bunk room but no hiker. Used church internet to to a quick email update and check finances. Was heading to dinner when the hiker returned and offered me his leftover stromboli which I accepted. He is Gaffer, a 68 year old section hiker walking from Harpers Ferry to Katahdin. Says he might come back to H.F. and head south to Springer. Had breakfast and later donuts and coffee with him this morning. Talked to Maggie from the streetside phone booth.
Walked out of DWG at 12:30. Made good time, even with the 1,000 foot climb out of the gap. The trail south parallels the trail on the north side of the Delaware. I saw the bridge into New Jersey that I crossed so happily after reuniting with Red and Gary here in 2002. Also saw the route that the AT follows before disappearing into the woods. My route today offered sweeping views of the water gap and the Delaware s it flows south into woodlands and fields. Trail up was rocky but up top I followed an old road that was infrequently blazed. Made me paranoid that I missed a turn but found enough blazes to keep me on track. Met Freeman, a thru-hiker who started from Franklin, North Carolina.
Reached Kirkridge Shelter at 3:30. Met RonNTN and Gigi. Ron is a thru-hiker who left Springer February 14. Gigi walked here from Harpers Ferry. They directed me to the spigot at the nearby retreat center where they got water. I found it not working. Ron said he told a caretaker about a leak and he must have turned it off. Sure left me in the lurch. Ron and Gigi gave me some of their water. I can probably make it to the next shelter. Tomorrow is Saturday so I might be able to cage water from day hikers.
Saw bluets along the trail today. I saw these pretty four-petal flowers south of the Smokies in April 2002 and north of Hot Springs just last month. And now in MayIn a manner of speaking, I am traveling forward with time but keeping even with spring as it moves up the Appalachians.