June 26, 2000

Mount Vernon Hostel, NJ 20  Miles Hiked Today 1336 of 2167 Miles Hiked Total

I'm beat. We hiked 20 miles today from 6am to 2pm. We started so early because it was going to be hot. And it was. In the 90's and humid. The mosquitoes were killers today as well. If I stopped walking at all, I got swarmed. They would land on any body part not moving, biting through clothes even. It was insane! So, as I write, may back hurts, I have a headache, poison ivy has set up shop on my legs, and I have about 75 insect bites. Yes, amazingly, I'm having fun!

The hostel is awesome. Basically it is the "rec room" of St. Thomas Episcopal Church. At our disposal is a shower, washer, drier, kitchen, refrigerator, and cable tv. All for a donation. The hostel manager, Dave Mertens, stopped by tonight and with his friend Millie Murphy, took Ulcer and I to dinner. Everyone else missed out. It was fun to learn about the church's history (established in 1847, closed, reopened, enlarged in new building, hostel added in 1999) and about Dave and Millie. My earlier calendar mistake led to one of the trail experiences I came to have.

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