Friday, October 16, 2015

Day 91: The Candy Showdown!

June 6: Oddly enough, it seemed to sprinkle lightly during the night. I was completely unaware of this during the night since the noise sounded just like the caterpillar poop falling from the trees and it wasn't until morning and I noticed everything was slightly wet that I had realized it really did sprinkle!

The day's hike was another rocky one, at least for the first ten miles or so. They weren't particularly hard--just slow going. And even then, the rocks largely went away during the long descent into Delaware Water Gap. The views of the DWG were awesome! And the closer our approach to the town, the more day hikers we encountered. The trail was positively crowded with day hikers! Not only is Delaware Water Gap a major tourist trap, but it was also beautiful sunny Saturday.

But really, all that is merely a footnote for the day. Just another day of walking along a long string of walking days.

Our arrival to the Delaware Water Gap, however, broke up the usual routine. The Appalachian Trail runs right through town which makes it a popular stopping point for hikers. Even better, the Church of the Mountain runs a small hostel allowing hikers a place to crash for free. (Donations are appreciated, however, and I was more than happy to donate!)

The town doesn't have a real grocery store, however, and the horsemen had decided to go to a nearby Wal-Mart outside of town to resupply, and I quickly joined their ranks. Superman called for a taxi, and after a suitably long period of time when it didn't show up, he called again and they told us that the taxi had arrived but couldn't find us.

Really? I had to imagine that they picked up hikers from the church all the time. Surely they knew where the door was. *shaking head* Anyhow, they said they'd send out another taxi. This time, we all stood out on the sidewalk in front of the church to make sure we wouldn't miss it.

And it drove right past us up the driveway to the back of the church! We weren't sure which side of the church the taxi might exit from--the road appeared to loop completely around the church. Heavyweight went dashing up one exit in the hopes of intercepting it, and I dashed up the other side in case it turned around. I caught it at the entrance to the hostel and shouted out for the other horsemen to come on by. I had it pinned down! =)

So the four of us (Heavyweight, Superman, Blueberry and myself) piled into the taxi--a good sized van so we didn't even have to crowd into a tiny car--and were quickly whisked away to the Wal-Mart several miles away.

I could have resupplied in town at a convenience store. The selection wouldn't have been as good, but it could have been done. I was planning to hit the Wal-Mart anyhow, however, because I wanted to replace my camera. The main one I'd been using was having trouble getting the exposure level right when it was wet or humid, and the other one--my backup camera--the lens didn't always fully close or open so I had to constantly do it with my finger every time I wanted to take a photo. Neither camera, at this point, was fully working and it was time to replace it!

So I rushed off to the electronics department and found the exact model I was looking for: a cheap Nikon one that used AA batteries. It had a lot going for it. It was cheap--always important when I do darned well there's a good chance I would break/damage the camera on the trail. Previously I had bought this model for about $120, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it selling for a mere $99.

It used AA batteries, which is good so I don't have to worry about recharging it all of the time. And it was the same model I already had so I already knew exactly how it worked and could just pop out the SD card and batteries from one and move it to the other without even slowing down.

I told the clerk that I wanted that particular camera, and he opened up the cabinet to get a box with a new one, but they had no more of them in stock. But I did notice another Nikon camera box in the cabinet and I asked about that one. It was an older model, I was told, but if I was interested, I could still buy it. And because it was an older model, it was likely cheaper than the $99 that the newest model cost.

Well YEAH! I don't need fancy!

"So how much does it cost?" I asked.

He took it to the register and fiddled around with it to determine that the camera could be all mine for a mere $67. Sweet! It might have been an older model, but it was still a newer model than either of the cameras I currently carried.

I also asked about getting an extended warranty for it. I rarely spring for the extended warranty for stuff, but I'd be carrying this camera over thousands of miles of rough terrain. Through rain, through mud, through snow, through scorching heat and freezing temperatures. I'll probably drop it by accident many times. Maybe even in water or mud. Dust could get into it. Even small insects might work their way into the camera over time. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, there was a very good chance this camera would not survive the year, and an extended warranty--for a reasonable price--could be a very good investment.

And I could get one for a mere $6. I'll take it! I figure there's probably a 50/50 chance I'll wind up using it, and doing the math, it made a lot of sense.

I purchased the camera and warranty, happy that I got it for such a great price. It cost nearly half of what I thought it would set me back!

Then I did my grocery shopping, bumping into the other horsemen also running around the store. I pulled a Blueberry by buying a box of donuts to share with the other hikers at the hostel as well.

After we had made all of our purchases, we sat outside the Wal-Mart waiting for our taxi to pick us up and Heavyweight started bragging about all of the candy he bought. He was amazed at how much candy I carried on the trail and was inspired to increase the amount of candy he consumed as well, and he emptied a bag full of candy so we could admire it's girth.

I nodded my head. "It's a good start," I told him, "but you can still do better that. Check out my candy stash!"

Heavyweight had pulled out a 1-pound bag of Wild Berry Skittles, and I pulled out the exact same thing from my bag to start my pile. "I'll match your bag of Wild Berry Skittles," I told him while pulling out another 1-pound bag of regular Skittles, "and raise you a regular bag of Skittles."

To the pile I added more candy. Gummy worms, gummy cherries, gummies everwhere! And M&Ms. And Twizzlers. And Jelly Bellies. My pile continued to grow as I dug through my various bags to pull out the candies.

In the end, my pile of candy was nearly twice the size of Heavyweight's pile. I think he was impressed. Or maybe appalled. It was hard to tell. =) "Don't worry," I told him, "you'll get better at this. I have a lot more experience than you do." *nodding*

Several minutes later, our taxi arrived and we were whisked back into town. Along the way, we passed a set of railroad tracks and Superman spotted a bear (a real BEAR!) on the tracks off the side of the road. I was looking in the wrong direction down the tracks and didn't see it myself, much to my disappointment. Who'd have thought we'd get a bear sighting while taking a taxi from Wal-Mart to the hostel, though? Wildlife--it's everywhere!

Heavyweight and Superman later walked to the bar in town, which didn't much interest me so I hung out at the hostel and spent the evening chatting with Blueberry, McGuyver and Happy Camper. McGuyer and Happy Camper were largely new to me, but I'd see a lot more of McGuyer in the upcoming days. Happy Camper I didn't really see much after this night, however. He got ahead of me and I pretty much never caught up with him again after that.

The Wolf Rocks was another particular treacherous part of the trail!

A viewpoint along the Wolf Rocks

It's not a trail--it's an adventure! =)

The Delaware River, snaking its way through the countryside.

Views in the Delaware Water Gap were wonderful!

The town of Delaware Water Gap

Squirrel at the ice cream shop!

Heavyweight and I show off our drinks after the candy showdown while waiting for the taxi to arrive. It's hard to see in this photo, but "Ryan" is the name on my soda. =)

I usually forget to get photos inside of the places I stay, but I was setting up my new camera and had to take some test shots to make sure it all worked okay. So here, a rare, never-before-seen photo I took inside of the Church of the Mountain hostel! You can see the packaging for the camera on that table in the front, and my old camera next to the apple.

The hostel was hosted by the Church of the Mountain.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice photos! My ankle throbs just looking at those rocks.. I've had bad experiences with rocks like that in the past...

-Only Dreaming