Sunday, September 7, 2008

AT: Wind Gap, PA - The Good and the Bad

AT bridge
I had sent all my maps and guidebooks to Wind Gap so I had to be there on a work day for the post office. And of course, I ended up hiking into Wind Gap on a Sunday. Ok, that called for a zero day. I happily hiked one mile into town to get to the only motel there that was unfortunately right next to an Interstate. But I did not have much choice so I checked in. This motel was not the poshest place in the world, but it still looked pretty decent. Other hikers were more clever: They had checked in and left after 10 minutes because there room was so gross. Unfortunately, I stayed.

I spent most of the evening with earplugs because of the interstate noise and eventually went to sleep. I woke up at midnight because my arms and legs were itching so bad. There had not been that many mosquitoes lately so I was a little bit surprised about the itching. Then I switched on the light to check it out. And then I discovered about 10 bed bugs (= Wanzen) crawling all over me and the bed. I could not believe my eyes. First I thought I had brought an insect in myself but I discovered more and more bed bugs all over the place. When I killed them blood (my blood!) came splattering out. And then I discovered all these bug bites all over my body. This was about the most atrocious thing that ever happened to me on any trail.

Life is easier in my tent!
But what could I do? This was the only hotel in town and it was midnight. I raised hell and woke up the manager. First he tried to tell me that I had brought the bugs in. I almost started yelling at him. He insisted that he never had any problems like that before - I did not believe a single word of that. Eventually he gave me a different room - without bed bugs. I still could not sleep much that night. All this happened 10 days ago and I can still see the bug bites. I have travelled in a lot of Third-World countries but I had to come to the US to experience bed bugs....

But now I want to talk about the good: Gingerbreadman, a long-distance hiker and triple crowner had offered to send me a food drop to Wind Gap, so I was very curious when I went to the post office. Getting an unexpected food drop is like Easter and Christmas in one day for a hiker. And it was really there: A nice package with a lot of nice stamps looking very exciting. I could hardly wait to open it. Inside were all the goodies a hiker needs: A variety of ziplock bags (especially the big one Gallon ones), all sorts of energy bars, drink mixes, nuts, potatoe chips and even a newspaper article to read. Gingerbreadman - you rock! Thank you so much - I really loved that package!

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