This footlong tortoise was the highlight of my day. Not that the pizza wasn't fantastic, but after hiking 19 miles of flooded trail that got as high as knee deep, with moody gray skies, relentless rain, and lightning cracking overhead, I was starting to feel low. It didn't help that I was soaked to the bone and the temperature dropped into the 40s. I had my head down plowing through the miles when I almost had a head-on collision with this guy. He helped to put a smile back on my face.
I made it to the Mashipacong Shelter after dark, happy to have a roof overhead so I could dry off and sleep, but the leaky shelter was full of hikers.
This morning I ran for much of the first 7 miles toward food in Branchville, NJ which seems to hate hikers. Rude business owners, silent unfriendly stares from locals, and I even got flipped off by a passing motorist for no reason.
So far NJ has been a hard state to love. There is one more day to turn that around, I'll be in PA tomorrow.