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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at

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Posted: July 27, 2015

Six-Moon Journey: The man behind the bullet-proof glass

Written by: Carey Kish

Carey Kish is thru-hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He is currently in Pennsylvania. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.

July 6, 2015: Campsite at Delps Trail intersection to Wind Gap, 10.6 miles, 8am to 2pm. 

Pulled out of our unexpectedly dry camp this morning and beat feet down the trail to Leroy Smith Shelter. We filled up big time at the good spring there and hung out, relaxing and eating and chewing the fat. Then it was time to knock out the final miles to Wind Gap.

Dropped down into Wind Gap in early afternoon, weary of the daily grind over the Pennsylvania rocks and looking forward to a comfy room before knocking off the last few miles to New Jersey tomorrow. Lucky me caught a ride into town with Fat Man Walking (AT thru 2013), who took me right to the Travel Inn.

Breaking camp at the dry spring. Carey Kish photo.

Breaking camp at the dry spring. Carey Kish photo.

I immediately noted the “cash only” sign above the bullet proof window. I paid up and was directed to my room “around out back” (why is my room always out back?). The room was divey but appeared it would do. First order of business was a shower. No go. No hot water.

I trundle back to the office to report the issue. The guy behind the bullet proof glass bangs on the outside window to get the attention of what I figured earlier were divey motel squatters. Apparently among them was the maintenance man. It took awhile and some tinkering, but I get my hot water and shower. Through all of this I try not to look too close at the bathroom but it’s hard not to. I’m having a bit of a daytime nightmare that takes me back to the Relax Inn in Atkins VA. Ick.

Drying off, I go to turn the TV on. Nada. No signal. So I figure I’ll go for the trifecta and try the WiFi while I’m seemingly on a roll. The motel network doesn’t even show up. So I gets dressed and make for the office again.

The man behind the bullet proof glass is less than helpful, telling me he only rents rooms and anything more than that, well, tough luck. I want to grab him by the throat at this moment, but he’s smartly got that thick glass between him and the now very unhappy hiker. He bangs on the outside glass again and rouses the maintenance man and his wife to come fix my TV. I tell him I really don’t give a sweet shit about the TV, but would really like the f’ing WiFi to work. Oh, he says, for that I’ll need the guy in 119.

Me, Freebyrd and Walking Home enjoy sodas at Wind Gap compliments of Fat Man Walking. Carey Kish photo.

Me, Freebyrd and Walking Home enjoy sodas at Wind Gap compliments of Fat Man Walking. Carey Kish photo.

Back at the room and, maintenance man’s wife takes me through the 14 perambulation required to get a TV picture. Thanks, I say, but what about WiFi? At that moment, the guy from 119 comes in. I’ve got a party of homeless looking people in my room now. 119 tells me the WiFi can’t get past the boiler room (one door down) to my room. Not now, not ever, he says after I inquire further.

I go back to the office to address this with the man behind the glass. He knows that I would like to kill him at this point, and he’s right. I’m outta this f’ing flea bag place I tell him and demand my money back. No way he says from behind the glass. Give me $50 then (I paid $60). He shakes his head and says $40. I couldn’t get the two twenties out of the drawer below the bullet proof glass fast enough.

Fat Man Walking gives us a lift into Wind Gap. Carey Kish photo.

Fat Man Walking gives us a lift into Wind Gap. Carey Kish photo.

In five minutes I was packed and gone, headed a mile down the road to the Red Carpet Inn, and praying for better luck. As soon as I stepped outside it began to rain, and I walked through the shower to my next gig, which was out of town amid some cornfields. I paid my $77 by credit card to the very unfriendly lady in the office (no bullet proof glass) and walked to my room.

Despite the fact that there’s pretty much no one here, turns out the unfriendly lady saw fit to give me a room with no windows (yes, that’s just a curtain). There is WiFi but it keeps going on the blink. So far at least my TV works. And I have a bunch of beers that Fat Man Walking gave me earlier. I couldn’t be having a better time. Please God, get me out of Pennsylvania tomorrow…

The Travel Inn in wind Gap PA is a place to avoid at all costs. Carey Kish photo.

The Travel Inn in wind Gap PA is a place to avoid at all costs. Carey Kish photo.

Later on… I walk back toward town and duck into Gap Diner, a fine choice that makes the day, and didn’t I need that. Baked stuffed pork chop, mashed, veggies, salad. I’m good. I pick up a few things for tomorrow at the gas mart and settle back into my Red Carpet room. It’s clean at least, and the WiFi seems to work better now.

Fat Man Walking is picking us up, me and Walking Home and Freebyrd (they’re staying with a trail angel across town), at 8:30 in the morning. He’ll take us to the trail and we’ll slack pack the 16 miles to Delaware Water Gap. While we’re doing that, Fat Man will shuttle our packs to the hostel in DWG. The boys will be staying there while I get picked up by family. That’s the plan anyway.


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