From Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt. Katahdin Maine

Friday, August 10, 2012

New York

Sorry this is so outdated but I'd like to catch up on the past few weeks/states. Leaving NYC was quite a whirlwind. Pants' uncle (we named him UT for Uncle Tom) flew out from Illinois to hike for a few days and met us at the bus station in NYC. After about an hour ride back to Greenwood Lake, NY, we hiked back up the mile long side trail that reconnected us to the AT. I was so utterly exhausted, I found a small stealth spot and decided to make it an early night. It was the first time I've camped totally alone. I'd been a little nervous about it earlier in the trip but at this point was totally ready. I really enjoyed a quiet night to myself and woke up feeling so rested and refreshed.

Pants diving in the Island Pond Outlet

Pants cowboy camping
I started hiking to catch up with my crew (side note - Gribley took a train from NYC to Ohio for a big family reunion and wedding with plans to catch up with us when he returned to the trail). With only a few miles behind me that morning, I was easily distracted by Bellvale Creamery, a local icecream shop run by a multiple generational dairy farm. I met some other hikes there and had a big scoop of white chocolate raspberry, the best ice cream I've had on the trail. The rest of the day as I recall was hot & humid but with little water around. We were so grateful for trail angels in NY, as they would leave many gallons of water wherever the trail crossed a road. Anyway, I hiked up Buchanan Mountain and found Pants & UT and some whiskey. They were planning on cowboy camping (where you put your sleeping bag right on the ground - no tent) on some mossy patches up on the rocks. Despite wanting to put in more miles and catch up with Tater, I decided to call it a day and hang out with the boys. The next morning we got up and headed out in the heat. Our whole time in NY was REALLY hot - 90+ degree weather with no escape. Sure, I'm a south Georgia girl who can take the heat. I played soccer in 100 degree weather. During my NYC days I never had AC in my apartment. I can handle the heat, but being out in the heat, hiking all day long with no escape was overwhelmingly exhausting. It was no question then, when I saw Tater by Island Pond Outlet that I decided to stop and swim and cool off. We decided to stay and camp there and enjoy the breeze off the lake. It was such a wonderful night. Pants and UT caught up and we all swam and had a relaxing evening.

The Lemon Squeeze

Climbing out of the Lemon Squeeze

Friday morning we left camp and hiked through the Lemon Squeeze, a crazy rock climb. We squeeze up, over, through, and around crazy rock formations. I love these parts of the trail! After that we headed to Arden Valley road. There is a small beach there and also soda machines and bathrooms - real luxuries for thru-hikers. Gribley was a few days ahead still - he was taking a train from Peekskill. I called him to ask about the water supply ahead of us. While we were talking I mentioned that I had lost a pair of my good Darn Tuff brand hiking socks and that my mom was going to mail me a new pair. The Honeymoon Hikers overheard and presented me with my lost socks! Haha I love when this sort of thing happens on the trail! 

Gribley's scavenger hunt

That evening we were shooting to camp on Bear Mountain but had received a scavenger hunt text from Gribley instructing us to follow a paved road to a group of three trees with boulder rocks in front. Behind them and under a small rock we would find further instructions. He had figured out a secret slack pack for us. If we left our packs on the trail, we could climb up and back down Bear Mtn and then retrieve our packs at the bottom. We set up our tents by the road and camped and then hiked up Bear Mtn in the morning. There was a cool tower at the top and we enjoyed cokes from the soda machine.

Note from Gibley
After we retrieved our packs, we hiked down to the Bear Mtn touristy area - lakes and crowds and the zoo, not our favorite section of trail but if it has a white blaze, we follow it. The zoo is interesting because it is technically the lowest point of the trail, at 124 feet. Ironically it is also in a way, the lowest figurative point on the trail. We've seen so much wildlife in their natural state, it was heartbreaking to see animals in cages. At the same time though, the zoo claims to have rescued hurt animals and will re-release back to the wild whenever possible.

At the top of Bear Mountain
I'm going to wrap this up and finish the rest of NY in the next post. Happy trails readers! Feeling much better than my last post :)

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