Sunday, August 18, 2019

Appalachian Trail: Fort Montgomery, NY To Kent, CT

There is a saying about the Camino de Santiago.  The first third breaks your body.  The second third - the Kansas-like messeta - breaks your spirit/mind.  The third part - beautiful Galicia - takes the pieces and puts you back together a better person.  The Appalachian Trail (AT) has put my body through the wringer and thoroughly broken my spirit.  I am ready for the rebuilding part please.

An early morning on the Appalachian Trail.
Day 131 - I left the town late because the zoo didn't open until 10:00am.  The hotel owner shuttled me and Shine (another thru-hiker I hadn't sent since Hampton, TN) to the South end of the zoo. Admission to the zoo is free for thru-hikers and the AT passes right through the zoo.  It was modest but nice enough.  In front of the bear enclosure the AT hits its lowest point around one hundred and twenty-four feet above sea level.   I got a stamp for my AT passport.

About five miles out of town you pass a deli/convenience store right by the trailhead.  I stopped and had a double decker burger, a pint of ice cream, and refilled my water bottle.

I was going to stop at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, a Franciscan Monastery where you can camp in their baseball field pavilion.  The problem was it was too early.  The next day was going to be a long one so if I kept going my next day would be easier. I hiked a few more hours cutting nearly five miles off the next day's hike.

I ended up putting my tent up in a clearing near a Brook.

The maintainer for the RPH Shelter has a sense of humor.
Day 132 - I was the only person at the stealth site.  I left early and headed north.

The one interesting thing along this part of the trail was a side trail to a beach area along Canopus Lake.  You are allowed to camp there and there are showers. Since it was the middle of the day I skipped the side trail and kept moving.

I ended the day at the RPH shelter which was very nice.  I spent the night alone.  This is the third time I was alone in a shelter.  It never feels right.

The largest oak tree on the AT.
Day 133 - My first stop of the day was a deli in Stormville, NY where I got a breakfast sandwich, a pint of ice cream, and topped off my water bottle.  Water was a bit scarce in this part of the AT.  Many sources were either dry or too small to get water out of.

I ended the day at the Telephone Pioneers Shelter with a southbounder and a strange northbounder who thought he heard Sasquatch on the trail.

Near this shelter the little free libraries began appearing at the shelters.  Not sure how many thru-hikers would carry a book when an ebook or audiobook is a bit easier to carry.

Day 134 - I left the shelter and headed north.

My first rest stop was the Appalachian Trail RR Station.  The station consisted of a bench and trash cans.  I emptied my trash and ate a snack.  The sign above the bench said that one direction took you to New York City.  As I snacked I thought how easy it would be to wait for a train to show up, ride to New York City, switch to a commuter train to Newark Airport, and catch a non-stop flight to Omaha.  I got up and continued North.

These rails could have gotten me home in twenty-four hours.
I reached the Ten Mile River Shelter as it began to rain.  I sat out the rain with another thru-hiker and I ate lunch.   The rain stopped and I continued on.

I crossed into Connecticut, back to New York, and back into Connecticut on my way to the Schaghticoke Mountain Campsite.  I ran low of water as I passed one dry stream after another.  There was water at the campsite but it was a trickle and hard to get water out.  I managed to get enough out for the night.

The campsite was a rare one with a privy.  I had nicknamed some privies in the south Microprivies because your knees hit the door when it was closed.  In Connecticut they fixed that problem by not including doors ... or walls.  The privy was simply a wooden box with a toilet seat in a clearing.  Yes ... I used it.

The not so private privy.
I climbed in my tent and changed out of my wet clothes.  I have to admit that even I could smell the stench on my pants.

Day 135 - An eventful day.  I left the campsite and headed north looking for water.  After two more dry streams I arrived at a running brook where I drank up and filled my bottles.  I passed a group of northbound thru-hikers at a shelter.  I didn't know anyone.

I continued on past the turn off for Kent, CT and continued North.  It was going to be a twenty mile day and my body was dragging.  I reached the top of Caleb's Peak and laid down to nap on a rock.

Another thru-hiker showed up as I started to move on.  I got twenty to thirty feet down the trail when I tripped on something and hit the rocky trail hard.  I took stock of myself.  My glasses were bent but intact. Then I felt the blood dripping.  I took my sweat rag and wiped off a lot of blood.  I left my stuff on the trail and walked back to the thru-hiker and asked him to look at it since I couldn't see myself.  Turns out his trail name was Doc.  He helped me clean it up.

Other hiker showed up soon after and every one pulled out first aid supplies.  A pair of section hikers called one of their moms who lived in the area and asked her to come meet us at a trailhead.  We hiked just over a mile down a steep rocky slope.  I was still running on adrenaline and I surprised everyone by how fast I got down the mountain.

The section hiker's mom showed up and she was a saint.  She drove me to a hospital where I was cleaned up and glued back together.  It took four hours to get seen by a doctor.  She then took me to B&B in Kent, CT where I could heal up.  Before leaving she asked when she could pick me up to take me back to the trail.  What a nice woman.

There is a lot of art in Kent, CT
 including this thru-hiker sculpture.
Days 136 & 137 - The doctor told me no hiking for forty-eight hours so I took two zero days in Kent.  I have to say it is a comfortable place but everything seems expensive.  I am looking forward to getting back on the trail.

Pictures can be found in my 2019 Appalachian Trail Google Photos album.

Total Distance: 1,473.8 Miles (2,371.8 km)
Section Distance: 70.0 Miles (112.6 km)
Section Elevation Up: 14,191 ft (4,325 m)
Section Elevation Down: 14,016 ft (4,272 m)

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