Sunday, August 11, 2019

Appalachian Trail: Greenwood Lake, NY To Fort Montgomery, NY

🐻 x 6
UPDATED 11-21-2020

The past few days have been … different.  I had a four day plan to get to Fort Montgomery, NY that was sort of a hiking vacation.  Every day was relatively short miles.  That plan went out the window on the first day.   I deviated from the plan and totally winged it.

On the horizon - the New York City skyline.
Day 128 - When I climbed down the hill into Greenwood Lake, NY I seriously considered not climbing back up.  I would skip the climb up and get a ride back to the Appalachian Trail (AT) skipping about two miles. When I woke up after my zero day I came to my purist senses and walked from the hotel to the Village Vista trailhead and climbed up the ridge.

I reached the goal for the day, the Wildcat Shelter.  It wasn't even 10:00am yet.  I checked out the water source and found it nearly dry.  The puddles that remained were looking at me … well the frogs in the puddles were watching me.

I went back to the shelter, grabbed my pack and kept going.  This was not my usual reaction.  I usually stick hard to my plan.  The next shelter was fourteen miles away so it would be a twenty mile day if I got there.

I used the AT Guide to estimate where I was. I estimated I was two miles from the shelter. I was totally off.  I reached a highway and realized I was still four miles from the shelter.

I reached a hiker's parking lot and ran into Ruckus.  He was considering quitting due to money issues.  For the past month or so he's been living off the kindness of other hikers and strangers.  He didn't like the idea of not being able to support himself.  I hope he finds a way to continue.

I left the parking lot and reentered the forest where I promptly saw a campsite.  The tent went up.  It began to rain an hour later. My tent has been getting used more often since I left Pennsylvania.

This was going to be a 5.6 mile (9.0 km) day but it turned into a 15.9 mile (25.6 km) day instead.   I have to admit I felt pretty good.

As an extra bonus, I saw my first flying wild turkey.  Its flight was quite graceful.

The highlight is an AT symbol.  Is the trail going into a cave?
No, it's going into the Lemon Squeezer.
Day 129 - The first thing I ran into this morning was the Lemon Squeezer.  The trail passes through narrow passages and up a wall.  To get up the wall I had to take off my pack and toss it and my poles up ahead of me.  This would have been a nightmare in the rain.

I passed a lake with a few tents set up.  It would have been great to have camped here the night before but I doubt I could have gotten here before the rain came down.

I passed the shelter I had been heading to the day before and passed a group of noisy camp kids and a leader with a bullhorn.  I was lucky not to get there the night before.

Squuuueeeezzzzeeee!
At this point I was heading for a shelter that was 0.6 miles off of the AT.  The shelter has no privy and the water is poor and a half mile from the shelter.  What it did have is a view of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline.  When I arrived at the turn off for the shelter I reconsidered.  I'd managed to see the skyline from another mountain earlier in the day.  I made the bet that I would see the lit up night skyline farther ahead so I passed the turn off and kept hiking.   I lost that bet.

I kept going with no real goal anymore.  I crossed two roads and climbed two ridges.  Finally I turned a corner near the top of Bear Mountain and saw a bench facing west toward the sunset.  Not far from the bench were several flat spots.  I set my tent up on a flat rock. Since this was not an official campsite this may have been my first stealth camping.  I was joined by a south bounder (SOBO) who put up her tent in the area and watched the sun set.

It wasn't going to rain so I left my rain fly off so I could see the stars.  Being close to New York City, and the east coast in general, the stars were a bit subdued but I still saw many through the mesh of my tent.

This day was going to be a 13.5 mile (21.7 km) day but it ended up being a 16.3 mile (26.2 km) day instead.  The last three miles were probably the best of the day.

It's hard to see but it says "< 800".
Sometime today I passed the one thousand four hundred miles.  I didn't see a marker but I did see a "< 800"  mile marker.  I guess we are now in count down mode.

Day 130 - I finished the climb up Bear Mountain.  At the top is a fire tower, a trash can, a port-a-potty, and vending machines.  I drank a Powerade and used the potty.

The rest of the day was down hill.  I passed an ice cream vending machine which I indulged in.  Yes, breakfast was ice cream and Powerade.

The sunrise over the Hudson River.
The trail goes through a zoo here and is free for thru-hikers.  Sadly it was not opened yet.  I will figure out how to get to the zoo before I leave.

I walked into town and arrived an hour before the Post Office opened.  I went to the surprisingly well stocked convenience store and bought some food to compliment what would be in my mailed resupply box.

I got my box and swapped out my shoes.  New Shoes baby!!!  I boxed up the cold weather gear in the box along with some food I didn't need and mailed it to myself farther ahead.  It wasn't quite ready for cold weather clothing yet but in a week or two that may change.

With my box in hand I hiked a half mile to a small hotel where I got a room.  I got some brunch, showered, got my laundry done.

I was going to take a zero on day 131 but instead I will leave late, go to the zoo which opens at 10:00am, and then hike a short day to the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center where they allow you to sleep at the monastery's ball field shelter, use their privy and shower, and have water.

After Graymoor I have several long challenging days ahead of me that will take me into Connecticut.

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

Total Distance: 1,405.6 Miles (2,262.1 km)
Section Distance: 36.3 Miles (58.4 km)
Section Elevation Up: 7,599 ft (2,316 m)
Section Elevation Down: 8,001 ft (2,439 m)


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