Week 12: Days 82-84

Day 82

I’m currently sleeping at the shelter my group intends to walk to tonight, so I’m in no hurry. I slept in until 7:45, which I think is the latest for me on trail. Minisaurous has decided to hike out today as well. I left the shelter around 9 a.m., and it was already over 90 degrees. The temps today are expected to easily push over 100. I walked slower in an attempt to stay cooler and not sweat, but the battle was lost before it even began.

I caught up with Minisaurous at lunch at a road crossing. Someone had brought in a large water cache, so we were able to refill our bottles with much better water. Our original goal was to walk about 14 miles or so, but the heat was proving very difficult, so we decided to stop at the lake in a mile. The lake is a large “M” shape, and we were in the bottom middle portion where the water was clear and the weeds were minimal. It was a nice place for a swim, so we took advantage to cool off.

The mosquitoes were ravenous in the area, so we retreated to the safety of the tent and watched the movie “Up” on a phone. About halfway through the movie, I heard a lot of noise coming toward us in the woods. We could see the leaves being tossed around and flying down the cliff side next to us. Seconds later our camp was swarmed by dozens of baby turkeys. It reminded me of the stampede scene in Jurassic Park.

Today we only walked 7 miles, making my new total 1,739.9/2199.7.

Day 83

The rain came in waves last night and thankfully stopped when it was time to pack up. Our planned day was about 16 miles but had some of the tricky parts of the AT such as the NY roller coaster and the Lemon Squeezer. Our hike was also slowed by wet rocks. Much of New York is up or down large smooth rock faces that when wet can prove to be perilous. Our crab walking skills were being refined in this area for sure.

The Lemon Squeezer is named for being about a 1-foot-wide space up the cliff face. Generally hikers must remove their gear and awkwardly hobble through it. I was able to make it leaving my pack on and wrenching myself forward.

Immediately following the Lemon Squeezer was a section where hikers must pull themselves up a 7′ ledge. I dropped my gear and hopped up. Mini then handed up our gear and I pulled her over. I’m not sure how solo hikers conquer this section without tossing their things up and over and climbing unabated.

We stopped at Tiorati lake for lunch, and they had an ice cream vending machine. I splurged and enjoyed an ice cream sandwich. We then continued to our shelter for the evening. We were forced to carry extra water in to the shelter because the next water isn’t for miles. The shelter was supposed to have a good view of the New York skyline, but it’s the same view we’ve been seeing for most of this ridge. We decided to walk passed the shelter and stealth camp as the shelter is 0.6 miles off trail and not worth the extra walking. The sunset from our side of the ridge was excellent and makes harder days like this worth it.

Today we walked 16 miles, now totaling 1,189.9/2199.7 miles.

Day 84

The heat wave seems to have finally broken, and we were able to get a good night’s sleep. We stopped at the Bear Mountain Memorial Tower and enjoyed the 360-degree view and the vending machines. There used to be a hotel on the top of the mountain, but it’s since been removed.

We then climbed down to the park down a long steep stone staircase. At the bottom was the trail maintenance area where they demonstrated the different methods of trail construction, traversing, and maintenance. From the park we walked the sidewalk and eventually cut through the zoo. As I get older and spend more time in the wilds, I get more and more depressed at zoos. This zoo only harbors rescue animals that otherwise couldn’t survive in the wild. The bear cage here is the lowest point of the AT at 177′ above sea level.

We hit the Appalachian Market for our three-day resupply and headed through the woods in town to our destination at the Grey Mare Spiritual Life Center, which is a Franciscan monastery. They have a pavilion shelter on their baseball field they allow hikers to stay at.

Today we hiked 13.2 miles, now totaling 1,203.1/2199.7 miles.

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