Mile 380.6 – 497.8, 6/2/19 – 6/10/19
Day 32: 6.4 miles
Fort Montgomery to Graymoor Spiritual Life Center
As always, we got a pretty late start today since we were in a hotel. Devin and I only planned on going 6ish miles though, so we didn’t mind much. The first thing the trail did as we got on was cross the Hudson River over the Bear Mountain Bridge. It was a foggy day, so we had some pretty cool views.After that it was a pretty easy 5 miles up and over a mountain. I took my time and got some nice snail pics.After I came down off the mountain there was a road crossing with the Appalachian Market right there. The “market” was really a glorified gas station in terms of resupply (though it did have gas canisters) but what really made it stand out was the food they served. They had sandwiches and quesadillas, plus they served breakfast all day. Now, at the hotel we had seen yesterday that there was a waffle maker in the breakfast area, so we had all been really excited for waffles. But when we got to breakfast this morning the machine wasn’t working! Very disappointing, and made me crave waffles all day. So when I saw they had pancakes, I knew what I was getting!There was a whole bunch of hikers there for a while. Shiner moved on pretty early since he wanted to do his usual 15 miles, not the 6 that Devin and I had planned. Devin and I ended up staying at the market for almost two hours talking with a hiker named Max. Max is from Toronto and listens to a lot of interesting podcasts, so our conversation ranged from artificial intelligence to food sourcing to more.
After our very long lunch, it was quick .5 mile walk to the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. Graymoor is a Franciscan Friary that has been letting hikers camp on their ball field since the 70s. When Devin and I first got the field, there were some locals having a game, so we walked around the retreat a little. We talked to some men who were in a rehab program at the center, as well as some of people watching the game. Along with Devin, Max, and I, two NOBOs, Schmutz and Billy Goat, camped in the ballfield.
Day 33: 18.8 miles
Graymoor Spiritual Life Center to Ralph Peaks Hikers’ Cabin (RPH Shelter)
Woke up to a loud bird around 5 today, which was when I was planning on getting up anyway. Nothing too exciting happened today. Saw some deer, saw a lake.The trail followed an old mining road for awhile, which was pretty cool. I really like all the reminders of human activity/history that the trail goes by, including monuments, old stone fences in the middle of the woods, and old roads like this.Devin left his sitpad at a view point, so I grabbed it and brought it to him at the shelter. This is not the first time Devin has forgotten things. When I was walking into Port Clinton I passed some trekking poles and a sitpad at a campsite and wondered how someone could have forgotten their trekking poles. About 10 minutes later I found Devin hiking south…. That explains that.The RPH shelter is another one that’s on a road, so we were able to order some Chinese food. Mediocre General Tso’s chicken never tasted so good. At the shelter, along with Max and Devin, there’s a guy from Denmark, Rasmus, who’s going from Delaware Water Gap to Katahdin, another flip-flopper Boondocker, and a section hiker Backflip. In case you’re wondering, Backflip did get his name from (accidentally) backflipping off the trail and down a hill. He said the thruhikers who saw him do it gave him a 7 out of 10.
Day34: 16.8 miles
RPH Shelter to Telephone Pioneers Shelter
It was really chilly this morning, which made it especially hard to get out of my sleeping bag. Once I got going, I saw a really big tree in a field. That was probably the most exciting thing to happen today. At the shelter, Devin tried to get a fire going for a good 10 minutes. Finally, Rasmus helped him finally start one (with the help of a random unused tampon found in the trail register box). Devin started calling him Sifu Hotman, after a character from the TV show Avatar the Last Airbender. Rasmus had absolutely no idea what the show even was, but he liked the name, so he became Hotman. Devin also became Twinkletoes after another character from the show. He wasn’t quite as pleased with that name, but he’s very light-footed on the trail sometimes, so I think it fits.Day 35: 21.2 miles
Telephone Pioneers Shelter to Mt. Algo Shelter
Since I slept in a shelter, I got a little later start then usual today. If I’m tenting, I wake up early but take a little longer to get out of camp. If I sleep in a shelter, I sleep later but I can get out of camp faster. Overall though, I tend to start hiking earlier when I tent.Originally I was planning on a 18 mile day today, though I was thinking about a 21 mile to get me a really short day into Kent tomorrow morning. The first few miles were pretty easy and nice. It was a pretty walk with lots of boardwalk, pastures and fields. Saw another big tree, even bigger than the one from yesterday. Hotman in picture for scale.When I was walking a short road section I saw a weasel run across the road into some bushes. Way too fast for me to take a picture but real cool to see. I also passed the Appalachian Trail train station. Here you could take a train (Metro North, I think) into NYC.When I got to Wiley Shelter for lunch, Twinkletoes, Max, and Hotman were all there. Twinkletoes and I decided to go the short walk into to a market/deli to get a second lunch. On the walk there I passed into Connecticut! Another state down. We also took a covered bridge on our off trail walk. The .5 miles or whatever it was off trail was worth it. I got a Snapple and a Hot Pocket and the owners of the market/deli were really nice!The climb after the deli was hard, and my two guides weren’t agreeing. I use AWOL’s paper guide to plan from resupply to resupply, and the Guthooks app, which shows you where you are and how far you are from shelters and stuff, during the day to track my progress. Well AWOL had said that after the deli it was like 6 more miles to the farther shelter. After hiking for like 2 hours I looked at Guthooks and it said there was still 5 miles to go! I was pretty confused and bummed about this since I thought I should at most be like 2 miles from the shelter, but kept hiking. I pretty soon came to a spring where Max, Hotman, and Twinkletoes were all sitting and talking about the same thing. We decided that Guthooks had to be wrong somehow and kept hiking on. Thankfully AWOL’s mileage was right, and we got to the shelter pretty quickly after that.Day 36: 7.3 miles
Mt. Algo Shelter to Stewart Brook Hollow Shelter
Got up late, since we only had a .5 mile walk to the road crossing to Kent. Twinkletoes and I got into town around 8. We got breakfast burritos at a place in town, with Max joining us towards the end of our meal.We headed to the laundromat, did laundry, resupplied and hung around and charged stuff. I also picked up new shoes! My old ones had all my training miles, plus all the miles to Kent, so it was time for new ones.Kent has a little welcome center for hikers, were we could take showers. At $2 for 4 minutes they were really overpriced, but it was a great shower.For whatever reason, it was hard going back on trail, so Devin and I stopped at the shelter 6 miles from town instead of the 10 we planned.Day 37: 15.2 miles
Stewart Hollow Brook Shelter to Belter’s Campsite
The first couple of miles out of camp today were flat and easy, right by the Housatonic River. Then, lots of ups and downs for the rest of the day. Saw some nice cascading streams.Towards the end of the day, I came upon a spring that was our campsite’s water source. Twinkletoes and Max were sitting there. I sat down and joined them, filtering water and talking. We heard a noise in the undergrowth nearby and Max wondered aloud what it was. I jokingly responded that it was a bear and then a few second later a bear really did walked out and down the hill. He was a real big guy. It was far enough away that I couldn’t get a good picture, but close enough that we all perked up at every sound we heard that night.Day 38: 18.4 miles
Belter’s Campsite to Laurel Ridge Campsite
We all woke up at 5 and got on trail by 6:15, since in 3 miles there was a town, Falls Village, you could walk into with a cafe, the Toymaker’s Cafe. The cafe was a really fun stop, with an amazing cinnamon sugar waffle. We talked with some locals for a while, with them telling us all about Great Barrington, our next resupply point.Got back on trail around 9. Walked along the Housatonic River for a bit, and saw the falls that I assume gave Falls Village it’s name.Climbed up to the top of Bear Mountain, with a cool rock tower/pile thing on the top with a great view.Then it was a nice downhill and through a cool ravine and into Massachusetts! We got to the campsite late-ish, on a weekend, and unfortunately that meant it was almost completely full of boy scouts. There were only two tent platforms left, with no where else to set up our tents. Max took the smaller one, and Twinkletoes and I tried to set up both our tents in the other. They wouldn’t both fit, so we decided to just cowboy camp, which ended up being a really cool experience! Wouldn’t want to do it if the bugs were any worse than they were though.Day 39: 13.1 miles
Laurel Ridge Campsite to US 7 (Great Barrington, MA)
The day started with some big uphill, to the top of Mt. Race, with some really nice views along the ridge. Then up to the top of Mt. Everett, where Max and Twinkletoes were breaking. I stopped for a while and then continued on ahead of them. Then it was down and down and down and then flat. There was a super buggy section, where if I stopped for more than 2 seconds at least 20 mosquitoes started swarming me.I got to a parking lot a mile and half before our road crossing into town, and decided to wait for Twinkletoes and Max to catch up, since neither of them had passed me yet. Max came up in like 10 minutes and we were very confused since Twinkletoes had left before him on top of the mountain, but he had never passed me. We stayed there for almost 30 minutes before deciding to continue to the road crossing, where we might get cell reception. But when we got there, Twinkletoes and Hotman were waiting! Apparently Twinkletoes had passed me when I stopped to use a privy. He also pulled a rock out of my pack that he had stuck in, so I’ll have to get back at him somehow.We hitched into town with a lady named Rose (thanks Rose!) and ate McDonald’s and took showers.
Day 40: 0 miles
Zero day in Great Barrington! Nothing happened much today except Buckles joined us, and Twinkletoes and Hotman both drank a gallon of whole milk because they’re crazy.