Hiking Trail Journals
Appalachian Trail 2003 -
Entry #101 - July 27, 2003
9:00 PM - I have definitely been slacking on
the journal lately. I think we have come to a lazy point in our
hike. It's been 120 days out, and we still have 2 months left.
I remember talking to Skittles a while back and he was saying how
sad it was that we're nearing the end (not really nearing the end,
but you know), and how he wishes he could drag it out longer. I
wish I had the energy to do 20's every day so we could get done.
Unfortunately, Andy & I had some poor planning
with the mail drop we sent out of Vernon, NJ to Bear Mtn, NY. We
didn't realize we'd be hitting the PO on the weekend. The PO was
only open from 11-12 yesterday (Saturday), and we had 12 miles
to get there. Decided it was hopeless and got a later start - 9
or so. Figured we'd just call the PO & forward it on. Luckily
we mailed it priority, so there's no cost to forward.
There wasn't much of a rush then, so the hike
was pretty fast. We seem to be getting back into some rough terrain
- a couple of mtns to climb yesterday. The forest is very beautiful,
though. Hills of huge, dark rock, carpets of moss and pines all
around. Some areas have hardwoods towering into the sky, with no
underbrush - just grass and you can see far into the woods. Climbed
Bear Mtn., at the top of which is a large observation tower, past
Harriman State Park. Hmmm - a state park 30 miles out of New York
City on a Saturday. Needless to say, it was crawling with tourists.
After Bear Mtn., we descended into a madhouse - the picnic area
near the Inn. Picnickers BBQ'ing, feasting, yelling, screaming,
staring, etc. It is such torture to go through these places, with
all these people having fun, while we are "at work." Not
time to rest, no good food to cook, no money to spend, no car to
drive, must hike, hike, hike - HIKE! We, of course, are having
our own fun, but the normal life is such an intense draw.
After the picnic area, we passed a pool with
so many screaming, bouncing weekenders we about went nuts. But
then it was into the zoo (although I'd have to say the real zoo
was what we had just passed through). The trail goes right through
a little zoo with native animals and plants. It was cool, but we
had to get through quickly as it was almost closing time - 4:30.
We came out at the Bear Mtn Bridge. From there
our plan was to go into Fort Montgomery to resupply our food. Well,
once we were there one thing led to another. First the bar for
a beer, then the gas station for snacks and then on to the Holiday
Inn Express! All this after our 2 zeros with my mom & dad.
We were spoiled, I guess. We walked into that hotel & the looks
we got were hilarious. The stinky, dirty hiker trash meets civilization.
As we got on the elevator, two guys coming off were heard saying "What
the hell was that?!"
Oh well. We had a fabulous relaxing night with
pizza and TV.
This morning we pigged out @ the continental
breakfast, of course. Checkout wasn't until noon, so we took our
time. Had to hike about a mile & a half back to the trail and
it was back to reality. Right away we crossed the Bear Mtn Bridge
over the Hudson, which was pretty cool.
Only did 6 more miles and guess where we ended
up @ 3:30? The Graymoor Friary. They let hikers stay out at their
ballfield, and they fed us - for free!! The 15 of us went up to
the monastery @ 5:00, and had a huge dinner. Soup, coleslaw, squash,
potatoes, veggies, bread, spaghetti, chicken, stuffed cabbage,
iced tea. We were very appreciative, and stuffed. One of the friars
gave us a quick tour of the place after - very interesting.
Who knows what's up for tomorrow. Uuf - I feel
like I've gained 10 lbs after last week. It was funny - when my
parents came out, they brought us some "real" clothes
- jeans & shirts. My jeans were falling off and I had to punch
an extra hole in my belt! After they dropped us off at the trail,
Strawbale caught up with us a ways up. He had run into them as
they were leaving & talked a bit. He asked them what they thought
was the biggest change & they answered - "the weight loss!"
That's what exercise does, I guess - who knew
it was true?! :)
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Preparing to Hike
the Appalachian Trail?
Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers
include the Appalachian
Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail
Conference), the Appalachian
Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian
Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide
for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The
Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters,
and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road
crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent
tools for use during a long distance hike.