June 20, 2013
Today’s mileage: 16.1
Total mileage: 1387.3
Meg drove us back to the trailhead in the morning and we headed out on our slack-packing adventure. It was a beautiful day here in New York and we were looking forward to hiking all day and then coming home to a nice, warm bed. The waterfall just past the road was flowing with water as we hiked up the stone steps around it. There was plenty of ups and downs, so I’m glad that we didn’t have our full packs, especially at the Lemon Squeezer. I decided not to hike with my poles today and I’m glad that I made that decision. While poles provide balance and stability when you’re carrying a 30 lb. pack on your back, I realized that when not hiking with your pack, the lack of poles gives you more freedom of movement and better agility. Plus, climbing up and down the rocks was much easier when your hands are free.
As the first day of the summer solstice, it is considered naked hiking day. We did not partake in this annual event and thankfully we didn’t see anyone else that did today. I don’t think that would be the most comfortable thing to do either. Burns and bug bites in places you don’t want them to be. Now we have officially hiked through an entire season. An entire spring on the trail, it’s hard to believe. And to think that if everything goes smoothly, we’ll be finished before the summer is over!
There was a ton of water jugs near the roads today. We didn’t need much water today, but it was nice to see the locals looking out for the hikers. Today was one of the only times I was hiking faster than Miles, but only because he’s got a bad blister on his pinky toe. The only other time that I’ve hiked faster than him is in the snow back in North Carolina. He got a second wind at the end of the day however. We took a wrong turn today more than once. Several times in fact. There were a lot of “trails” near the AT, although not official trails, they appeared to be. I think this is also a heavily used section of the trail, so there are more places where people may go off trail or unmarked trails that may lead to other roads or residential areas. We always found our way, but we definitely got confused a few times as to where the next white blaze was to be found. At one time, the tree with the white blaze had fallen right onto the trail. I imagine that a lot of the downed trees are from Hurricane Sandy damage last year.
As we travel farther north, I am reminded more and more of home. I felt like we were in Maine today as we hiked over granite rock faces with blueberry bushes lining the trail. Like New Jersey, New York is a beautiful state to hike through, but only a short part of our journey. The trail runs through 97 miles of New York before heading into Connecticut.
Meg, Maeve, and Emmy picked us up at a road crossing this afternoon and we headed back to their house for the night. I got another doctor’s check-up from Maeve and Emmy was all smiles for us. It was a perfect night out on the deck. No bugs and in the 70s. We are savoring our last night here before going back to the thru-hiking life. We are full of hot dogs and ice cream and watching Game 7 of the Spurs vs. Heat game. As a Celtics fan, there’s no question as to who I want to win tonight.