June 21, 2013
Today’s mileage: 18.5
Total mileage: 1405.8
It’s always hard to leave the comfort of a bed the morning that we head back on the trail. But it’s even harder to leave behind two happy and giggly little girls. Maeve, who is almost three, told Meg that she wanted us to stay at their house longer. How could we deny that?! It wasn’t easy, but the good news is that we will get to seem them again in a few months. Meg drove us back to where we left off yesterday and we said goodbye to a sad Maeve and a sleepy Emmy. We got a really cute picture of Maeve with us before we headed out on the trail and said our final goodbyes. Thank you so much Matt and Meg for letting us stay with you for a couple of days. We had so much fun! And Maeve and Emmy are THE cutest.
The morning was full of more ups and downs as we climbed a few mountains. We had to cross the Palisades Parkway, a four lane divided highway. We were a little nervous to cross the busy road, but there were enough breaks in the traffic to cross safely.
We took a break on West Mountain with a view over to Bear Mountain. The cicadas are in full force around here and flying around like crazy. I forgot to mention that last week as I was hiking a cicada flew right into my face and wouldn’t get off. I freaked out a little, not knowing what it was at first and accidentally threw my pole into a small creek. I took a few seconds to swipe it off my face. I guess it thought I was a tree and wanted to lay its eggs on me. Gross. So, today I had to dodge and dive the cicadas as they flew from tree to tree near where I sat.
Our next climb was up Bear Mountain. It was a gradual ascent with a gravel path most of the way and stone stairs. At the top was Perkins Memorial Tower and a parking lot full of people. We climbed the tower and had clear views of the surrounding mountains and the Hudson River. It was too hazy to see New York City, but we got to see it the other day, so it wasn’t a big deal. West Point training grounds were also nearby.
At the bottom of Bear Mountain was the park where we decided to take a lunch break. Just as we entered the park, there were bags of trail magic hanging from a tree! I grabbed a Mountain Dew, chips, and a Crunch Bar to supplement my lunch near the lake. I was glad that I didn’t end up buying a drink at the vending machine a the top of the mountain. We ended up spending two hours sitting at a picnic table in the park eating our lunch and people-watching. We enjoyed both activities thoroughly. There was lots of food and lots of interesting people. It was 5 PM by the time we left and we still had almost 8 miles left. No matter though, since it was one of the longest days of the year. It was such a perfect day that we didn’t want to leave our spot. I found the fourth deer tick on me in two days as we left the park. Apparently dog ticks love Miles and deer ticks love me. I’m starting to get really paranoid about them now since they are so hard to find as they burrow into your skin.
Our next stop was the lowest point on the AT and crossing the Hudson over Bear Mountain Bridge. Commuters stared at us as we walked over the bridge. We just smiled and tried to look like we weren’t insane backpackers. 🙂 A few brave souls even waved to us. At the north end of the bridge we officially reached 1400 miles on the trail!!! We had a steep climb from there and the rest of the hike was fairly flat and downhill. We stopped at a deli that was right off the trail for dinner and ice cream. I was super excited to drink a Kiwi Strawberry Snapple and write in my journal as we sat outside at the deli/gas station. No cooking for us tonight!
We hiked on another mile to a monastery ball field where hikers can camp for the night. There are a ton of thru-hikers here tonight. We are tenting without the rainfly. It’s a perfect night for some star-gazing.
Today was such an awesome day. We took three long breaks today and still hiked 18 miles. My feet and legs feel so much better at the end of the day when we allow ourselves more time to rest during the day. It’s days like today that make the tough times we’ve endured so worth it. We’re living the trail life!