Day 128- 7.27.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 15.4 miles today (1373.8-1389.2). We woke up dry, but definitely have a ton of bug bites. I do not think I was chomped on while I was sleeping (I was wrapped up like a mummy!), but I got a lot of bug bites when I went to get water last night. We hiked past Fitzgerald Falls in the morning which ended up being the only decent natural water source today. I guess the trail clubs in New York know this because there were three road crossings today that had gallon jugs of water for hikers.
Miles were slow again today. New York is beautiful, but they are really making us work for every mile! It was almost unbearably hot today, so we really appreciated the water caches. At the last water cache, we met a guy named Hiker Man who is responsible for filling the water jugs at the NY 17 road crossing. Hiker Man drives 30 miles each way every other day to keep the water jugs filled during this time of year. He didn’t start hiking until he was 58 and weighed over 250 pounds. He is now at a healthy weight and has some really cool hiking stories.
We arrived to Lake Tiorati just at they closed the lake due to rain. The bath house was still open, so we took showers and then sat at the picnic table under the awning. Someone who worked there mentioned that once the employees left, no one would be coming by, and we took that as our cue to stay there. We slept next to the vending machines, but we stayed dry :). After the storm, there was a huge rainbow over the lake. We stayed with Balto and Ross.
Day 129- 7.28.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 13.9 miles today (1389.2-1403.1). We woke up at 6am to a cyclist getting a drink from the vending machine. Either way, we were happy to have stayed somewhere with running water this morning. We were excited to have a chance to see the NYC skyline from the top of Black Mountain, but the humidity made it too hazy to see that far.
At the top of Bear Mountain, we ran into trail magic from a teacher named Cory that is hiking the trail in sections. It was nice to sit in the shade and have some beer and cookies. We hiked down the mountain and got a shuttle to Stony Point Center. It was not exactly what I was expecting. For some reason, I thought Fuego had said “conference center,” so I was anticipating some high tech, modern accommodations. It was more of a retreat center, with lots of gardens and appeared to have a religious affiliation. The rooms were dorm-style, but everything was still nice and inviting. We ate at Hogan’s Diner with Balto and then Tyler picked us up! So excited to see him! We hung out in the room (felt like college again!) and stayed up way past hiker midnight.
Fancy Pants: We hiked 6.9 miles today (1403.1-1410.0). Fuego and I decided to go through the trail side museum and zoo and then go to the pool. High of 95 degrees today and very humid. They offer free admission to thru-hikers at the pool! We found a shady spot and jumped in the pool. We had a late lunch at the park across the street from the pool and decided to hike out. In hindsight, hiking out at the hottest part of the day was probably not the best idea.
There have been many places where I thought, “wow, we’re really far north,” but really, we just crossed the Hudson River! We are really far north! We had a pretty steep climb after crossing the river, which negated how clean we felt after the pool. On the way up, we ran into Cheesesteak and Spaghettie. Cheesesteak has dermatitis for the third time and may need to get off trail. We camped at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center. It was nice to set up on grass for a change.
Fancy Pants: We hiked 13.8 miles today (1410.0-1423.8). My knee started hurting almost immediately as we started hiking today. I think I hiked too fast on the rocks yesterday and am feeling the effects now. We ended up stopping at Clarence Fahnstock State Park because of rain. We thought we had enough time to get there before it started, but ended up getting pelted with a huge downpour. Totally soaked! We took showers and debated hiking to our intended campsite, but decided to stay. No sense in risking hiking in more rain!
I felt more homesick now than I have at all on the trail. We’ve had some intensely hot weather lately and the lack of water and tough terrain is definitely wearing on us. Not feeling like we are part of a group isn’t helping either. It’s not that we don’t like the people in our hiking bubble, I just feel like we are more acquaintances than friends.
After we set up camp, a gruff guy came up saying he reserved the spot we were set up in and that we needed to move immediately or else he was going to call the ranger. Today could not have gotten any worse! He then said, “besides being a prick, I’d like to cook you all dinner tonight!” He got us good! He had been set up offering trail magic at his campsite all week. Mr. Cruz made us omelettes and offered PB&J sandwiches. He is a Vietnam War veteran and a self-made man. Impressively, he’s been retired since 1991 and he is only 70! We had a great time talking with him after dinner. It really helped me put things into perspective and I left feeling much better than before.
Fuego: We hiked 24.9 miles today (1423.8-1448.7). Woke up to a very dewy, foggy morning. I was looking forward to having breakfast with Mr. Cruz. We went over there first thing to have coffee and breakfast sandwiches. I was feeling great after that breakfast. I was full of energy and was glad yesterday’s storm calmed the heat and humidity. It was a beautiful day and our moods were brightened up. We needed it after continuous days of bad weather and heat, being sick, constantly hungry and full of body aches. Just one lovely hiking day and a good meal can turn that all around.
We hiked by Nuclear Pond and it was so peaceful and quiet. There was flowers blooming, reflective calm pond water and a nice breeze. We were planning to stay at the next shelter, but as we arrived the stream was dry. We had to press on due to the lack of water. I was completely out and Fancy Pants had 4oz. We got to a road and there was a house nearby that allowed hikers to use their spigot. Unfortunately no one lives there anymore and the water was shut off. We were thirsty and tired and thought about hitching to town, but decided not since it’s illegal to hitch hike in New York. Eventually we ran into Route 22 where the train station was that takes hikers to New York City. There was a place called Native Landscapes that had water for us and we camped nearby by the railroad tracks. It was intense when the trains flew by. With the lack of water we ended up hiking 24.9 miles, which is the most miles we’ve hiked in a day with our packs on!