It’s been 10 days since I took a zero day in Wind Gap, PA. I’ve now crossed into New Jersey, completed it, and done the same with NY. That equates to around 175 miles. We’ve slowed down a bit, but still making good time.
I see now why New Jersey is called “The Garden State.” Even though the red headed step child that is the Jersey Shore tries to bring the state to a new low every year…this side of New Jersey is quite beautiful. It was a welcome change of pace from PA. Although the rocks didn’t stop at the PA/NJ beautiful, they subsided enough for us to be able to look up and enjoy the changing landscape.
Then came New York. As told by former hicker trash friends…”New York is no joke.” Indeed it is not. The constant elevation changes, rock scrambling, poor water sources and 90+ degree weather have all made NY my toughest task to date. This being said, NY has also been just as enjoyable. The climbing has been a welcome obstacle. I find that the more I am tested, the more I enjoy myself.
A few days ago I received a Facebook message from an old high school friend. Emily was a year younger than I, and we were never close friends, but we seemed to run in the same circle at the time. She and her boyfriend live in Peekskill, NY…just a few miles from the AT and Bear Mountain. She generously offered to bring pizza and drinks to myself and the crew I’d been hiking with.
Emily and I spent a few hours catching up on the last years 10 years of our lives. It was nice to spend time with someone who grew up on the same streets I did. She’s now an ultra runner and a bad ass chick…not that she wasn’t before, I just didn’t know her well enough then. In the rain, Emily and I hiked up a steep ass climb after crossing over the Hudson River. Her generosity and friendship is a reiteration of the constant support I’ve received from total strangers, friends and family during this journey. Magic, indeed.
Now, having hiked just 5 miles this morning, I’m sitting at a deli in Stormville, NY. I just left my watch in the sun for 30 minutes. The temperature reading when I picked it back up showed 118 degrees. This means I will be lounging under the shade of a tree (where the temp reads a balmy 94), whilst sipping an ice cold lite lager and waiting for the sun to retreat back to the hell from which it spawns. We’ll hike later.
To make means worse, Bernard has contracted, what we think to be, Poison Oak. This has caused some nasty sores in places that are hard to keep dry, clean and without abrasion. At this point, there’s nothing on any thru-hikers body that is dry, clean or without abrasion, at any point in the day. So, the whole hiking game has slowed down significantly.
It’s kind of funny that, even before the point of sweltering heat, pointless ups and downs, and plant allergies, we’d already discussed slowing our pace. Bernard and I have both been feeling like we’ll blink and this journey will be over. The next rose we come across, we’ll stop and smell.
Katahdin is within striking distance and all I want to do is continue to savor this once in a lifetime experience.
Cheers for now,The Law