Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 100- Wow

July 10, 2015
Stealth Camp(1385.6) to Hemlock Springs Campsite(1405.8) 20.2 Miles

Today was a great day. I spent most of it marveling over the fact that in 100 days I have walked to New York. My brain has difficulty processing that for some reason. 

I woke up this morning to a beautiful day. The overnight rain had cleared up and I was able to watch the sunrise over the lake. I made coffee and breakfast by the waters edge and watched a beaver swim around the bank. This made for one of my favorite mornings on the trail so far. After spending so much time enjoying my breakfast I had to hustle to leave camp at my normal time. 

I was on the trail a little later than I would have liked, 7:30. I knew today would be rushed because of logistical difficulties. The trail passes through a zoo which happens to close at 4:30. If I didn't make it there before then I would be forced to blue blaze around it, something I wasn't willing to do. I don't like to be rushed out here, there was a lot of cool things about today and I wasn't able to fully appreciate them. As I left my campsite I saw this sign. 
At least I didn't have a campfire last night

The first awesome part of today's hike was called the Lemon Squeezer. A difficult section a trail that includes a narrow section you must pass through and a ten foot vertical rock climb. 
Lemon Squeezer
100% vertical rock wall

The Lemon Squeezer was pretty easy for me to pass through. My pack is pretty small so it didn't give me too much trouble. The vertical wall on the other hand was brutal. I had to take my pack off and place it on top. That was challenge number one. Challenge number two was getting myself up. I've never climbed anything like this before. After staring at it for a few moments I just went for it. I'm still impressed with myself for making it up. 
Blue blaze bypass

I'm happy to report that I didn't have to take the Easy Way around. I did, however, have to take the easy way to go back down. As I was picking up my pack my water bottle came tumbling out. It fell back down to the bottom. There was no way I was going to climb down, so I took the easy way to retrieve it. Then I went back up the hard way because it was so much fun. 

The next part of the hike weaved all around Harriman State Park. If you're ever in New York, I highly recommend checking out the park. The hiking is very difficult, but It's a beautiful, well maintained park. The uphills along the AT were very challenging, but I enjoyed them in a sadistic kind of way. The climb up Black Mountain was brutal, but short. It also offers the best view of the NYC skyline on the AT. I could just barely see it in the distance, but I couldn't get it to turn out in a picture. 
Still a pretty view
Hudson River in the distance

Even though I was in a hurry, I took the time to eat lunch here and enjoy the view. West Point is close by and they were doing live artillery practice today. I could hear the boom of the cannons all day long. 

West Mountain was an even harder climb than Black mountain, but the views were equally breathtaking. 
West Mountain

After West Mountain I had to climb Bear Mountain. Wow, there was some amazing trail engineering going on. Best section of trail along the entire AT. 
800 hand cut granite slabs make up this portion of the trail
Hand placed rocks prevent trail erosion
I was blown away by the trail maintainers efforts

The trail down from Bear Mountain led into a recreation area. I was ahead of schedule so I treated myself to an ice cold beer. 
Celebrating 1400 miles
I didn't have time to get too elaborate

The trail side zoo was very depressing. I almost wish I had skipped it and taken the blue blazed trail around. The bear cage in the zoo is the lowest point along the entire trail. The bears looked so sad to be confined. After seeing so many in the wild I felt bad for them. I didn't linger very long, it just felt wrong to stare at them. 
Sad bear
Lowest Point along the AT

I caught up to Lil Freebird shortly after leaving the zoo. We hiked the final two miles to our planned campsite. Doing twenty miles over this type of terrain was really difficult. We both were exhausted at the end of the day. After setting up we started talking about what else the trail has in store for us. It's crazy to think that in roughly 54 days, I'll be standing on top of Katahdin. In a few weeks I'll be in the Whites. In a few days I'll be in Connecticut. Everything is really starting to come together now. I couldn't have asked for a better Day 100!!! 

"In a meadow full of flowers, you cannot walk through and breathe those smells and see all those colors and remain angry. We have to support the beauty, the poetry, of life." -Jonas Mekas


  1. WOW - what a day! I continue to marvel at what you accomplish each day! Keep up the great work!

  2. What a great day - actually a great 100 days

  3. 100 days and I've enjoyed reading about each one and the great pictures. When we met you at dripping rock and it had been raining all day and I waiting for you to appear. Then, there you were, I was so proud and couldn't believe some of the conditions you had endured and still are plugging along. It made me cry to see you so wet, dirty and happy.
    I'm glad it was such a nice day for you to commemorate your 100th day and 1400 miles. You rock, Yoda!!
    Stay tuned for more of "The General" being with you every step you make.LY

  4. 100 days and 1400 miles - double bonus! Love the Lemon Squeezer and the way you scaled the vertical wall - twice!

  5. 100 Days 1400 miles your Amazing!! Keep up the good work. LoL..I love your caption under the tree with the signs. I see why they call it the Lemon Squeeze.

  6. So proud of you, Katie! Miss you tons, but I'm glad you're having such an amazing time! The views are breath taking! Happy 100 days!

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  8. Katie---Good job girlie😃. Aunts TJ is unable to post on your Bolg but she wanted me to pass on her comment that you "ROCK". Take care out there and be safe!

  9. I've loved reading your journal. you're doing a great job.
    Just so you may feel a bit better about the trail side zoo. They only house animals that have been permanently injured or orphaned and wouldn't survive in the wild. When I was a kid I found a dead opossum with 6 babies in it's pouch. I brought the babies up to the zoo and the zoo people nursed them and eventually they were on display for several years. They wouldn't have lived without the zoo. Same with the bears.