New York is officially kicking my butt. Today was a rough day both physically and mentally. I went to sleep last night to the sound of rain on my tarp and I awoke to the same. I had planned on only hiking 15 miles today, so when I heard the rain I decided to sleep in. I woke up every twenty minutes and it was still raining. I woke up for the final time at eight, I just couldn't sleep any longer. I had enough cell service to check the weather and the rain looked like it would end soon. I got up, put my rain jacket on, and retrieved my foodbag from the bear box. I made coffee and had breakfast in bed. The rain finally stopped around 9:45, so I began to pack up. I was amazed to see that all of the other hikers sat around waiting out the weather as well. Lil Freebird and I headed out at 10:30, by far my latest start on the trail to date.
I always check my trail guide before leaving camp, so I thought I had a pretty good idea of what today had in store for us. Well, I was totally unprepared mentally. New York is nothing but Pointless Ups and Downs(PUDs). The trail takes you up, just to go immediately back down. As an AT thru-hiker, this is nothing new to me, but NY had been the worst. It feels like they are trying to work in more miles.
Shortly after leaving the shelter we came across an idyllic little waterfall. It was a beautiful thing along a wicked section of trail.
A good portion of today was spent scrambling up and down slick rocks. I actually enjoy climbing up the rocks, going down is another matter. The tread on my shoes is completely gone after all of the Pennsylvania rocks(which led to me slipping and falling down three times today) They also look like Swiss cheese I have so many holes in them.
Miles upon miles of this
With terrain like this, we did not make very good time. With the weather forcast calling for late afternoon thunderstorms, our chances of making it to the lake for swimming and showers didn't look too good. It was getting late in the day and we still had over 4 miles to go and two difficult sections left. We tried to pump ourselves up for the final difficult climb. Luckily, it wasn't too bad just a little steep, but the surrounding forest was really nice. As we came around a blind corner I could see a body of water. I started to get excited. It wasn't the lake we were shooting for, but this seemed pretty nice. There was excellent stealth campsites around and it was still sunny out. Lil Freebird and I both came to the same conclusion at the same time. We looked at each other and said, "Let's stay here."
It was early enough in the evening, 5:30, that we could swim and enjoy ourselves before the rain started. The water was the perfect temperature after a hot and humid hike. After our swim/bath we sat on the waters edge and cooked dinner. Just as we finished cleaning up, the predicted storm rolled in. It's amazing how much better I felt after a hot meal and a "bath".
Tomorrow promises to be another difficult day, but I think I'm mentally ready for it. The weather is supposed to be sunny, with little chance if rain. We also have the opportunity to see the NYC skyline from three different viewpoints. So do your worst, New York, I'm ready.
"Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air." -Georges Bernanos