Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 48: Buchanan Mountain to Vernon, NJ

Miles today: 23.0
Miles total: 833.3

Currently sitting in St. Thomas' Church Hostel...

Well today in New York was more of the same, like the end of yesterday. I woke up as early as the sun would let me, at 4:30 AM. I knew by the time I started walking, I would at least be able to see. I still haven't tried night hiking, and I didn't plan on starting today. I had an easy six or so miles to Wildcat Shelter. Then I started to have more of these little up-and-down ridge climbs. As soon as I was losing hope, the ground flattened. I started to grin, cruising for a bit. Then the ridges came back. I wanted so badly to get into Vernon and to relax at the hostel with food from Burger King. Every time I slowed down, it was like I could see my destination zooming out. Like when a cartoon character looks down into a valley. I kept looking at my elevation profile, sure I must have misread it. Nope, clear as day, I saw a flat line, floating around 1200 feet. I would go up, go down. The trail was poorly blazed. I kept guessing which way to go, sometimes stopping to scream at a tree with the white blaze painted on it. "GIVE ME A HINT NEXT TIME AT LEAST!"

My mood went back to normal as I neared New Jersey. I climbed a ridge and stayed up high this time. The clear, cool weather had returned. I climbed up to Prospect Rock, the highest point in New York on the AT. I looked to my left, and my jaw unhinged. There was the skyline of New York City. The place I had my layover for my flight up to Maine. I had walked a plane flight's worth of trail! A smile crossed my lips, and I passed into New Jersey. A dog-walker lady brought her pack of dogs up the trail. As I was surrounded by friendly pooches, I couldn't help but laugh like an idiot. Who knows what this lady thought. I thanked her and walked off the ridge, this time for good. It was instantaneous: New Jersey was smooth and flat. I passed a nobo, asking him about the terrain ahead. "Aw, just like this. Perfect," he said. "Thank you," I whispered quietly. I rolled on over the flat hills, up an easy walk to Wawayanda Mountain. I started to get slowed down by day hikers asking me about my quest, but at this point I didn't mind. Almost into town!

I got to the road and quickly got a hitch from a fella whose friend is hiking the AT. He knew right where I was going and dropped me off at the church. The setup here is really sweet. I have a cot, wifi, computer, TV with movies, shower, and laundry. For a modest donation and some chore work. What? Life is good tonight. After taking advantage of the shower and laundry right off the bat, I talked to fellow sobo Squints, who is also in for the night. Unfortunately, the Burger King was closed, so I walked to the A&P grocery store. Outside, between the road and the parking lot on a grassy area, I saw what I thought was a dog. Nope, it was a male black bear, followed by his wife and son. I only see wildlife in town. I had left my phone in the hostel to charge, so I had to satisfy myself with pointing excitedly at the undisturbed bear family as cars drove by to watch. The A&P had a salad bar and a hot food bar. I loaded up on both. Parents covered their children's eyes. Employees started to clock out. Never shop when you're hungry. I know you've heard it before, but when you have a cart full of grocery items to carry back to the hostel, it really rings true. I ate food as I called home, washing it down as I drank from a 2-liter bottle of Code Red Mountain Dew. We all have a monster inside of us; I just let mine out.

-Rooster

Nobo count: 25
Sobo count: 1

Pictures: State line; ensuing celebration!



2 comments:

  1. Again, you are amazing. Good to see the dogs and BEARS. I enjoy pictures (bears are in your mind). Glad you got something to eat. I could go on and on but will quit.
    LU, Wiz

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  2. Amazing day Rooster! Black Bear Family in the middle of the road! Cool! Alot of "ups and downs" in crossing from NY to NJ but through it all you Arose! Congratulations! You are Admired for you Courage! LLRBPFC!

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