Day 114 – June 29 – 13.7 miles – Warwick NY to Island Pond Campsite
Zeus, Stoat, and I went to “G’s” dinner in downtown Warwick, while Flashfire stayed at the hotel. She wanted to update her blog and to try to call home. Germany is six time zones ahead of us, so getting a hold of anyone was always a little tricky.
Flashfires eye looked much better. We were relieved that she didn’t have to go to the doctor.
When we got back to the hotel we decided it was time to get back on the trail.
Last night we figured out that we could take a bus back to the trailhead. At $1.60, we thought that was a better deal than the taxi.
The bus driver wasn’t exactly sure were we wanted to be dropped off. We told him it was right next to the ice cream shop and that seemed to clear things up.
I was looking forward to seeing the trail today. I was very familiar with the section of the trail that we would hike tomorrow, but I had never hiked today’s section before.
When we got back on the trail around 10:30, the views where similar to yesterdays. When we came over a small rise we saw a turkey vulture basking in the sun with its wings spread. It didn’t seem to mind that we were there.
After passing the vulture, the trail began to undulate violently over rough terrain. For the rest of the day we were either climbing up steep rocky sections or down steep rock sections
The one exception was the area near Fitzgerald Falls. The trail went from rocky, to overgrown, to a flat area that brought us through a new growth forest.
Fitzgerald Falls was in a beautiful setting. It was a quiet and contemplative type of beauty and I could have stayed there for a while. Relaxing in the cool shade, while listening to the water make its way down the rocks on a hot summers day seemed like a great idea.
Stoat and I hung out there for a little bit. We refilled our water bottles before moving on.
When we caught up to Zeus and Flashfire, they were sitting on the side on the trail getting ready to eat lunch. The trail ahead looked like Pennsylvania and they decided to eat lunch to lift their spirits. Stoat and I joined them.
The “Pennsylvania” section didn’t last too long and wasn’t as bad as it looked. The rocks were, thankfully, malice free.
Then is was back to the southern NY section. Boulder fields and rock scrambles.
At the top of one climb, we passed a box attached to a tree. Inside the box were all sorts of first aid items free for Thru hikers. Cool!
At that point of the day Zeus and Flashfire were a little ahead of us. We could hear them talking to someone. When they saw us they called out to us and pointed to the coolers they were next to. Trail Magic!
The person they were talking to was named Headley. He was a Trail Angel. Not only did he have soda and cookies, he had fried chicken. Zeus’ favorite food.
Besides the trail magic, Headley was the one who made the first aid box attached to the tree.
Near the trail magic we passed a cache of filtered water. They were put there by other trail angels. The area that we were going through was known to dry up in the summer. There were a few lakes and streams, but most of them were high in tannin. Tannin, while not a health hazard, doesn’t taste too good. Even after the water is filtered we could still taste it.
Not long after the trail magic, we passing into Harriman State Park. I had spent many weekends over the last eight years hiking throughout Harriman. It was nice to be back as a Thru Hiker.
When we got to an area known as Elk Pen, I could see the 600 foot climb that was coming up ahead. I knew that climb. I have done it many times. Now, as a Thru Hiker, I wanted to see how fast I could get to the top.
I put the pedal to the metal and pulled way ahead of the Tramily. I could hear Zeus say, “I want whatever he’s on”, from down below. What I was on, was sheer endorphins. I was on my turf. I knew every twist and turn. I was home.
A little after the climb we came across a cooler. More trail magic! Ice cold soda and snickers!
As we were enjoying the cold soda, a hiker named Super Nova stopped by. Over the course of the conversation we found out he was doing crazy miles. On his first day on the trail he did over 40 miles, by accident. When we asked him how that happened, he said he was just really excited to be on the trail and had gotten carried away.
That’s a level of excitement I’ve never experienced.
We found out through the grapevine that the shelter a few miles ahead was crowded, had a bear that was stealing everyone’s food, and didn’t have a water source. We decided to camp in a better spot.
Soon after the last trail magic, we found our campsite for the night.
Technically we weren’t supposed to camp there, but I figured as long as we were discrete about it we would be fine.
The rest of the Tramily set up their shelter in very non discrete areas. “Ok”, I thought, “We will just have to try to keep as low as a profile as we can.” As I was setting up my hammock I looked over to see Flashfire starting a fire. We might as well been shining a spotlight on ourselves. I mentioned to Flashfire that a fire might not be the best idea. She said that it was too buggy out to not have a fire. I stood there for a minute and then walked over to the fire and sat down. If you cant beat them, join them.