This entry is being typed on an actual desktop computer. I have not done that in a long, long time! And this will be a longer entry as a result.
Today we were ruled by the weather. Also by an urgent desire for a shower and clean clothes. They were predicting severe storms through this area tonight, and they were not wrong – it’s raining bears and rattlesnakes out there! We started the day off early – well, early for Morning Song anyway, an 8 am start. I’d’ve probably left earlier, but we pace each other. Besides, where we were camping is full of trails, and I took the wrong one at first, of course, so he got ahead of me anyway! The first 5.3 miles, to the next shelter – piece of cake. But I knew better to let down my guard. Usually good early start lead to rough days.
I was not wrong. Between the shelter where we rested briefly, and the Palisades Pkwy, New York went back to being MEAN. The trail up from the shelter was literally UP from the shelter – steep rock steps, and then a rock scramble. About that point it started raining… we sat in the shelter a bit longer to wait out the worst of the rain squall, then started up, but the rain had turned a rock scramble into a very slippery rock scramble, and I fell trying to traverse a rock slab sideways to get to safer footing… fortunately, not in a place where I could have gone over the cliff, and I didn’t get hurt, but it shook me up and knocked the breath out of me. There were unavoidable puddles all over the trail for the first time since I began, and even my waterproof boots couldn’t keep out all the water.
And then. Black Mountain. Okay, we were in cloud/fog/mist most of the way, but on clear days you are supposed to be able to see the NYC skyline from Black Mountain. (Only 34 miles to NYC.) Not today! It was a steep climb up, a steep climb down, and all you could see off the viewpoints was solid white. The trail strayed closer to the edge than I find comfortable, and I had this bizarre feeling that if I slipped and fell over the edge into the fog, they’d never find my body. Like the fog would just make it vanish. I was very glad to get over that mountain!
I FINALLY made it to the bottom, where MS was patiently waiting, and we walked .4 miles west to the visitor center in the median between the Palisades Pkwy’s divided lanes. We made it across the road safely, with a substantial break in traffic, then contacted Stony Point Center, where we’d decided to get rooms for tonight. SHOWER! LAUNDRY! HOT FOOD THAT IS MORE THAN BOILED WATER AND DEHYDRATED SUBSTANCES! And, oh, my gosh, a real bed! Literally weeks since I slept on a real bed. They have a nice discount for hikers as well. And it was a good decision, because the skies have already opened up at least twice while we were eating, and will definitely do it again. This place has kinda a New Age feeling to it, but to each his own. I will pass on the women’s New Moon Event I was invited to though. (I think that was it.)
We still need to work on the plans for tomorrow – I have maildrops in Fort Montgomery, but first I have to hike the section from the Palisades Pkwy to Ft. Montgomery, about 7 miles, including at least one more difficult mountain. With the rain tonight, I am particularly not thrilled about this, especially alone, but I’ll manage. MS is going to go straight into Bear Mountain / Ft. Montgomery and hang out and wait for me. I will get an early start, I hope – him not so much. Then he has to shove me across the Hudson River Bridge. Okay, this has been one of my most dreaded things since the very beginning. 124 ft above the water, unobstructed views, and it’s a suspension bridge to boot. I am going to feel it move, I am going to have massive vertigo, and I will freeze up often, if past experiences foretell this one. Camp tomorrow night will be 3 miles across the river at Hemlock Campsite – a 10 mile day for me.
Also, for some reason, my phone has decided that it is time for a firmware update, only it won’t update – it is stuck at 0% and been that way for hours. It is a Verizon LG Android phone, and I can’t even get it to reboot. Nor can I remove the battery on this model. ;( I don’t want to take it to a repair shop. Anyone have any ideas?
Well, gotta get the laundry into the dryer, and spread out the sleeping bag to let it air out and hopefully dry overnight, it is incredibly damp inside. It’s too warm for a 20 degree bag now, so I will have to send it home for a while, and buy a lighter summer bag… once I can find a outfitter. Inside the bag, you are too warm; outside the bag, the bugs swarm. Tenting becomes a necessity!
New York will not beat me! I hike on.