There is so much wrapped up in the words “Welcome Home”. On the trail, it has come to symbolize what Taps does… the hike is done for the day, time to lay the pack down, pull off the boots, and relax. Cook dinner, or eat a dry supper, pitch the tent, take a load off. Finished for the day.
Today started out with a hard decision… The temptation was very strong to be dropped off at Bear Mountain with everyone else, but I would have skipped 7 or 8 miles of trail, and, as it turned out, a very very enjoyable climb and descent of West Mountain, including some beautiful scenery. I made the right call!
The second mountain, Bear Mountain… Argh! Their idea of making it more accessible to dayhikers and tourists is over a thousand stone steps. And that is just on the way DOWN the mountain. I am not exaggerating the number. They actually had a plaque bragging about it! Going up was incredibly stepfull as well. Not fun! Great views though, particularly from the Perkins Memorial Tower.
Now, about the elephant in the room! I MADE IT ACROSS THAT HUDSON RIVER BRIDGE! Morning Song was with me – he had finished errands in Fort Montgomery, just about the time I summited Bear Mountain, so he decided to wait for me. No, I didn’t take any pictures, but I did get a good long look at the view. It really was quite stunning. And scary. I know I am making a big deal of this, but that bridge has been haunting me since I decided to do this, and now it is behind me. The relief, and sense of victory, is inconceivable…
The third mountain today is the one we are camped on now – I don’t know the name of it. Longest 1.7 mile hike ever, and more stone steps. *groan* and there is a train track below. Very active train track. I think earplugs tonight.
For those who sent me packages in Fort Montgomery – I am very sorry! For a number of reasons, I was not able to get to the post office, so I had to call and have everything forwarded to Pawling, NY, 4 days uptrail. I’m looking forward to seeing what is in them though!
Today was a 10 miler. 3 mountains, 1 bridge, and 3 separate instances of getting lost. The NY trail maintainers seem to like to make you guess if you are on the right trail or not. Often… not! It was a beautiful day for hiking though – high 70’s with a wonderfully cool breeze. Tomorrow, 12 miles to the next shelter.
Somehow I have to deal with an unexpected dental bill that insurance should have covered. That should be … not so much fun to deal with on the trail. Also, my shorts have a rip in them somehow. Can’t remember if I packed a sewing kit, I will worry about it later.
I hike on.