Appalachian Trail – October 13, 2013
I’ve always taken hanging out with family and friends for granted, but after weeks of hiking, dehydrated food, and quick little motel stays on the trail, it was always a treat to see everyone for the night, gorge on “real” food, and laugh hard as I caught up on events in the “real world.” It was also a joy to take a long hot shower, and roll around on the floor with an ecstatic Staffy.
The next day, I was dropped off after lunch where I had left Rt. 17 the day before. The day was bright and dry, as all days had been for the past month, and I started the hike climbing “Agony Grind.” It was a rocky little climb up from the road, but it really is all about perspective, and after Maine and New Hampshire, it was a small bump.
The 8 miles over to Lakes Road were a good workout, with lot’s of rock scrambles through a continuous roller coaster, weaving in and out of outcroppings and slabs of rough rock. I was rested, with low miles the previous day, so I enjoyed the hike, and just lowered my head and focused on where I placed my feet. I might have felt differently at the end of a long day, so I’ll give “Agony Grind,” and it’s following brethren rock slabs, props for difficulty.
The only frustration in the eight mile section was the poor blazing. I went the wrong way at least twice, and had to back track to find the trail. The maintainer here must have been a former CDT maintainer. To whoever maintains that section, I would suggest walking this section with someone that has never hiked it, only of course if the “hidden” blazes are not intentional. When the said novice starts turning in circles, or wandering aimlessly, consider a blaze.
On a positive note, this eight mile section also had great trail magic. There was a cooler with just about EVERYTHING you could want and need, including AAA batteries. This was only my second instance of trail magic on the hike, with the first being in Maine. I had forgotten to purchase more batteries for my headlamp, so this was a timely find. Thanks!
Originally, I had planned on going into Greenwood Lake, NY and had made reservations at a motel in town. With the night off with friends, I was able to resupply and wanted to bypass the town stop. Unfortunately, they had a seven day cancellation policy, so I was going in for the evening rather than pay for nothing. At least that is my excuse for another town stop on the same day I left a town stop, and I’m sticking to it!
I passed numerous section hikers out for the holiday weekend. This was definitely a popular section of trail this close to the city. There was certainly no chance of getting lonely on this section of trail. I don’t think I have yet to hike a day in New York without seeing people at some point.
Once at the road, the motel owner picked me up. The highlight of the evening was getting to watch the season premiere of “The Walking Dead.” My toe/foot could have played an extra role a few weeks ago. This may have also been one of the pulls to town for the evening, but that is very anti back to nature, and I’m not going to admit that watching a zombie show on network television trumped sleeping in a tent on the rocky ground.