The Trail: The Long Path (http://www.nynjtc.org/region/long-path)
Description: Starts at the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey and travels north along the Hudson, turns west through Harriman State Park, meets the Shawangunk Ridge Trail, turns north into the Catskills, and ends just west of Albany.
Length: 350 Miles
What I have to look forward to: I'm starting this Saturday, October 11th and if you haven't noticed, the leaves have just started changing colors. This is my favorite time of year and I'll be out hiking in it. Just having the ability to be outside for several days at a time brings back many memories from the AT... especially fresh in my memory... the stinky-ness I wore all over me. Oh, that's my backpack. It still has that hiker stench left over from the last trip. Washing it just hasn't worked.
New challenges on this trail: There are several things about the Long Path (LP) that will be different than the AT. First is that this trail does not have the infrastructure that is built around the AT. Fewer shelters, no privies, fewer places to camp, there are no cheap hostels, no hiker boxes, and no hiker towns ready to welcome me. The social aspect that you find on the AT will not be on this trail either. I may run into other hikers from time-to-time, but there will be no other thruhikers like me to share the experience with. And those that I do meet on the trail will probably not want to chat it up with a smelly hiker.
I'll be alone for the most rugged parts of this trip which means I'll be a bit more cautious on water consumption, watching for dehydration, preparing for the cold, and prepared for any animal encounters. I might see bears, coyotes, and possibly even mountain lions (here kitty kitty). So I have all my favorite snacks ready to share with my woodland friends. Just kidding Mom!
For the first part of the trail I have one of my friends from school who will be joining me. Mandy has a desire to hike the AT one day and this is an opportunity for her to get experience backpacking before planning for the longer hike.
So tomorrow morning we're off!
I have no idea how often I'll get to post out here but keep checking back for updates.