Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Cliff Notes

I have been a delinquent! I have not been able to provide any blogs while I was in some of the towns during the last half of my trip. Getting internet was just too difficult.

I’ve had some friends asking what happened. And still, I have yet to get any more information out there, other than posting some pictures on Facebook. I’m sorry to those who have been waiting to hear more about my trip. Here’s the quick version:

I finished the trail on Wednesday October 7th. I arrived in Altamont, NY at around 12:30 in the afternoon after hiking 15 miles that day. The day before, I hiked my biggest day putting in about 27 miles so I could have a short day to finish and travel back to NJ.

The time in between my last blog: I hiked through the Central Catskills, which hurt like #@%&, and made it Palenville, NY where I had to stay for a couple days due to weather. I feared the hurricane was going to end my hike, but it didn’t, so I pressed on. I had many road walks with beautiful weather and good terrain…nothing to complain about except that the trip was coming to an end.

I’ll write more on how I managed to keep going and the folks I met soon. Each blog will have more pictures posted to make up for I didn’t post before.

More to come…

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Beautiful trail from the Shawangunks to WHAT THE...

So how do I say this?

What was I thinking!?!?!?  I've been in the Catskills for a few days now and it has been great, good, bad, tough, and a flat out nightmare. I remember hiking the Appalachian Trail in the White Mountains and it not being THIS hard. Southern Maine was tough...this feels a little like southern Maine...looks like it too from time to time. I am now convinced that the "trails" in NY are ALL placed over all the rocks in the state. I feel like I've spent the last couple days rock climbing instead of hiking.  It's been a slow moving trip through here.

On the AT, there were many rewards in a hard days hike, such as the cool breezes and many overlooks to sit and look out on.  In the Catskills, most of the mountain tops are wooded and have no views. I've already hit some of the hardest and highest peaks so hopefully the workload will get easier... I HOPE. I do have the Devil's Path ahead of me. It looks and sounds hard, but there are a great many views to be had there.  I'm expecting good things no matter how hard it is.

Before the Catskills,  I spent a few days in the Shawangunk ridge areas. BEAUTIFUL! All of it! My favorite parts of the trail so far are in that area, the best being Sam's Point Preserve. Another area I loved was the Basha Kill Rail-to-Trail. Most rail-to-trails are paved over for bicyclists. This one remained a trail near swamp and marshy areas. 13 miles into my hike I found the Basha Kill Winery across from the trail...hence the picture of the glass of wine. :)

I had a bonus visit form Lindsay this weekend. She picked me from the trail yesterday and will be dropping me off again today. Last I saw here was in Highpoint, NJ.  About 20 minutes after seeing her, I saw a bear on the trail. He ran off before I could get a picture however.

I haven't seen too many other bears on this trip in NY, but the trip is not over yet. I did have a visit at my tent the other night by a black furry little kitten, then by a stray beagle the next morning.  Both were cute and a welcome surprise.

OK I'm off for more fun (work) climbing these mountains.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hiking along the Appalachian Trail brings back memories...

This trip along the Long Path is allowing me to take a detour or an approved alternate path on the AT to High Point SP in NJ. From there I turn north to the Shawangunk Ridge Trail and reconnect to the Long Path.  
Well being back on the AT in NY reminded me that there is never enough water to climb these rocks. Rocks!!!! In NY!!!! I actually forgot all about them. Probably because the last time I came though here I was in much better shape.  Just about the entire path from Harriman SP to Vernon, NJ on the Appalachian Trail has been covered in rocks. It's like they decided that the AT would hit every rock in NY.  "Look there's a small rock! Put a blaze on it!"

Despite the rocks I've been able to increase my daily mileage to about 14 or 15 miles a day. Not bad considering I'm not in shape. 

Lindsay has come to pick me up from the trail to give me a day's break, and well deserved. Every part of my body hurts.  Getting some rest has helped as I'm now ready to get the rest of the this trip moving.

Here's some of the pictures to this point.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The southern Tour de woods

It's day 4 and I'm heading back out after 2 nights of what I'll call "Glamping" (hiking into hotels).  It's not what I came for but good for getting some final decent meals in before being out for a few nights. Tonight I'm going to be hanging my first bear bag! Not sure I need to worry much about the bears in Harriman SP but I should be concerned about that in NJ (bear haven).  Day 4 should be fun. It has cooled down and the true adventure begins when I get into the bigger parks. Not that the last few days haven't been because they have.  I'll just be presented with different challenges.

On day 1, Lindsay dropped me off at the trailhead. We had great day together. :) I almost opted to wait another day but her work schedule probably wouldn't have allowed that.  So I finally got started around 4pm. Lindsay said it was not so dramatic since I disappeared into the woods after 4 steps. "And there he goes".

That night I camped near the Stateline lookout. It was a nice night, but it was hot. I didn't sleep much as the sweat just rolled off of me.  Kind of reminds me why I ended in hotels the last couple nights.

Second day was great. I made some progress moving up the Hudson river along Tallman Mountain, through Piermont, NY, Tackamac Park, and Blauvelt SP.  I ended my day at the Super 8 in Nyack.  After two days I was hurting really bad. Brought back memories of the AT.

So after having some good food and a few beers, I moved on the next day through Hook Mountain. Great Place!  I don't know why I never visited this park in all the times I've hiked in the area.  This is great place to see the leaves when they have changed colors and I would highly suggest going if you've never been.

I have some pictures to coming. I'm at a hotel that won't allow me to upload my photos onto their computer, so I'll have to wait. It may be a few days before I can do that. For now, I have to get on the trail.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Starting The Long Path on September 11th

Last year I attempted to thruhike the Long Path which runs from the George Washington Bridge in NJ, all the way up the Hudson River to High Tor, then west through Harriman SP to the Shawangunk Ridge, then north through the Catskills, finally ending near Albany.  I did not complete the trail last year due to the timing of the hike (see previous posts). So I decided to give this one a try again this year, but a little earlier in the season.

Today is the day! I will start my hike in Fort Lee and hike north along the Palisades with NYC as my backdrop all day. This is fitting since today is September 11th. Today marks the 14 year anniversary of one of the most horrific acts ever... (I really can't even describe it).

On that day, I missed my ferry which stopped me from being down there that morning... instead I watched in horror from the banks across the river. Even worse was that I found out later of our loss of a great friend, Chris Amoroso. For my friends who are reading this and didn't know Chris, he was a Port Authority police officer who was killed helping others get to safety that day. "Chopper" as all his friends knew him was a very loving man, husband, father, and friend. He was always so happy when I was around him. He was a joker, a kidder, and loved to have fun with his friends. Most importantly he was always at your side when you needed someone. I can't say enough about him...and I feel I didn't know him as well as I would have liked.  I miss you Chris. You'll never be forgotten.

Today might be a tough day to start out a 365 mile hike, but this first day with Chris on my mind, already has me inspired to finish this trail this year. And probably with all the calamity you would expect, the kind Chris would have loved to see and hear.