AT Days 85-87
Bear Mountain Rec Area to Canopus Lake, 21.2 miles
The two days off at my house were well spent as I hung out with family and friends and enjoyed lounging by my pool. My short-lived vacation was over, and on Sunday, June 20th it was time to get back to work. It was Father’s Day and I was thrilled that my dad would be hiking the first 12 miles of the day with me.
My mom dropped us off at the Bear Mountain Rec Area, and we walked past the growing crowd of tourists enjoying the sunny day at the picnic tables by Hessian Lake. We crossed the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge where a steep climb greeted us. We remained on the ridge for about five miles before descending down to the Appalachian Market, one of many delis and markets in NY in close proximity to trail.
The AT gradually climbs back up into the woods where we reached the top of Denning Hill, followed by Canopus Hill. It wasn’t the most scenic day of hiking by any means, but I was really enjoying hiking with my dad, one of my go-to hiking partners before my thru-hike.
12.5 miles in, we arrived at south highland road where my Mom picked up my Dad, and we went our separate ways. An uneventful eight more miles brought me to Canopus Lake Beach, where thru-hikers are allowed to camp and shower close by to the shores of the lake.
It was a long half-mile walk back to the trail from the beach, but camping close to the beautiful lake made the walk worth it. A few miles later, I passed the RPH shelter, where hikers can order pizza and Chinese food directly to the shelter. I was beginning to question my decision of choosing the lake over this shelter.
The AT climbs a couple hills in steep fashion before reaching NY Route 52, where I walked 0.5 to a deli to grab some drinks and charge devices. Many hikers in NY won’t carry much food as they can “deli blaze” all throughout the state. Right after the road crossing the AT gradually climbs back up the ridge where it remains for the next several miles. It was very hot out and the miles weren’t very exciting, and I found myself counting down the miles to camp.
The AT leads directly to the shores of Nuclear Lake, and the lake was just asking for me to come on in for a swim. The water felt amazing and it was a much-needed reprieve from the blistering heat I was battling all day. I cruised the last three miles to the Telephone Pioneer Shelter, where I would be the only thru-hiker camping there for the night.
Telephone Pioneer Shelter to Ten Mile River Shelter, 12.8 miles
I was practically forced to sleep inside the shelter as there were no flat sites for tenting at the shelter. I was glad I ended up staying in the shelter anyways, as some intense thunderstorms shook the area throughout the night. Rain was on the forecast for most of the day, but thankfully it wouldn’t be nearly as hot as the previous two days.
I descended steeply to West Dover Road where I came upon the Dover Oak. At 400 years old, this spectacle of a tree is the largest oak tree on the entire Appalachian Trail. Past the tree, the trail makes its way through pastures and farms before a steep climb back up into the forest, remaining on the ridge for the next several miles. It was a very scenic forest and I was feeling great, enjoying the cruisy terrain this ridge provided. Descending off the ridge, the AT officially crosses into Connecticut, marking the beginning of my trek through New England, my third and final region of the AT.
An easy climb up and over Ten Mile Hill was more like a one-mile climb rather than ten miles, and I descended down to Ten Mile River, stopping at the shelter there for a lunch break. The instant I set foot in the shelter the drizzle turned into a downpour and showed no signs of letting up any time soon. I planned on waiting an hour for the rain to let up to continue on, but the rain only kept getting worse. I made the game-time decision to call it a day right here; I had only done about 13 miles and I’m not normally one to bail on hiking due to rain, but a relaxing afternoon in the shelter watching the rain fall and catching up on writing didn’t sound terrible.
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