Back in action!
First of all, I would like to thank everyone for their kind words of encouragement after my last post. I was reading all of your comments on Facebook and on Appalachian Trials and I really appreciated all of the offers from people willing to help me as well as the offers from other hikers for me to join them. They helped me keep going! After the whole Eyes Adjust ordeal I received a text from my Aunt Sandy saying I was welcome to come back and stay with them. My cousin, Brooke picked me up within an hour and a half and I took 6 more days off with family near Philadelphia. I thought it would be best to wait for friends and to let Eyes Adjust get way ahead of me. I was so fortunate to have family nearby and I’m so grateful to them for having me again. Thank you family! After my Aunt Sandy dropped me off on the trail for the second time, I was overcome with another huge wave of homesickness. I thought about going home several times, called my mom and cried, and cried by myself some more, and went back and forth in my head over and over again. Sometimes I think “you’re almost done, you can do this.” And other times I think “live like it’s your last day,” in which case I’d rather be home with family. When I got back on the trail, I had lost what momentum I had and my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I said I would give myself 2 more weeks and see how it goes.
Days miles: 15.6
I met up with Swiper, Biohazard, Alpine and Babz this morning at the Beer Stein. It’s a little hiker friendly restaurant and bar that allows hikers to camp behind it. It really is a wonderfully kept trail secret that I hadn’t heard about.
Days miles: 22.2
Hiked a long day with Sassafras! Unfortunately I lost Swipes, Bio, Babz, and Alpine. They are aiming to finish later than I would like to finish. As long as I’m not alone, I don’t mind leaving the groups I’m traveling with. Sas and I saw a porcupine, beaver, a copperhead and what I’m pretty sure was a bear. I don’t know. It’s eyes reflected orange in my headlight.
Days miles: 20.5
I left Sassafras early in the morning hoping to catch The Mayor, Schweppes, Engineer, and Viking. Schweppes is 22 from Chilhowie, VA. It’s right outside of Damascus. He’s funny and we joke about his name being the ‘Never Ready Yeti’ because he’s always the last one ready. The Mayor is 24 from Destin, FL. He owns a personal training studio, kills snakes, spear hunts hogs, fishes, and throws knives. Engineer is a 28 year old Engineer from northern Virginia. He draws sweet pictures in the shelter logs. Viking is 26 from Millford, PA. He looks badass but don’t let the tattoos, lip piercings, mohawk, or beard braids fool you. He is a really nice guy. He does auto mechanic stuff, welding, snow plowing, worked at a florist, and has done a lot of work with Young Life. The boys were staying at Vikings house for a few days and his parents were dropping them off in the mornings and picking them up in the afternoons. It was going to rain and I didn’t know where Eyes Adjust was so I was getting nervous that I wouldn’t catch them and I was going to have to camp alone. They were 5 miles ahead of me and there was no way I was going to catch up before they got picked up that afternoon. I told them not to worry about picking me up though. If they could get me, that would be great, if they couldn’t, I would survive. I was on the verge of tears when they texted me and said “No matter what, we will pick you up tonight.” And that was just the sweetest thing I ever heard. Viking’s mom, dad, and sister picked me up at High Point State Park and we drove 7 miles ahead to pick up the boys. They took us back to their house and we ate spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread, and apple pie with ice cream. Vikings mom, Kate and his dad, Bob are some of the nicest, most welcoming people I have ever met. They went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable there and to assist us while we were in the area.
Days miles: 19.6
19.6 miles slack packing! Slack packing is the best. It makes the day actually enjoyable. I have more time, can walk faster, and take more pictures. Vikings mom and dad picked us up that night and we headed back to his house for Macaroni and Cheese and chicken. Mmmmmmm so delicious.
Days miles: 12
We got a late start. The guys watched Fight Club last night and slept in a little in the morning. We headed to the Post Office where I sent my Mountain Houses and Jetboil ahead to somewhere in New Hampshire. Unfortunately we only got 12 miles in but we stayed at a sweet camping spot near waterfalls. New York is funny. You’re not supposed to camp unless it’s in a marked camping spot but New York has some of the best unmarked camping spots I’ve seen yet.
Days miles: 20.9
Days miles: 16.3
So many things to see today! We stopped at the top of a mountain where we found a Pringles vending machine. Who knew these existed!? Not I. The vending machine man came to restock the soda machines and he gave us free beat up lemonades. We kept hiking down through a park where a ton of people were picnicking. Vikings friend and former thru-hiker, G-Hippie picked us up in his Volkswagen Van and took us into town where we ate a delightful lunch. I even got to play my picture game (there are 2 of the same picture on the screen and you have to find the 5 differences between the pictures before time runs out) on the Mega Touch at the bar for about a minute before Mayor started yelling at me that my food was getting cold. I can’t help my Mega Touch addiction. After we ate lunch at the bar, G Hippie returned us to the trail where it goes through a zoo. Thank you G-Hippie! There was a pool, and a zoo, and then we crossed a huge bridge. This was a nice little break from the woods. We hiked about 5 more miles to a deli gas station. As we ate at the picnic tables outside, we heard brakes screeching, so we turned our heads in that direction and immediately there was a 3 car wreck right next to us. It was crazy. Nobody was seriously hurt, thank goodness.
Days miles: 21
We stopped at Clarence Fahnestock State Park for lunch. There was a beach, swimming area, concessions, and showers. It was a pretty neat little place. Eyes Adjust was there but he didn’t see me. He was talking with a girl on the beach. We hiked out and passed him and that same girl stealth camping later that evening. No words were exchanged. We just ignored each other. I feel much better hiking with a group. I ran into Rick and Erika on the way into Stormville, NY. It was awesome to see them! I haven’t seen them in over 2 months. Each time I got close, I took a few days off so it was a great surprise to run into them again. Schweppes, Mayor, Viking, and I continued hiking to a deli in Stormville, NY. The deli was closed and the pizza shop next door was closing. The pizza shop guy was semi-hiker friendly. He has gotten bad reviews from other hikers because I don’t think he likes them in his shop. He will still feed them, but he wants them to eat outside. I called on the way there and the woman on the phone said they closed at 9:00 and she asked whoever else was working there to make sure they closed at 9:00. When we showed up around 8:30 he said they were closing and that I had called the wrong pizza shop because no women worked at that one. As I was leaving I double checked the phone number on the door and it was indeed the same pizza shop. But…He did make pizzas for the guys even though he was “closing”, which was really nice of him, and the pizza was very very good so I’m not going to hate.
Days miles: 7.2
I got attacked by bees! I don’t know if Viking disturbed a nest and I walked through the aftermath, or if I disturbed a nest, but I was walking and I felt something sting my shin, and then a bee got caught under my backpack strap and stung me on my shoulder, there was one on my arm, and another one stung my left hand. They were little yellow jackets. I had to run away from them. We made it to the road where we were going to get a ride to the train station to go to NYC. Viking was sitting next to the road eating pretzels in his underwear…naturally. A nice lady saw us trying to hitch hike and gave us a ride, which was really helpful because we were short on time and hitch hiking is illegal in New York. After a 2 hour train ride, we found ourselves in the heart of New York City. To say that we were overwhelmed would be an understatement. We all just kind of stood there and looked around. The Mayor had Katana dog on his shoulder because he was afraid she would potty in the street and also she was overwhelmed. At least 15 people stopped him to get pictures of or with the dog on his shoulders. Mayors cousin, Michelle, met us in Time Square and we ate lunch, hung out, and people watched for a little bit. I saw DQ, another hiker, pass by in the middle of Time Square. What are the odds!? Michelle drove us out of the city which was actually a really nice treat because most people don’t ever get to go through the city in a private car. We saw a lot of really interesting things. Michelle drove us to Mayors Aunts house where we ate New York pizza and heros and had a few drinks. It was the best way to end the night. Mayors family is awesome. I love their heavy accents and the way they talk to each other really loud. They are so funny and nice. I really enjoyed getting to know them.
Days miles: 0
We were thinking about hiking out today but it was supposed to rain and we figured our time would be better spent being tourists in the city. We saw the Empire State Building, freedom tower, Wall Street bull, time square, Cake Boss Cafe, and my favorite…China Town! We were also able to meet up with Gandolf and Rodeo in the city for a little bit. Right now we are catching the ferry back to Mayors Aunts house in Staten Island and then getting a ride back to the trail by 10:00am through a series of 5 transactions starting at 5:11am. Let the games begin.
I’m feeling good about this next stretch of trail. I’ve been out here for almost 4 months now and if everything goes according to plan, we’ll be done in less than a month and a half. There are no more places we have planned to take time off at between now and Katahdin, so fingers crossed everything works out! If there’s a plot twist, that’s okay too.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.