Day 106: Just Another Day in the Woods

Crisis De Jour

I woke this morning to no electrical power in the van. First world problems, I know, but no power meant no oatmeal, no morning tea, and potentially a mini-fridge full of spoiling food. Conversion vans are great when everything works, but there are lots of things that can break.

Imagine taking your whole house on the road and jiggling every electronic and mechanical device in it for hours every day. Something is going to break eventually. It’s just a matter of time. And it’s definitely not what you’ll see in the Instagram Vanlife reels.

I’d put off ignorantly poking at the electrical system to this afternoon. First, I hike.

Just Another Day on the Trail

I just hiked today. Another day in the long green tunnel with not much to report. My goal for the day was to finish the month of July and get closer to the New York border. I did both.

New York Attitude

Speaking of New York, Northstar has decided that the proper trailside greeting in the Empire State is, “How you doing?” And the proper response is, “How you doing?” If you want to breach New York etiquette, actually answer the question.

Also, what’s with the car horns? I guess I’d forgotten that when I took Driver’s Education Class in upstate New York, we spent a whole week on using the horn. We got quizzed on how many milliseconds you should wait before beeping at the car ahead of you when the stoplight turns green (Answer: Zero)? And when is it improper to beep the horn (Answer: Never)? New York drivers need to relax.

I hiked up on a guy with some New York attitude this morning. I’d met him yesterday. He and a buddy are section hiking to Great Barrington. This morning he was leaning over his trekking poles midway up a small climb ahead of me, breathing heavily. When I got within 20 feet, he started moving, so I assumed he’d seen me. Nope. He didn’t hear me either.

I shadowed him for a few seconds until he stepped to the side, which I assumed meant he’d realized I was behind him. Nope. He jumped and started angrily yelling at me that I should have coughed or clicked my poles or something. I had, but he must have been too distracted with his suffering. I’d have apologized but he kept on angrily lecturing me until I stopped, looked him in the eye, and said, “How you doing?” He had to stop and ask how I was doing. Problem solved.

I felt a little bad killing him and leaving him in a shallow grave, but how did he not know section hikers are not supposed to speak directly to thru-hikers?

Water Management

Ski Bum told me she was hiking to the Italian Deli for some “real food,” but I decided I didn’t want the extra mile since I had plenty of real food in the van to eat before it spoiled.

I used the same rationale to skip filtering water at the last flowing stream. But I misjudged my water supply and ended up hiking dry for the last two miles. Then, unfortunately, Northstar got tied up in town and arrived a little later than planned. I won’t make that mistake again.


The folks at Boho, the outfit that did our van conversion, were very responsive, walking me through a bunch of diagnostics over several hours of emails and video instructions. Basically, it looks like we’ve been parking in the woods so much, the solar panels aren’t getting enough sun. Plus, we’ve been hitting AC too hard because of the heat. Not the most satisfying answer, but at least they didn’t tell us to leave the van at a repair shop for a month.

Earworm Defined

It occurs to me that some of you may not know what an “earworm” is. Earworms are those little songs or snippets of songs that get stuck in your head, repeating themselves over and over.  For me, the cadence of my stride, something Northstar says, or just my subconscious triggers one.

Odd & Ends

  • We saw Catherine and Frederick in Pauling last night. I didn’t recognize them until we’d driven away. They’d lost some weight and Frederick had grown about four inches of scraggily beard since I last saw them near Roan Mountain in April.
  • I’m starting to see southbounders almost every day. They tell me that Vermont is a mudfest and that the stream crossings in Maine were challenging. I’ll take that over the heat and humidity they’re heading for down south.
  • Went to the book early today. I’m nearly done with Book 5 of 10 in the Cradle series.
  • A climb today had five, count ‘em, five switchbacks. On one climb! What is happening in New York? Must be the Connecticut influence creeping across the border.
  • I nearly fell off a footbridge into a roaring stream while shooting video. One bad step.

Daily Stats:

  • Start: Long Hill Road (Mile 1,433.4)
  • End: NY 55 (Mile 1,448.1)
  • Weather: Cool, sunny, puffy clouds. Humid but cooler.
  • Earworm: Wrapped Around Your Finger (The Police). Again.
  • Meditation: Lk 6:46
  • Plant of the Day: Mushrooms
  • Best Thing: Day 2 of low humidity.
  • Worst Thing: Mosquitos


Affiliate Disclosure

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.

Comments 4

  • thetentman : Aug 2nd

    Switchbacks? In NY? Are you sure you were not hallucinating?

    How you doing?


    • Jon : Aug 2nd

      Hard to tell some days but I’m pretty sure. Hanging in there.

  • Jamie Compos : Aug 2nd

    One day when I was a teen I thought it would be funny to sneak up behind a coworker and make a big loud noise. He almost pummeled me. Turns out he was a Vietnam vet.

  • Mike Nixon : Aug 5th

    “I used the same rationale to skip filtering water at the last flowing stream. But I misjudged my water supply and ended up hiking dry for the last two miles. Then, unfortunately, Northstar got tied up in town and arrived a little later than planned. I won’t make that mistake again.”

    You handled that well. It’s like you’ve been married for 40 years!!!

    Stay safe and strong.


What Do You Think?