Day 107 – Start Spreading The News!
The sun peered in under tree limbs in the early morning hours to illuminate my tent. The light was far too bright for me to remain awake. I wanted more sleep, was craving it actually. I covered my head with my puffy. That worked temporarily. Which is to say it worked until I heard the conversations of Rabbit, PFT, and Hot feet echoing up from the road through my earplugs, into my ears, and waking me once again from slumber. Sometimes you just can’t win.
I unzipped my rainfly to give them a wave. You know the kind. The kind a homecoming queen gives an onlooking crowd but secretly in her mind, she’s imagining giving everyone the bird. I was never homecoming queen (shocking, I know), but had I been, that’s what I’d be thinking. As they’re smiling back at the crowd (it would be so easy to flip everybody off right now). Social graces are a crutch, end rant.
Up at the ripe hour of 7:00 a.m., we got up from our makeshift hillside drive-in theater campsite. We walked down the street to get breakfast bagels and coffee. A shuttle driver made three trips to get the group of nearly 15 hikers back to the trailhead. I was in the last group and got on trail around 9:00 a.m.
Today’s hiking was dominated by many ridgeline walks and rock scrambles. The temperature was warm but not oppressive. The bugs present, but tolerable. Start spreading the news, because after a few hours of walking, we were leaving NJ today for Ol’ New York. As we crossed the border on the trail, another hiker, Walmart, was waiting for us there playing “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. It feels great to check another state off the list.
I hiked that morning leap frogging with Hatcher, Stanley, and Kodiak. Water sources were scarce and water tinged orange, mostly likely by stagnant leaf litter. Luckily, I had packed out a monster and what was left of my two-liter orange soda from the night prior.
At ten miles in we had planned a stop at a hot dog stand. When we arrived the hotdog stand was closed, however the creamery just down the street was open. We stopped at Bellvale Creamery for close to two hours. I got a delicious malt milkshake and two sodas. The sugar rush put me in a food coma and I took a 20 minute power nap.
Feet elevated against the side of the building and devices plugged in to change, the rest was very much needed. We refilled our water there and set back out on the trail after a cold soak of my shirt and hat.
The local humidity my body was putting off after ten minutes of hiking attracted every gnat in the tri-state area. Our stopping point for the day was fluid but we were in a shelter dead zone. What I mean by that is we could have either stopped at 12 miles for the day at a shelter or 26 miles at a shelter. Our goal of 15-20 miles for the day meant we would likely be tent camping in between them.
Hatcher was last to leave the creamery and shortly into hiking told us his strap buckle on his pack broke. We hiked on to the next suitable campsite a mile or so up and we hope he catches us in the morning. Splitting up this early into the reunion of the tramily does not bode well.
But equipment malfunctions happen and hopefully this problem gets a remedy quickly. Fingers crossed and gods speed. We have plans to stop at a lake tomorrow. Getting there early means more time to play at the lake.
Stow away in my pack for day 108 of the Appalachian Trail.
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