Days 93-102 on The Appalachian Trail New York & New Jersey

After the long bridge walk coming into New Jersey I was hoping to breeze through the miles in NJ. I’m getting accustomed to being wrong on the trail. A few fits and starts, a couple of extra days, and I made it through. I had the opportunity to meet a few great people, see a couple of hikers I had come across previously, ate a few great meals, and am struck by the beautiful areas on this part of the trail.

My shoe and foot problems have been resolved except for the Bear Mountain incident and I am hiking comfortably. It has taken longer between posts than I would like as I still find myself driving the struggle bus occasionally. Getting my rhythm back though.  I thank you for your patience, support, and understanding.

Super Shuttle Drivers 

Joni ( pronounced Jonni) was an irreplaceable part of my travel through NJ. She works in one of the state parks and is a great source of information and planning help. She’s as good as they come! A new friend.

 

Tye Dye and Moon

They were great and responsive. They were able to shuttle me a great distance on short notice at a more than fair price. I appreciate y’all bunches.

A Stranger In a Foreign Land 

New York also took extra days with the last hours being the most fun and entertaining. Go into Corrado’s Deli at 6 a.m. and interact with the locals. Hilarity will follow. Do so when you talk with a bit of a Southern drawl and the fun increases. I just tell them they’re hard to understand because they talk funny. 
In both NJ and NY I was able to help others and pay it forward, making the extra time invaluable. I feel a little more focused as I write this in Connecticut thanks to others that helped me with a few personal struggles. My Mom and my wife as always. The others are Matthew, Heidi, Sea Moss, Gazelle, and The Hiking Tomato. You have shown true friendship as you helped me move up the trail, and helped me feel less isolated and lonely. I can see the eventual finish in my mind and it is hard to grasp that I have come this far.

I have focused some thoughts on the hike being such an individual thing and that it is different for everyone. Perspective, pace, methodology, emotions etc. I like the solitude to a point and am happy that I am encountering a few more people. Every step becomes more consequential and every day is closer to the  finish of this part of my journey through life. I’ll try to make the most of it.

Days 93-98 New Jersey 

A hike around Sunfish Pond to Millsbrook-Blairstown Rd with an initial climb through what felt like a coastal Washington forest was surprising. My previous visits to New Jersey had been through the Newark Airport and this was nothing like the area surrounding that. A gentle climb and fewer rocks traveling past a rushing stream was welcome after the last day in PA.

Next came a day highlighted by a walk on both the AT and blue blaze around Crater Lake. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the handiwork of the beavers. The commitment to continuously gnawing on trees until all facets of their home are complete is admirable.

Crater Lake to Sunrise Mountain provided the opportunity to meet Beechnut and Grambo. She’s 80 years old and moving up the trail. No picture as I feel asking might have made her feel like a sideshow attraction.

 

Horler’s General Store in Branchville is a must see with good sandwiches and resupply. High Point State Park is one of the best parts of my NJ experience. The monument and a visit to the park headquarters are iconic parts of the trail. Most happily I walked a couple of miles with Sea Moss and her dog.

Next up, the Powchuck Boardwalk, The Stairway to Heaven, and the NJ/NY State line. Being a weekend both the boardwalk and stairway were moderately busy. Many dayhikers taking in the scenery and taking on the challenge. The humidity was a bit oppressive on the boardwalk and I was looking forward to breaking free from the crowds once I finished the stairway.

There was a lot of slab walking to get to the state line, but the crowds had ceased. 

Days 98-102 New York 


I had reached the state line towards evening and I needed to push forward. No camping in NY, CT, or MA except at approved sites. I pushed on and walked most of the six miles and to NY 17 by headlamp before finding a reasonably level spot to pitch my tent. This had the potential of going very badly as there is a lot of tough terrain in those miles. Slab walking, boulder climbing, a vertical climb or three. No great fun in the dark. I also missed out on what were certainly beautiful views.


A bit of rain in the night and I hoped the same amount of rock formations were in front of me. The first order of business was to get off trail and walk to Belleville Creamery for a banana split from the friendliest staff you could wish for. The long hike to Fingerboard Shelter took me through the Lemon Squeeze and the acquaintance of 5 section hikers who I met again at the Franciscan Church complex near Peekskill.

On to Bear Mountain. The trail was closed on one portion and the long portion of pavement walking cramped my right calf, and going downhill for 2.5 miles using my trekking poles like a walker caused my left foot to have symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Arriving at the Bear Mountain Inn I needed to overnight and break the bank on a massage to help relieve the problems and get on my way.


The zoo was closed when I left the next morning and I took the blue blaze around to the bridge over the Hudson River.



On to and past the Franciscan Church complex I found the Appalachian Market. Great food, but a rather dour staff. 


The next couple of days are a bit of a blur as I was feeling poorly. The highlights are beautiful forested areas, the Big Oak, The Appalachian Trail Train Platform, and Corrado’s Pizza and Deli.

It was rather surreal walking across the Connecticut border and closer to Maine. I have hopes the trail will be good.

Final Thoughts 

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.

Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments 24

  • Ellen R : May 20th

    Wow, I am amazed at the mileage you are making. You are crushing it. Glad to see that there are good people out there helping you out. Thank you for the pictures and blogging about your adventures. I am enjoying them!

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Ellen,
      I’m happy you’re sharing this journey with me. So many places and an abundance of beauty. The people are what makes this hike wonderful.
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
  • Marlene Hillermann : May 20th

    Love your stories. You are doing great. Stay strong

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Marlene,
      Thank you for the encouragement. The thoughts of getting to Maine are becoming more and more real every day.
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
  • Gazelle : May 20th

    Wow Boomerang! Incredible update and progress. It’s such an honor to get to hike with you!

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Solar/Gazelle,
      I am still in awe of your completion of the Connecticut Challenge. Fifty three miles in 24 hours. You rock!
      Kindest,
      Boomerang

      Reply
  • Holly : May 20th

    Thanks for the beautiful photos! I hope you’re feeling better. You’re really making some great progress! It’s been years since I’ve heard anyone use the word “dour”. It give me a chuckle because the last time I heard it used was in reference to “the dour Scots”.
    Watch out for tics, you’re in tic country now, and it’s teeny tiny nearly imperceptible baby tic season.

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Holly,
      Having been wed in Scotland I did have opportunity to see a dour Scot or two. I’ll try to get to posting more frequently and share more of these places.
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
  • Matthew Chapple : May 20th

    Keep Pounding My Brother. Be kind to yourself – you only get two feet in this deal. Remember to drop a pin.

    Hugs and Kisses… (We need an emoji link here for the website). 🧗‍♂️

    Matthew

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Matthew My Brother,
      It’s a long way from our patrol days on the mean streets. Trying to take care the best I can. I’ll fly down when I’m finished.
      Love you!
      Charles

      Reply
  • Steve : May 20th

    I’m glad to see you are still at it. You had me worried for a minute. I too enjoy you blog and pics immensely. Thank you for taking the time to take all of your loyal readers along on your adventure. Safe travels!

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Steve,
      Thanks! I’m in health protection mode right now as I calculate my days for an end of June summit. It is a joy to share these travels and It helps me feel less isolated.
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
  • JadedFan : May 20th

    I love your posts. Sorry I missed you by a week in PA.

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Same here! Pennsylvania will forever be embedded in my memories!
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
  • Kelli Ramey : May 20th

    You inspire us.

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Kelli,
      Thank you for your kind words. I hope to be finished in six weeks and will continue to give this every measure of my will.
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
  • Luz Payne : May 21st

    It is my dream to do this hike someday, but I’m in my mid sixties so it may never happen. Through your posts I’m living the experience. Thank you for sharing your journey and your insights. I’m rooting for you until you reach Maine.

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Luz,
      I’ll admit at 62 years old it hasn’t been easy. I show up for duty every day and do what I can. You aren’t too old. Thank you for your kind words and support!
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
  • Danny : May 21st

    90 + days NJ -Conn.? It should take 90 to do trail from GA-Maine

    Reply
    • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

      Dan,
      That’s 102 hiking days to the Connecticut State line. I believe the stated average is 165 days for the whole trail. My 62 year old frame is making good time.
      Kindest regards,
      Charles

      Reply
      • Charles Gutierrez : May 21st

        Springer Mountain, Georgia to Connecticut was 102 days.

        Reply
  • Janet : May 22nd

    Been following your progress since you started. My daughter was class of 23. Your perseverance is amazing. Love your photos and your honesty, wit and goodwill. Excited to follow along with you. Keep hiking your hike.

    Reply
  • Bob Bogan : May 23rd

    Rooting for you and following your journey, Charles. I’ve been on and off the AT Virginia, Carolina, NJ –and PA just recently. I keep hoping that I’d bump into you. Prayers are with you. Keep it up. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

    Bob and Sue

    Reply
  • Sherry Rouse : Jun 3rd

    Love reading your posts. We just finished up a section hike in the Shenandoahs so I’m a little behind. Loved seeing pictures at Bear Mountain as that’s where we did a small section last year for our 14 State Challenge (on top including Perkins Tower, but we drove up). We weren’t able to walk through the zoo (lack of time, needed to get to Massachusetts), but I’m constantly amazed at your perseverance and positivity!

    Reply

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