Greenwood Lake, NY-Dalton, Mass: NEW ENGLAND!
Total miles: 1568(?)
Average daily miles: 16-20
Things were not looking so hot when I last updated, but they have vastly improved. This is a good thing, because if they had gotten worse, I’d be writing this from Montana right now. Just kidding, I’m not going to quit. But boy did I want to. I changed my trail name in the middle of NY: from Tortoise to Honey Badger. We were around a whole new group of people, plus I needed something with more ferocity to get me to the finish line. So this is Honey Badger, writing to you from Dalton, Massachusetts.
From the beginning now. I really liked New Jersey. It’s my dad’s homeland, which made me think about the Jewish foods of my youth and daydream about matzoh brei. The trail was really pretty and easy, with low ridgelines overlooking ponds and rolling hills. The weather was wonderful, and even though I wasn’t crazy about the people we were around, it wasn’t New Jersey’s fault, so I won’t be hatin’.
Then we hit New York, and it was miserable. It was the scene of my last update, and I was a wreck. Silent Bob, Hare, and I left the trail a day early from where we were supposed to be picked up. Hare’s parents flew in the next day from Montana, and drove us back to PA for some family bonding. And they surprised us by bringing Hare’s sister Mikayla! All the way from Oregon! It was so great to see them all. We saw Jurassic World and it was totally epic with the coolest dinosaurs ever.
The Pearsons had a family reunion while we were there, with approximately a million people. I was overwhelmed. But Hare’s cousins had goats, the same kind I’m getting when I go back to Montana! They are Nigerian Dwarf Goats, and they’re the cutest.
We stayed down in PA for four days, plenty of time to lose that group who had been bumming me out. But I was still super unhappy going back onto the trail. It was gloomy and rainy, and the rock slabs were so slippery on the first day that I fell three times and landed really hard on my butt. One time I landed right on the top of my water bottle and it gave me a huge bruise on my lower back.
I stayed sitting on the rock and cried and told Hare I wanted to go home, and he said that he wanted to go home too. But let me inform you that wanting to go home and actually going home are two different things. Just because I wanted to quit, doesn’t mean I had any intention of doing it. I said I was going to finish the trail, so I’m going to finish. It just wasn’t very fun for a while.
To top off the morale destruction, the trail through NY accomplished the amazing feat of being simultaneously mind-numbingly boring and infuriatingly difficult. It was rainy and dark almost the entire time, no light seemed to filter through the trees. The trail stayed low and boggy, but climbed straight up and then straight down endless stupid rock piles. 100 feet up, 100 feet down. Over and over. It was so hard, and I was so tired and unhappy.
Then Hare came down with a nasty cold, and the cold took away his ability to breathe at night without gargling his tongue back into his throat. The snoring was so bad I thought he was dying. Then I thought I was going to kill him, so he’d be dead anyway. I kicked him and and smacked him and pulled his hair all night to try to get him to stop– this went on for three terrible nights. I was an awful human, I admit it. It wasn’t his fault he was sick, but I was such a sleep-deprived banshee that I couldn’t help it. We were both exhausted and pissy and really mean to each other, which was pretty lousy because we never argue or say mean things to each other.
We had to do a few half days because Hare’s cold wasn’t getting better, and I felt like we were never ever getting out of NY.
But obviously we did make it, and Connecticut was really pleasant. The bugs were annoying, but we were out of NY so who cares. We stayed at Maria McCabe’s house in Salisbury, she was so nice and funny! She rents out rooms to hikers and she lets you cook yourself breakfast. She set the table for us and put out coffee fixings and bananas. It was so cute, and one of my favorite times on the trail. My friend Nicky was supposed to meet us in Salisbury, but it was a 2.5-hour drive from her house, and she ended up not coming. I don’t blame her, but it was sad because I hadn’t seen her in years :-(.
We crossed into Massachusetts the other day, and I’ve really liked it so far! The first day in MA climbs cool peaks that actually go above treeline, which was a nice change from… the last 1500 miles. The bugs haven’t been as bad as I was hearing about, and the weather has been great. We stayed at Upper Goose Pond Cabin last night, and the caretaker made pancakes this morning!
Today we did a fast 21 miles into Dalton, getting into town at 4pm. This was an anomaly for us, as we have been wiped out for the past few weeks. It’s been a struggle to drag our semi-mobile corpses 16 miles, which is frustrating, as we had been doing consistent 20-mile days for a while there. Both of our feet hurt really badly, and we’re just so tired all the time. I’ve been hearing similar tales from other NOBOs. I’m glad we’re getting into more interesting terrain (New England!) because lots of hikers at this stage are getting tired, run-down, and over it.
But today was great, and now we’re camped behind Thomas Levardi’s house in Dalton. He’s a super cool trail angel who lets hikers stay behind his house. I hope that everyone who stays here is respectful and quiet and clean, so he can continue to let people stay on his property.
Speaking of respectful, thanks to everyone who wrote such nice things in response to my last update. I couldn’t believe how much it spread and how many people had opinions. Kind of overwhelming but also fascinating. Luckily, Hare and I seem to have lost that group for good; we’ve been around a bunch of flip-floppers and section hikers, even a few women!
Well that’s all for now. I’m so excited to get to Vermont in a few days, then New Hampshire afterwards! My dad is going to hike with us in the Whites and I’m STOKED.
Honey Badger and Hare out. Off to attack a two-pound bag of Sour Patch Kids.
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