Singing the Praises of the Tri-State Area: Trail Update Eight

After a rough two weeks or so in Pennsylvania, I crossed over into New Jersey on Wednesday, July 3. The state line hits on a long bridge across the Delaware River, and I was so excited to be closer to home! (Plus, I’d bought a tasty apple pie at a farmers market to enjoy later in the day.) As a native New Yorker, I was surprised by just how gorgeous the hiking was throughout all of New Jersey: lots of bird sanctuaries, well-maintained boardwalks, thoughtful benches, and double trail magic on my first day in the state. Warwick provided a delicious food break from typical trail food, and I started feeling refreshed after all the long, rocky days in Pennsylvania. I finally caught up with the full trail family after a few days of hiking apart, and we enjoyed seeing fireworks in all directions for the 4th of July.

Mentally, I was excited to cross the border into New York, because it had taken me about 18 hours to get from NYC to Georgia at the start of the trail, and a bit over three months to walk back. How’s that for making me appreciate advances in transportation? On Sunday July 7, I was finally back in my state! Now that I’m up north and we cross state lines every few days, the hike is going by even faster. Overall the terrain in NY changed every few minutes, which was perfect. Don’t like the rock climb? Take five, then you’ll be heading downhill, or through a forest, or by a lake. Years ago I did a section hike from Bear Mountain, NY, south, and it was interesting to go through the same terrain from the opposite direction. Plus, I remember struggling so much on that hike, then covering nearly twice as many miles per day on this year’s hike. 1,300 miles will certainly whip you into hiking shape.

Since I’m from NYC, I hadn’t planned to go into the city during my hike. However, since one of the guys in my trail family was heading off to hike in Colorado, I was convinced pretty easily to take a day off and head back home. Walking through my old neighborhood after three months in the woods was a great distraction, but it made me want to get back on the trail and finish up my adventure. I did stop by the office to say hi… in full smelly hiker fashion.

I hit Connecticut shortly after getting back on trail after NYC. The hiking was definitely more rocky, but I still enjoyed all the different terrain and short mileage in each state. My extended family came out for a day trip and picnic at the Kent Falls State Park (definitely recommended, though it’s a short drive off trail). Lots of food and swimming was had by all, and I got a nice, flat Housatonic River walk to close out my day afterward.

I can’t believe I have passed mile 1,500 already. Just under 700 to go at this point, which I expect to finish in around 40 days if all goes well (or maybe longer, as I hear Maine has some gorgeous lakes and makes you want to take some shorter days). The trail family has spread out due to people having a few commitments for which they need to take days off, or due to skipping an NYC detour. Hopefully we’ll all reunite again before the summit! And to all the other hikers this season, keep pushing through Pennsylvania. The later states will make up for it.

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