Unforgettable Moments: Port Clinton, PA to Peekskill, NY
All About The People
Many people have asked me what the most memorable moments or parts of the trail have been so far. And as I’m looking back at my journal entries so that I can sufficiently write this blog post, I’m realizing that for me, this adventure is very people-centered. It’s not what I expected, or what I think a lot of people expect before embarking on this kind of trek.
Don’t get me wrong – the landscape, views, mountains, wildlife, and flora are all truly breathtaking. There are certain vistas that I’ll always remember, like that view atop Lehigh Gap in PA or the gorgeous sunrise and sunset from the top of Catfish Firetower in NJ. But the most memorable moments recorded in my mind (and written in my journal) are those moments spent with fellow hikers, trail angels, or even just plain town folk.
Most people start this journey solo, and some may start it with one or two others. And while I can’t speak for everyone hiking the trail, what seems to be the trend among thru-hikers is this phenomenon of continuously moving in and out of different “crews”. These tight-knit groups of friends range from 2 to up to 7+ people, and many times it seems as though the people in each crew have known each other for years. But really, it only takes 5 minutes of meeting someone on the trail to form a tight bond with them. I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s so easy to form such tight bonds along the trail. Maybe it’s a sense of common purpose, or just the type of open person that takes on this challenge. Whatever it is, it’s pretty magical.
Trail angels come in many different shapes and sizes. A Trail Angel is a person leaving a cooler of sodas by a road crossing, someone opening their home to you to refill water during a 40 mile stretch with minimal water, a previous thru-hiker hiking in and cooking pancakes, pork chops, and eggs for hikers at a shelter, a church community opening up their doors to dozens of thru-hikers during their weekly potlucks, a woman giving us a ride to a hotel during a severe thunderstorm, or even just a local “townie” giving you the rest of their fresh cherries on top of a mountain. These people are unforgettable.
All About Nature, Wildlife, and Views
Part of the reason I decided to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail was to connect with my surroundings more. I’d say I’m experiencing that more and more each day. I find that I feel more whole and happy out here. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I climb a mountain, and I feel a sense of euphoria staring out at a vast landscape watching the sunset. And man, I definitely feel a rush every time I see a snake or a bear!
Speaking of bears, we didn’t see any bears until about 3 weeks in. But now our bear count is 7! A few in PA, a few in NJ, and couple in NY.
We’ve seen lots of snakes, including black rat snakes and rattle snakes. No copperheads yet.
As far as other wildlife goes, we’ve seen chipmunks, bunnies, deer, groundhogs, and SO MANY mosquitos. I’m not sure if they are going to get worse up north, but my arms and legs are already covered in bites (and wounds from scratching the bites – whoops).
I can’t really describe the amazing views we’ve seen in words, so here are photos of some of the best moments so far.
Where We’re At
We got off the trail near Peekskill, NY on Saturday to rest up for a few days. Our friend Abby picked us up at the Appalachian Market and took us to her family’s house in White Plains, where we were greeted with open arms and lots of watermelon! We were very thankful for a homey place to rest our heads for the night. On Sunday, Donna, StarTrek’s mom, picked us up and brought us to The Cottage on Otsego Lake in NY where we’ve been for a few nights. We get back on the trail tomorrow (Thursday). Only 50 more miles left of New York, then on to Connecticut! Our plan is to be up in Vermont around mid-July, come say hi Vermont friends!
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