Appalachian Trail Journals 07-27-03

Journals From A 2003 Thru-Hike of the Appalachian Trail (by Loony)

Entry #103 – July 27, 2003

9:00 PM – I have definitely been slacking on the journal lately. I think we have come to a lazy point in our hike. It’s been 120 days out, and we still have 2 months left. I remember talking to Skittles a while back and he was saying how sad it was that we’re nearing the end (not really nearing the end, but you know), and how he wishes he could drag it out longer. I wish I had the energy to do 20’s every day so we could get done.

Unfortunately, Andy & I had some poor planning with the mail drop we sent out of Vernon, NJ to Bear Mtn, NY. We didn’t realize we’d be hitting the PO on the weekend. The PO was only open from 11-12 yesterday (Saturday), and we had 12 miles to get there. Decided it was hopeless and got a later start – 9 or so. Figured we’d just call the PO & forward it on. Luckily we mailed it priority, so there’s no cost to forward.

There wasn’t much of a rush then, so the hike was pretty fast. We seem to be getting back into some rough terrain – a couple of mtns to climb yesterday. The forest is very beautiful, though. Hills of huge, dark rock, carpets of moss and pines all around. Some areas have hardwoods towering into the sky, with no underbrush – just grass and you can see far into the woods. Climbed Bear Mtn., at the top of which is a large observation tower, past Harriman State Park. Hmmm – a state park 30 miles out of New York City on a Saturday. Needless to say, it was crawling with tourists. After Bear Mtn., we descended into a madhouse – the picnic area near the Inn. Picnickers BBQ’ing, feasting, yelling, screaming, staring, etc. It is such torture to go through these places, with all these people having fun, while we are “at work.” Not time to rest, no good food to cook, no money to spend, no car to drive, must hike, hike, hike – HIKE! We, of course, are having our own fun, but the normal life is such an intense draw.

After the picnic area, we passed a pool with so many screaming, bouncing weekenders we about went nuts. But then it was into the zoo (although I’d have to say the real zoo was what we had just passed through). The trail goes right through a little zoo with native animals and plants. It was cool, but we had to get through quickly as it was almost closing time – 4:30.

We came out at the Bear Mtn Bridge. From there our plan was to go into Fort Montgomery to resupply our food. Well, once we were there one thing led to another. First the bar for a beer, then the gas station for snacks and then on to the Holiday Inn Express! All this after our 2 zeros with my mom & dad. We were spoiled, I guess. We walked into that hotel & the looks we got were hilarious. The stinky, dirty hiker trash meets civilization. As we got on the elevator, two guys coming off were heard saying “What the hell was that?!”

Oh well. We had a fabulous relaxing night with pizza and TV.

This morning we pigged out @ the continental breakfast, of course. Checkout wasn’t until noon, so we took our time. Had to hike about a mile & a half back to the trail and it was back to reality. Right away we crossed the Bear Mtn Bridge over the Hudson, which was pretty cool.

Only did 6 more miles and guess where we ended up @ 3:30? The Graymoor Friary. They let hikers stay out at their ballfield, and they fed us – for free!! The 15 of us went up to the monastery @ 5:00, and had a huge dinner. Soup, coleslaw, squash, potatoes, veggies, bread, spaghetti, chicken, stuffed cabbage, iced tea. We were very appreciative, and stuffed. One of the friars gave us a quick tour of the place after – very interesting.

Who knows what’s up for tomorrow. Uuf – I feel like I’ve gained 10 lbs after last week. It was funny – when my parents came out, they brought us some “real” clothes – jeans & shirts. My jeans were falling off and I had to punch an extra hole in my belt! After they dropped us off at the trail, Strawbale caught up with us a ways up. He had run into them as they were leaving & talked a bit. He asked them what they thought was the biggest change & they answered – “the weight loss!”

That’s what exercise does, I guess – who knew it was true?! 🙂