Sunday, June 22, 2014

AT Day 35: Character Building

6/18 Wednesday
Prospector rocks ->Graymoor
1363->1406

So my day start with a big crash.  A tree came tumbling down about 50 feet away from where I slept.  It was really windy, there was lightning(I assume heat lightning), it wasn't raining and was hot as hell.  I was thirsty. So I drank some water. It was 1:30 in the morning. I was up now. Really thirsty and running out of water.  Oh well night hike.  It must have gotten warmer thru the night. 2 miles in, I found a brook and I loaded up on water. Do people actually like the Sawyer Squeeze? I think it is annoying. I would rather pump.   So I stumbled through the dark until about 3:30.  I was pretty tired so I figured a nap would work wonders.  Slept until 5 with my feet up on a rock and my head on my pack. No bag/sac just my tights and shirt.  Well it worked like a charm. I felt like I had slept all night. The day was going great. I was in NY. I crossed the thruway where I have driven a million times. There were climbs. Punchy short steep climbs. Probably the best to get my climbing legs back. I was about 18 miles into my day and walking up a longer climb. I looked thru the guide book to find outfitters to get shoes. Sweet. The next 3 towns. About 50, 80, and 110 miles out all had outfitters within a mile or so of the trail.  So I stopped to break and dry out my feet. I called. All three outfitters.  None of them carried shoes.  Only one of them knew what compression socks were.  And only one had camelback bladders.  Now I've lost it.  How can you call yourself a "hiking " "Trails" and "backcountry" outfitter and not sell shoes or boots ?  I don't know what to do. I called mike and left him a 15 minute sobby voicemail.  I took off back on the trail feeling lost. What am I doing out here?  How am I so unprepared?  Why do the outfitter stores along the AT suck?  Nothing good.  The trail meandered over slickrock and thru brush. I found it very difficult to follow the trail. All of this was frustrating the hell out of me. I decided I would go to the visitor center at the pallisades to buy some cokes and snacks. I was kind of low on food and figured it would cheer me up/give me some motivation. I crested the last climb and had a far off view of NYC. Now that is better. Down the descent and .4 miles later, I was at the visitor center. The ladies there hated me.  Fair enough. I don't much and like the overweight, chatty couch potato types either. I left quick and headed out over a nice climb. I was getting turned around a lot on the descent and it only further frustrated me.  I climbed up West mountain and it was a meandering line.  We circumnavigated the top and it seems though they were doing some maintenance and the trail is very confusing only frustrating me more.   Finally I just descend, feel much better reaching town and trying to cross over to the last climb of the day.  I had to walk through the zoo and when I reach the gate it was locked and apparently take another trail because as he was now closed it was too late.  The trail dropped down into what seemed to be the sewer of town and paralleled the road for .2 miles then popped back out on the road. I don't know whose sick idea that is.  I cross the bridge across the Hudson river. And head out my final climb of the day. I was really tired and feeling faint. So I decide the best idea is to just try to run up the climb as quick as possible. Apparently this just jump started my engine.  I ran the last 3 1/2 miles in about 30 minutes over lumpy terrain and finally a descent through the woods into the darkness of night. I missed the turn off to the market but I saw the glowing lights and knew I was close. Being dark I decided to just go for it in trudge across this grassy looking field. It ended up being a swamp but I didn't care I was home. I got there into the appellation market and it was beautiful. Really nothing more than your ordinary gas station but it was heaven to me and they were open 24 hours and had pizza and desserts. I drink my orange juice quick and my V-8 juice did my shopping in a couple pieces of pizza and headed out the door with my food. I still had a half-mile to go on the trail and then a half-mile off to the campsite.  I arrived set up shop and passed out hardly doing any massage at all. What a long day hopefully I can forget and they're better days to come. 

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