Starting NY…NOBO

I’m back on the Trail!!!!!!

Well, not right now, actually. Right now I’m sitting in my air conditioned living room on a very comfy couch, (Do real men use the word “comfy?”) legs propped up.

I had my first real hike since May. It was terrific!

My friend John and I, parked my car at the State  Line Trailhead, and parked his around 13 miles up on Mombasha Road. (John is thre real deal out here.  He has taught me all kinds of great stuff!)

The plan was to hike just the 5 miles SOBO to the Wildcat Shelter, spend the night, and hike the 8 or so, to the NJ/NY state line. This was generally a one day kind of distance, planned on purpose, because if all the back issues I had been having.

We got to the shelter and there was no way we were stopping! We both felt like we were just getting warmed up! So, off we went without a definite plan. Maybe finish this small section. Maybe “Stealth Camp” somewhere down the trail. In NY, you are supposed to only camp at the shelters.

It was a cloudy and humid start, but the weather cooperated beautifully.

So much interesting terrain and critters. That orange guy is actually a Red Spotted Newt. They can live to be 12 years old! The one I saw was young. No spots yet. Here’s an adult:

The third rock from the sun had some really amazing fauna.

Off we went toward the CREAMERY. Everyone on the Trail in New York knows about the CREAMERY! There are many creameries along the trail. You know why. We didn’t stop. Should have.

Met a weary Thru Hiker.

A nice young couple out on a day hike.

Scrambled over lots of rocks. Some with frightening drop offs. Patience and sure footing was essential.

A quartz blaze!

It was becoming clear that we we not going to make it to the State Line. Water was scarce and campsites non existent!

So we got to the “Village Vista Trail” also now called, “Kellog’s Corner,” and decided to hike down off the mountain early.

“Kellogg’s Corner,” because this is the spot where I met Sleeping Beauty, (“Kellogs” is another one of her nick names) the day she finished her Thru Hike.

Down the hill we went. It was a long, kill your knees, kind of down . There was big incentive though. Sleeping Beauty and I had eaten at Murphy’s Tavern on her completion day,  and the cheeseburgers were really, really good!

They were still good!

We then planned to walk the road back to my car. Ha. Try sitting down to a burger and getting up to walk 4 miles on locked up legs!

John flagged a couple of guys down and they were happy to take me back to my car. It was on their way.

It was getting late so we went over about an hour or so, to  my family’s cabin on Pecks Pond, in the Poconos for the night instead of driving home.

We got up, had breakfast, and John headed back to PA.

Me, not finish the section? I don’t think so.

Off I went!

Now the plan was to park again at the State Line Trailhead, hike up to the AT,  hike across the 4 miles to Kellog’s Corner, back to the State Line, down the hill to my car and home.

And then came the rocks.

The rocks John and I crossed the day before, were cake compared to these!

So many rocks.

Up and over. Up and over. My quads were burning!

One with a rebar ladder!

It was really tough going. An hour to just get a mile done.  I had 3 more miles to go, and then back through the same rocks again to my car!

Not happening. Time for a plan adjustment.

I was really tired and cranky. Then the Magic of the Appalachian Trail happened for the umteenth time. I met some lovely people. A short conversation and all my fatigue and crankiness was gone!!!!

How does that happen????

Hiking the AT is 75% mental. At least 75%.

The couple were locals out for the day and then a hiker joined us. I got local history. Trail stories. The bearded gentleman on the left has been hiking these mountains since he was 6 years old!

The hiker on the right, John is a retired sports writer who knew my HS football coach! He’s a Trail Ambassador for this section.

Then a couple went by, with their two dogs, whom I had met earlier. She went to the HS we played on Thanksgiving when I was coaching at Quakertown! Pennridge. She also works 10 minutes from my house! Like I said, how does this stuff happen???

Totally energized, off I went.  😊

I got to the Village Vista Trail AGAIN, and headed down toward Murphy’s.

Remembered I had a sandwich! I stopped at the campsite with the view of Greenwood Lake, and had lunch.

A warm ham and cheese on rye. Tasted like heaven. I was no longer tired, but  galactically hungry.

I sat for a bit, and then headed down the mountain, passed Murphy’s, and started the 4 mile trek along Greenwood  Lake, to my car.

Ugh. It was hot. Both my feet had blisters on the bottom. I should have worn two pairs of socks, like I do in cold weather.

At least the lake looked nice!

Here is a shot from the top. Greenwood Lake is 10 miles long.

Shot this for my brother. He thinks he’s s fisherman…

Nice house with a lake view.

My face when I was still a mile from the car.

I was not a happy camper.

The oddest thing about hikers is this. They hate hiking and they love hiking and they can’t stop doing it. All the way to my car, my blisters were killing me. I was hot. I had a myriad of pains from my right big toe to a headache. All the while, I knew I loved the freedom this gives me. The pain can not kill the joy. The feeling of accomplishment.

I have played Division One College football. I coached high school sports for over 20 years. I understand pain and reward. I can honestly say, this is the hardest physical and mental thing I have ever…repeated. You would think once would be enough of this. I hate it at some point on my hikes. I wonder what is wrong with me. The thing is, I don’t give up or give in to the struggle. I adjust my distance or my pack and I press on, fully knowing that I will want to quit again at some point, but I don’t quit.

That is why I hike. Every time I don’t quit, I feel better about my life. Then I am better for everyone around me.

When I get home, all I want to do is spend time with the love of my life. It’s great.

Of course, then I go through all my photos and write. That’s fun, too. I just write. I don’t worry about what comes out too much. (As you can tell!) Just try to be honest about the experience. In my mind, I write to Jennie and Marta. My girls. The other loves of my life.

I’m so happy to be back on the Trail.

Depression gone.

Total Distance Hiked: 381.3


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