2014 hike: NY to PA

8/29/2014

Bre dropped me off in Hamilton Nj. I jumped on the first train that pulled up. I’m headed to Penn Station. The journey begins.

I’m really looking forward to when I can do these trips with my wife and children.

The train let me out and I started heading up route 9 to Bear Mountain.  Unfortunately, my only route was a cliff on one side and a cliff face on the other. There was an occasional scenic overlook with parking, but for 5 miles, I had to walk on a highway with no breakdown pull off. When any tractor trailers came from both directions at once, I just sat on the guardrail and prayed. It was scary to say the least, but I eventually made it.

Crossing the bridge over the Hudson was cool. Apparently that’s the lowest point of the AT? When I got to the other side where the toll booths are, some poor guys car broke down at the tool booth. The backup that ensued was further down the highway than I could even see. When I was about out of view, I looked back and a group of people presumably from the gridlock were pushing the car out of the way.

8/31

Camped last night on the south side of the Palisades highway about a mile down the trail. A lot of the springs have been dry so far. The weather report calls for thunderstorms Monday through Thursday though. Should be an interesting week.

Just stopped to take a break. Had the Happy Days theme song stuck in my head. I broke out my iPod.

My steripen uv water purifier broke. Luckily I brought a backup micro filter.

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Champ

Hiked with Naffles and Champ for several hours today. Champ is miniature collie. I think she said he was a sheltie. He had a pack and a lot of training. I was impressed. Naffles is a thru hiker who’s done all of the souther portion and is about to get picked up and start sobo from Kitahden. They were nice company. Naffles stood for something about not being with a knife for long. She said she’s on her third since springer. She keeps losing them.

The trail magic was a plenty today! There we’re multiple water drops and even one had a cooler with all kinds of food. I ate beefaronie, fruit tape and a bagel. Also filled my water and got a Gatorade.

My feet did better today. I’m hoping to do a big mile day tomorrow. Only made it about 16 today.

8/31
Looks like I’m a day ahead of schedule. I could make it to my mail drop in Glenwood tomorrow, but they’re closed for Labor Day. I’m gonna take my time for the next 24 miles and get there Tuesday morning. More trail magic at Mumbasha Rd. Refilled my water.

9/1
Got caught in both waves of the thunderstorm last night. The first one hit me as I was crossing the ny/nj border which was all large rock outcroppings at the top of a mountain. The most amazing thing happened as I reached the summit though. The rain stopped and the sun came out. I filled my water bottles from the puddles on the rocks and filtered it for some much needed hydration. All the springs and creeks have been dry so far. Hopefully the rain will help the rest of the journey. I made it 18 miles to a shelter last night. Only a guy named Fitz was there with me. We watched a movie on my iPad before crashing out.

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Jim Murray’s property

I hiked to rt 94 this morning. It was about 5 miles. My feet are destroyed after all the hiking in wet boots. I got some lemonade and fruit at a roadside stand and switched into my dry sneakers. I’m gonna hike into town to kill the rest of the day. I’ll hit the Glennwood post office tomorrow morning for my mail drop.

9/2
This might be my best day of the trip. I hiked 16 miles today to Murray’s cabin. It’s part of the farm belonging to Jim Murray, a former thru hiker. It’s only .2 of a mile off the trail and wow what a nice place. The cabin is big enough for 6 hikers to sleep on the floor and has a well pump, electric outlets and an outdoor shower! This place is so pretty too. I got here about 4:30 and after showering I’ve been lounging on the covered porch and enjoying the scenery.

Also of important note, I lightened my pack by almost 14lbs! I’ve switched to my sneakers as my feet were not doing well in the boots. So I sent back the boots, extra food, my small pocket knife, my steripen, extra clothing, extra fuel and anything I don’t think I’ll need in the next 3 days. Had todo it in two packages, but it was so worth it. If I’m hiking in sneakers I need to travel light. Sent my first package back at Glennwood, but after 10 miles I decided to hike into Unionville and send more home.

I have about 50 miles left which will put me in the  Delaware Water Gap by Friday afternoon. It’s going to thunderstorm again tonight. So glad I made it to this shelter. It’s supposed to be dry the next few days though.

I met the owner of the property, Jim. He’s awesome. He showed me the inside of his cabin which is totally a micro space, but completely functional. He said he’s gonna try and stay in it this winter. He has an electric range, sink and a loft for his bed. Pretty cozy. He’s a photographer and lives in town. This place is his sanctuary. He also showed me an amazing photo of him at the top of Kitahden when we completed his thru hike. He said he only brought one roll of film and that shot was the last on the roll! What an epic conclusion.

As a side note, I was watching a doe with two fawns munch clover when a wood chuck came out of its hole and chased them into the woods! He was right on their heels all the way. I had know idea they were so territorial.

Note for Maine:
100 mile wilderness outfitters: man named Phil Pippen has bear box at half way point for food drop.

9/4
Made it 18 miles yesterday. Pulled into Gren Anderson shelter about 3:30 pm. Only 1 other hiker with me. Was crashing out about 8:30 when two obnoxious section hikers pulled in and kept me up till almost 10. The guy also snored like a champion lumber jack. I got up at 5:30 and left before sunrise as I couldn’t take it anymore.     Y

My shoes should make it to the water gap. Only another 31 miles. I wouldn’t think they’d make it any further than that though. The sole under toes is only as thick as construction paper now.

Update: hiked 20 miles today. I was planning on going a little further, but I stopped at this awesome look out to relax and enjoy my last night here. My hammock is hung with me in it. I’m going to try to get some good sunrise photos in the morning. I’ll wrap the hike up tomorrow with a short day and lunch in town.

On the way here today I met a man named Colorado who started his hike in Key West and plans to finish in Nova Scotia. He’s already managed 3100 miles. Dude was pretty much insane. And hungry too. He was down to his last meal with no where close to resupply. I gave him the rest of my food except what I needed for dinner tonight. He was so thankful. It’s been a hike of good will this trip. I feel like I’ve received so much generosity that I have to pass on what ever I can.

This trip has been great for me. I was wrapped pretty tight the last few months. I needed some down time and I feel so much better at least mentally.

As opposed to offensive backpacker