June 16. Up early and on trail by 7. The guys who stayed in the shelter hadn't moved yet so I was back to spider web patrol. Since I had been having late starts the past few days I hadn't had to deal with that! New York has some pretty active squirrels. As I walked down the trail and spooked them they would take off running and make so much noise through the leaf litter. When they crunch through the leaves they sound a lot bigger than they are! The squirrels are also very acrobatic. I watched them shoot down falled trees, jump from tree to tree, and fly through the air like trapeze artists. Around 11 AM I passed the Appalachian Trail Railroad Station that would take me directly downtown NYC to Grand Central Station. I decided not to head into the city and instead took a break at the Native Landscapes Garden Center. I sat on the front patio and ate lunch and enjoyed some time in a rocking chair. The garden store offered free showers for hikers but with no soap or a towel, and putting dirty clothes back on, a shower didn't seem like a productive idea. After my break I continued north and passed an old wooden water tower that was pretty cool. I stopped at the next two shelters for short breaks and passed a big river as I made one last climb up a mountain to get to the shelter just before Kent, CT. I hiked up the mountain and caught up to an older guy hiking up. It is always hard when I catch up to people...I start hitting rocks with my trekking poles, breath heavily, cough, try to make noise so I don't scare them. Finally, I was right behind the guy and I said "This is a tough hill!" I must have startled him, he turned and yelled "Hey!" as loud as he could. I may have startled him but he scared the pee out of me! I walked past him, my heart beating fast, and continued up the hill. The last 3 miles to the shelter up and over the mountain were tough ones and when I hit the shelter around 7:30 PM I was happy to be there. Luckily one of the hikers had gone into town earlier in the day and picked up beer and I was happy to help him drink a few. It was a tough 29 miles and I was happy to be off my feet and heading into town in the morning. I had passed the New York - Connecticut state line, another state down and 5 more to go!
I recently heard from another hiker friend via email and he said he was at the Deleware Water Gap for the weekend. Meat is in Pennsylvania as well, and I have a few friends ahead of me in Massachusetts. It is interesting that every day we all wake up and walk on the same trail north, just in different locations.
June 17. I slept in this morning, woke up at 8 AM. The 29 miles had taken it out of me. I was just heading into town so I was in no hurry. I walked a mile or so to Kent, CT and stopped at a breakfast place. Kent is nice, really nice. Lots of nice cars, polo shirts and sweaters, and art galleries. I ordered a 1, 2, 3 Special...1 piece of french toast, 2 pancakes, 3 eggs, bacon, juice, and coffee. I was pumped! But when the plate came I realized I was in a pretty ritzy town...it was one of those restaurants that serves small portions, good for me normally, but now I am a hungry hiker! I easily ate everything and went to the IGA to get 4 days of food. I stopped by the outfitter/ice cream shop to get hot dogs and call everyone to wish them a Happy Father's Day! Soon it was early afternoon and I still wanted to make some miles. I got some ice cream and headed back to the trail. Kent was a nice little town, maybe a little too nice. I had heard it wasn't a cheap area, I spent a good $30 between breakfast and lunch, not to mention the $40 resupply. It made me miss the other small towns in the south where I could get a full meal for $6 and be stuffed! I was looking forward to the next week of hiking...through CT, through MA, and hopefully into VT by the weekend!
I realized this morning that Amy dropped me off at the trail a week ago today...which means it had been a week, 170 miles, and 4 states (PA, NJ, NY, and CT) since I have had a shower or done laundry. Maybe I should try to do that soon...maybe. We will see!