Friday, July 25, 2008

Forgot My Swimsuit...

Sitting here in the Comfort Inn in Lincoln/ Woodstock NH with mom and grandpa here for some traveling fun and it defintely feels good to be inside for a bit. Just saw the new Batman movie as well, and yes, its incredible. Not just the movie, but the fact that I am dry and my clothes no longer smell like mildew. The trail through NH has been largely underwater due to heavy rains for the past few days, but thankfully that has cleared up and it looks like clear hiking right now. I don't just mean a little water; I'm talking puddles a foot deep in places and small waterfalls coming down slopes. After a few minutes walking in such conditions, you just give up trying to stay dry and then the fun of splashing through the wettness for 8 hours sets in. Even sleeping damp becomes somewhat normal, though admittedly I did get to cheat a lil', knowing that I'd get a day in town. Redgardless, I have the hard stuff to look foward to for the next few days, and in muddy conditions to boot. Fully rested, restocked and removiefied, its time to finally tackle the White Mts. and enjoy the awsome views. Even from down below the mountains look impressive, so a few good views from the top will make it all worthwhile. Just gonna soak up the relaxation for the minute, then begin the final push!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

4 States in One

Wow, um, so I guess the last time I posted was in NJ. And now its VT. And almost NH. Sorry about that, you know how busy things can get out here...
Where to start? Once again, I have to be brief, so just another quick rundown I'm afraid. NY was tougher than expected, lots of quick ups and downs coupled with poorly blazed trail and ample rock climbing made for some very tired shoulders. The trail passes close to some parks popular with city vacationers, and seeing as I was passing by on the 4th of July weekend, the area was packed with loads of picinickers making a mess of the place. Fortunately I had a good private seat atop Bear Mt for the fireworks from several towns, which was followed by a trip through a zoo complete with a Walt Whitman statue and some quotes from "The Song of the Open Road", a strangely emotional experience. A quick side trip into Stormville, the home of a regularly occuring flea market that my mom and I sometimes visit wasa nice change of pace as well.
Next came a trip over the Hudson and on into CT. Despite having grown up there, I'd never actually set foot on the trail in the state, much to the consternation of the other hikers looking to glean info on its terrain. I was pretty happy with how it shaped up, with fairly easy climbs but nice views and lengthy walks along the Husatonic river. I was fortunate enough to get to hang out with my cousin Becky at her house near Salisbury, where she works at a horse stable. Mom came to hike for a day and a half and put in a solid 18 miles over Bear Mt (a different one :-P) and into MA, where we met my brother and had a nice lunch. I consider myself very lucky to have such support and hospitality that I can draw on, and try to spread things around whenever I can. The hills have been becoming more severe, a prelude to the White Mts which have been hanging over our heads, and this next state was the beginning of the tranistion. The towns which we've been passing have been frequent and well placed however, and with home so close, I haven't had to worry about resupply lately. As such, MA seemed to fly by.
VT has been amazing so far, and I'm glad to have finally slowed down to some degree. The Green Mts here are challenging enough, but there are harder peaks to climb yet, and harsher weather to boot. Regardless, it is all worthwhile to see the pristine mountain lakes, the great views from atop firetowers on wood shrouded hilltops, and the ever changing flora and fauna. Oh, and the ice cream. VT has some sweet scoop shops with locally made stuff, very choice. Furthermore the pool of hikers has been more diverse; the AT runs concurrent with the Long Trail, a path running from the MA border up to Canada, for about 100 miles, and as such we've met alot of new hikers there. Even more exciting are the southbounders which have been passing in waves. At every opportunity we seem to be grilling each other for the best places to stay and eat, as well as any other valuable info. It doesn't always quite work out so smoothly, as is evidenced by my stay at a hostel in Rutland run by a very friendly, if slightly cultish, Christian community that resulted in some awkward situations. Lets put it this way; I don't dance well to any music, much less joyfull piano musicwith religious singing in the background.
Having passed the 1700 mile mark, I will say my body is starting to get a little tired. While the hiking can get easier, it never truly get easy, and from what the southbounders have to say, its going to start getting very tough indeed. Thankfully, the payoffs more than make up for the effort and we'll soon be heading into the most stunning part of the trail. Hopefully I won't get so lax again, hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Slowdown

I'm in Vernon, NJ, at the moment, taking a break and beating the heat of the day at the church hostel here. Now that home is a mere few hours away and summer vacation has started, I'll be seeing more family, and so I've decided to slow down...just a bit. Hopefully this will make it a lil' easier to meet up with people, and give me more time to take advantage of the berries in season, oh yeah! On that note, I'm hoping to hit Bear Mt, NY, on the 4th, where supposedly one can see the NYC skyline and the fireworks. After that, a quick side trip to the Stormville Flea Market with mom for some good ole' junk scouring, then on to CT. NJ in the meantime has been surprisingly wonderful-- few rocks, level terrain, nice ridgeline views, lots of bears, and a cool boardwalk through a huge swamp, all in a tiny state with just 72 miles of trial. The new shoes I picked up in Delware Water Gap are taking some getting used to, but aside from that the trail is going fine and the weather has been the usual summer sun/thundershower mix. As usual, hope everyone is feeling well, talk to you later.