06:58. The Day of Rain
The next day’s promised rain at get up time didn’t materialize. My equipment was packed dry (a very positive thing) and I was on the trail by 06:52. There was a dampness in the air that foretold the oncoming storm front. Off to my right somewhere below but not far from me a turkey gobbled. About 5 miles ahead was the William Brien Memorial Shelter. It would be a great dry place to reassess the days plans once the rains came
07:24. Old and New
Unlike the day before the terrain was manageable. Progress was steady except 30 minutes into it the rain began. It was light at first so much so that I opted to not put on my rain gear. That didn’t last long. Soon my pack was covered and I had my hat and rain jacket on. The rain became steady…….even hard. I passed these old and new water tanks which at least peaked my attention for a moment on something other than rocks and roots. When I reached the shelter Landslide and Lollipop Man were there. There was also a father and son team who were section hiking.
10:47. The View of New York
This was a well advertised spot overlook from which you could see the New York skyline. No skyline today…..I could barely see over the edge of the cliff. I had caught up with Landslide though and he took this picture of me with the New York skyline in the background.
10:59. He Spoke to Me
I stayed after Landslide moved on to speak with the father and son. When I left them as they were resting on a rock I had gone about a tenth of a mile when I heard sudden movement to my right followed by a loud rattle. I didn’t think that anyone would abandon a baby out here so left only one option…..timber rattlesnake. About three feet to my right was one of the biggest rattlers that I had ever seen. I dosey doed left enough to get out of his reach. We stared at each other long enough for me to get bored with it. I moved on….. he remained.
12:52. Mile Marker 1,400
I can now say I’ve hiked the first 1,400 miles of the AT although not in one hike. The mileage increases slowly….. painfully slowly.
Landslide and I reunited. Heavy severe thunder and lightning storms were moving in and he needed to resupply. We talked about getting off at the next road to seek shelter and supplies. When we made it to the road there was no signal. We opted to turn and hike right along Seven Lakes Road toward the Hudson River. I called my brother Barry and asked him to pull up a map of New York. He found us and let us know that we were heading in the right direction. A mile later two young ladies stopped and picked us up. They were trying to get their Mom’s car back to her. It was crammed with”stuff.” “We’ve always wanted to pick up a hitchhiker.” I guess we looked safe. They gave us a ride to the bridge over the Hudson River. We parted closer to our unknown destination and they had fulfilled their desire to pick up a hitchhiker! A half mile walk across the bridge brought us to a spot where I could Google a motel in Peekskill and a Lyft ride.
17:31. Sue of Sue’s Sunshine House
We got a room at the Inn on the Hudson. The first mission was a shower. That was a success. The second was laundry…. “sorry but we don’t have a washer and dryer.” That only left one thing……FOOD!!!! Two blocks away was a small pub/restaurant. We walked there and found ourselves the only dining guests. There were two regulars sitting at the bar swapping the same stories for the umpteenth time. Sue approached us…. “Are you hikers? I’m the owner, Sue.” It was a two woman operation. Sue the owner and cook and her friend Suzanne who tended bar and waitressed. She asked all about us…. “I love the hiker’s stories…… I’ve heard all the stories here more than I can say,” she said as she pointed toward the bar. We ate our meal quietly…… well as quietly as you can with classic rock playing in the background. She had cake for desert…..”Do you have any ice cream,” I asked. “No, I’m sorry, I don’t.” Twenty minutes later I was still waiting for my cake. Suzanne came to the table to refill our drinks. “If you’re wondering why it’s taking so long to get cake she’s gone to buy ice cream.” A few moments later Sue came to the table with the cake and two ice cream sandwiches. “Will this do ok?,” she asked. “Perfect”. She gave us two self addressed envelopes. “I give these to all of my hiker customers. I love to hear how their hikes end up.” We folded them into our pockets and took a picture for her collection……… her collection for those “hiking on”.