08:54. Back in the Saddle Again
Sunday morning the Lyft driver arrived about 08:15 and by 08:35 I was once again standing at the East end of the Bear Mountain Bridge. My first few steps were down highway 9W and they were tentative. I wouldn’t call it pain as much as discomfort. I remember thinking “too soon” but decided that it was too early to make that call. The moment I left the highway it was a significant upward climb. That actually helped because I was using the front pads of my feet rather than my heels. Once I got beyond the side trail to Anthony’s Nose (a tourist trail to an overlook of the Hudson) I continued to a secluded spot beyond the other hikers going that way and took an assessment break. The heel was sore but the hike would be doable. I would “hike on”.
10:41. Ice Bear of Key West, Florida
About 4 miles in I was taking another break when I had my first contact with anyone since the tourist spur trail to Anthony’s Nose. Ice Bear had begun his through hike on January 15th from Springer. He had just gotten back on the trail after spending a week in New York City ‘eating’. Once in the U.S. Navy, he had let himself physically go after discharge. To this point on the trail he has lost 40 pounds.
12:27. A Real Live lunch and fluids fluids, fluids.
By lunch I had hiked 5.4 miles and knew that I was going to shoot for 15. When you have a food store right on the trail you never never ever walk by it. This time I got a slushy, chicken Marsala and rice, a Gatorade and Oreo cookies for the road. While I was eating with Ice Bear 4 more through hikers showed up. Soon it was family reunion time so I left.
14.10. My Father’s Bandana
History was hiking with me on this trek. When I was home Scott used one of my father’s bandanas to wrap up an item for me to take to my mother in the hospital. I kept the bandana. I remember it clearly. When I was in high school in the 60’s I would always go with my father and work with him on job sites around the United States. He always wore those one piece overalls which I hated. I always wore blue Jean pants but they were a lighter green. I always felt that I must look better then wearing those overalls. But I digress…… in his back left overalls pocket this bandana would be hanging out. The factories that we worked in would always be stifling hot and he would be constantly wiping away the sweat from in eyes. He died in 1982 at the age of 57.
In 2021 through the presence of the bandana he is hiking this trail with me and the bandana is once again wiping sweat from a Garland’s eyes.
16:58. A Little Bit of Pandemic History
Speaking of history in 1776 George Washington was dealing with a pandemic of his own. His troops were demoralized, dying from the cold, fever and smallpox. At this barn they gathered to get vaccinations. I wonder how many were allowed to say no.
19:43. Set up My Stealth Site
On this my first day back after the foot injury I managed to hit the 15 miles. Of course it was almost 8 pm before I got the tent up but there was no one to notice. It would be a perfectly silent alone night!!!!
20:12. A Meal Fit for Kings
I whooped up some Ramen Noodles with a little Orange Crush in my water bottle and everything was right with the world….well almost everything….. a package of Oreos….. ahhhhh now everything is right. I sat there on the ground munching as I watched the sunlight disappear behind a neighboring hill.
20:29. My Ponderosa
Soon it was just my tent and me on top of that hill…… oh…… and a zillion mosquitoes. The day had been a success. I had no foot pain and there was another 15 miles toward Maine logged.
Tomorrow will be another new challenge. They are all different in some way. A new rock to slide off of, a new view to take in, another Spam sandwich, another hill to climb and more people to meet. As I was putting up my trusty tent tonight I heard a giant rip…..ohohhhh….the tent had torn away from the rear stake grommet. A little Tenacious Tape and it was once again the perfect Ponderosa. You better roll with the punches out here or you’ll be on the list of those who choose to not “hike on.”