Tues, July 30
Wow so hot and humid. The heat and humidity are oppressive… I’m already sticky and exhausted and I’ve only hiked 3 miles! I was aiming for 7…but no.
I ride the train for DC to NYC, then bus to Bear Mountain NY. I situate my pack, snap a pic, and hop on the trail at 4:40pm. I get to walk through the Zoo! Just kidding, it closed at 4. So I get to walk around the zoo. There’s a public pool with showers and several employees are sure to tell me about the free showers for thru-hikers. I’m afraid I must decline.
Immediately after the Zoo I get to cross the Hudson River. As I approach the bridge during rush hour, I hear a man shout from his car – “thru-hiking?” I nod. “Fuck yeah!!! Woo!” he yells. Alright! A warm welcome. A short road walk followed by a steep climb in 95 degree sticky heat. Ugh. My face is beet red. A few day hikers pass.
Oh look a campsite with 4 other hikers – mind if I camp here? Whew. Great, 3 miles is 3 miles! In my mind I’d envisioned camping at the spiritual life center at 7+ miles, maybe having a spiritual awakening or two, then going about with my hike. But I’m tired and hungry and it’s 6pm, so this spot in the dirt is great as long as I avoid pitching my tent on the broken glass shards. The other hikers are Biscuit and Gravy (a mid-20 something couple from Boston), Ridge Runner (a young French guy living in Phoenix), and Tumbledoor (a bearded Welshman from London in his 30s).
I set up my tent, make my ramen dinner, and chat with the others before crawling into my extremely small shelter before 8pm. Ah yes, the hiking life…