Monday, August 2, 2010

43 Miles, 3 Days, NY!

The challenge:
43 miles in New York State
Temperatures in the high 90s.
Good chance of rain.
And, it all started with a double rainbow which Cute Husband spotted after a fueling dinner at Barnstormers near Bear Mountain.

The hiking started at the Dover Oak with a ride from our pal, Shamrock and his dog, Spring.

And, it was hot, hot, hot for our longest day of the hike...17 miles ... on less than hiker legs.

Hot (very hot) Cute Husband.

A shady spot on a cool bridge with an angle in NY
Some local children made pictures of nature found on the trail in this display near a trail head.
Dark-eyed Junco, our personal favorite.
The best part about this hike was how many southbound thru hikers we encountered.  This was some sweet trailmagic left by Ozigal.   We had met some thru hikers at lunch who had enjoyed a morning beer or two from this very cooler.

We landed at dark at the RPH Shelter, exhausted, but happy after a 17 mile day.  Our friend, Ross thru hiked 10+ years ago and remembered this shelter with the rusty water pump. 
Nothing had changed. 
We ended up filtering from the creek rather than drink the iron fortified water at the shelter.

But the shelter was quite comfy with bunks and a large porch to chill and enjoy breakfast.  We met a thru hiker, De ja vu, who was trying to complete a thru hike after an injury took him off trail a couple of years ago.

Only 743.7 miles to Mt. Katahdin!

Day 2 was our short day - 10 miles.  Which consisted of 5 miles of hiking in the rain. 
We met a gentleman, who we assumed was a thru hiker, until we asked him how he was and he responded - Great!  When do you get the chance to walk in the rain for 8 hours?  He was excited to complete a 10 mile hike that day, as he had put on a back pack for the first time 2 days prior and had never hiked more than 5 miles in a day.   We would have spent more time with him, and perhaps given him a trail name ... such as Cute Hubby's suggestion... Rain Man...but it was a torrential downpour with no cover in sight.

The rain let up in time to reach a camping area and set up the traveling LoveNest.  We wondered why no other hikers seemed to be using this site. 
Perhaps it was because tire marks criss crossed the field - making one think about the potential of getting run over in a tent?
Note our close proxmity to the picnic table.
Yum!   Food from a bag!
I kissed my guy goodnight and we headed under tent cover as a next round of rain fell upon us.  As darkness fell, we heard cars pull up and people walking around our tent.  When we emerged, they informed us that they had reserved the entire field and there would be several tents and cooking and lots of noise right where we had pitched the tent. 
They were kind enough to offer us a corner and they made good on their promise to make lots of noise.  Things quieted down at around 10ish and we woke to this lovely group singing a hymn. 

We couldn't stick around for breakfast, we needed to lace up and get out before the temps climbed up into the upper 90s.

We run across the most touching things on the trail... this was a memorial to Rick, whose best friend asked  hikers to pray for him. 
This is Stickwalker and Belle. 
Belle was just back on the trail after recovering from Lyme's Disease.   We also met Sweet Tea, a woman from TN who was still recovering from blisters after walking through PA.  We met Hedghog and El Flaco.  I tried to encourage them... "wow!  you are almost there... less than 800 miles!"  El Flaco said... "yeah, 800 miles what could possibly happen" 
Hmmm.. good point. 

We also met Miles who gave us the best news of the day.   Apparently, there was an unmapped gas station with food and ... air conditioning! right off the trail about 4 miles South.  We had a whole new spring in our step as we sweated out 90+degrees and dreamed of Gatorade and sandwiches rather than a hot mashed potato dish we had thought of cooking.
What a treat! 
 I ate so much, I could barely get my legs to work up the next hill as my entire body went into digestion mode.

We carefully and gently came down Anthony's steep nose and landed at the base of Bear Mountain Bridge.
Crossing the Hudson!
Anthony's Nose in the background.
Smelly, seriously fun great stuff!  
It was good to cross the bridge late in the afternoon to avoid full on heat stroke... but we were bummed to learn that the zoo closed at 4PM. 
We headed through the human zoo that is the Bear Mountain park on a Saturday and limped to the car.   It was overwhelming to leave the woods and enter another universe of bbq pits, vendors, huge people in skimpy bathing suits....
We headed to where we had spotted the double rainbow... a Holiday Inn parking lot in hopes of finding a shower before dinner. 
Success!  and back for a last meal at Barnstormers!
We crashed and decided to check out the zoo the next morning, since we blue blazed the night before.
And, we were so glad not to have passed it up.  The zoo is outfitted with animals (mostly rehab critters) found in the area with tons of educational plaques.  It was a perfect morning to spend without the packs on our backs. 
So, how did we feel after our 43 mile challenge?
Next hike... back to Virginia, Cute Hubby?


Anders said...

Great inspiration!
I don't know how I would cope in such heat though. Being more used to the north of Sweden where you get snow even in summer, temperature is rarely a problem. I guess I would faint, especially since I've heard that the trail is really dry.

Thanks for posting!/Anders

FAB said...

Excellent...Well done guys. Not sure I could cope with those temps and humidity...a 2 to 3 hour daily stroll in part shade is my daily exercise. FAB.

Kelly said...

Way to go, Bird Couple! You certainly showed your grit during those hot, wet miles. Don't you love meeting people like the man you dubbed as "Rainman?" It's people like him who give me the right perspective just when I need it most. A tough, wet, uncomfortable day on the trail is usually still better than a good day in the "read world."

Crossing the Hudson is a huge feat! (I must have taken 100 pictures of water skiers, the engineering marvel of the bridge, a rainbow, etc. We were there being tourists long enough to see a fender bender occur during rush hour traffic. Oh no!)

GG and I are cheering you on. Congrats on your additional check marks on the trail map!

Happy Trails,

P.S. There's a little hikelet on the way due this spring. I might have trouble fastening the hip belt on my pack if we do any hikes in March/April of 2011.