Day 116 (Mile 1577.5 – 1599.1):

Left Chesire, onward to Mt. Greylock, which I believe is the highest point in Massachusetts. Came across some amazing trail magic practically taking over a parking lot a little before the summit of Greylock. There were BLAT (Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato) wraps, fruit salad, beer, soda, bagels, etc.! This may have been the largest trail magic I have yet to come across. Turns out this trail magic was put together by Blue Bird’s parents. If there is a possibility Blue Bird’s parents are reading this, I would like to thank you guys again for your generosity.

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That fruit salad! 👌🏼20170809_112229

Cool little pond before the top of Greylock with what appeared to be a small cabin on the other side of it.

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Greylock as expected, a little before the summit, with all the roads up there was very much touristy. I didn’t look too much into the history, but there was a light house looking structure on top of Greylock. Beautiful view too! 20170809_13122420170809_132203

On the way down from Greylock, I ran into this painter…20170809_133022

…painting this view:20170809_133002

We talked for a bit. Apparently, he retired from an IT profession and now spends his days painting. One of my friends, Hope is an artist in training…I wonder if she does this sort of thing.

After Greylock, I pretty much felt like crap for the remainder of the day. It could be one of two things. The six doughnuts I ate the previous night or the beers I drank at the trail magic. I’m going to bet on the beer, but it could also be the combination. I have endured much worse, so I kept on pushing the remainder of the day.

Made it into Vermont and the start of the Long Trail, which I could be a thru-hiker of too if I go back and finish the remainder since it runs along the Appalachian Trail for a good bit, after I complete the Appalachian Trail. As of now, that is not an interest of mine since I don’t particularly hike for the completion part.

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Also, at this border was a guy who I won’t mention the name of was smoking his weed and when I asked he said it was because weed will not be legal again until Maine, which I found strange because the law is not something that would stop this guy or anyone for that matter on the trail.

Made it to my destination, the first shelter in VT and it had quite the pool of people. It seems they had the same goal as I, to get to Vermont. It is also the first shelter for the Long Trail. There was not the best place for tent camping. It was pretty much impossible to avoid the rocks.  Met Disciple along with Cur Dog (Two older men in their 40s or 50s) for the first time here along with several other new faces which I will likely mention in the later days. Disciple is simply a follower of Jesus. More on Disciple later. He is truly an inspiring human being.

Unexpected rain while eating dinner. You could literally hear the confusion as everyone scrambled, leaving their dinners in the rain to make sure their gear didn’t get wet. Fortunately for myself, I had eaten the majority of my dinner and always eat my dinner after I am set up for the night so the only task left at hand for me to do was to tie up my bear bag.  Although, to avoid the rocks in this one spot I decided to set up my tent on a not completely flat surface improperly for rainy conditions.  On a hill I need to set up my tent with the sides of the tent on the down hill, which are the sides with the doors.  I do not remember if I mentioned this prior, but if I set up the tent laying parallel to the hill, my feet (or head) could potentially slide into the bug netting pushing out past the cuben fiber, which will let water in if raining.  Yes, I know, major design flaw, but still worth the purchase in my opinion with how well it has been holding up on my through hike thus far.  I have made this mistake two times prior on the trail.  If I mentioned water getting into my tent previously on my blog, this was the cause.  While it did rain tonight, I avoided getting wet by sleeping diagonally, which is not uncommon for me to do since I like to spread out some when I sleep.

Day 115 (Zero):

20170808_183041Cheshire feels homey.

Took a zero soley to catch up on my blog. I have yet to upload it, but I certainly have caught up with my offline copy.  I had been working on my blog straight for twelve hours. I am very thorough so despite my long commitment, I still had some work left to be done by the end of the day.

I neglected to eat for a good chuck of the day and by the time I did get around to eating, I didn’t feel to good for a while for a while digesting that food.  Not 100% sure of the cause, but I am definitely not holding off eating again that long.

Had been able to converse with my close friend fortunately later at night, so late I needed to get out of my tent and walk towards the school behind the church so I wouldn’t disturb the other people tenting near me.  I tried not to pay too much attention to the strange circled driving in the parking lot between the school and the church, but I completely got distracted by the sillyness I was witnessing.  At first I was thinking it was drunk driving, but it was more likely just test driving in the middle of the night. We had not one but two conversations, not because of the lack of service as usual, but because of a favor she was asked by her sister.  She then asked me to call her back in 40ish minutes, since she easily gets distracted. I know red flag, but this sort of behavior is in her nature, at least from what had gathered over the years. After calling her a goldfish, for easily getting distracted and waiting 40ish minutes, I called her back.  I didn’t have too much to say. I simply wanted to hear her voice.  Conversation is sometimes hard as a hiker when you feel you have been experiencing the same old same old for the day to day for what feels like forever. I no longer feel I am sharing new and exciting things, especially to a person who is out of the loop with life on the trail. She may have felt the same way for me as well since I had been out of the loop on society, but then again I am usually the one talking anyway, soceity or not.  At times she makes me feel like I am the only one in the world, but just as easily the opposite will take place, almost as if she is uncertain of her emotions.  Just as in the beginning of my hike, time wise, I can tell she is flattered, but not at all if she is interested.  With all of the apparent red flags, I would be a fool to assume she is interested, but hopeful as I am, I continue to fall.  That vulnerable feeling when you realize how far you’ve already fallen.

 

Day 114 (Mile 1568.5 – 1577.5)

Mr. Levardi made us all breakfast!received_344087079355983

Levardi’s Cat20170807_082552

The plan was to watch Game of Thrones and talk to my close friend in Dalton, but with the lack of service, I was unable to do so.  Cheshire, MA being my next destination, I continued on to the next town, and decided to take a nero there.  Luckily and suprisingly for me though, I had service in Cheshire so I didn’t need to hang around a hotspot while in town.

Stayed in the lawn of the St. Mary of the Assumption Church.  They allow hikers to stay over night on the lawn and chill inside during the day.20170807_152958

A guy (Pheasant Melon) made a tinder soley to get a ride into town to get food.  I am more shocked that it worked. She picked up him along with three other guys, Dozer and Umbrella Face included. I sorta wished I tagged along, but I wanted to be sure not to miss conversation with my close friend.

It was supoosed to rain today, but the weather kept getting pushed further and further.  It did rain, but not until late that evening.

Dunkin Doughnuts walking distance!  I have a pretty good feeling I will no longer eat this type of food post trail, so mind as well enjoy it while the costs are minimum to my body in this state.20170807_190959

I don’t remember the reason, but my close friend never got around to calling me.  I do remember getting upset, especially since we arranged a time. If no time was arranged, I wouldn’t care.  I personally do not like people waiting on me so if I knew for some reason I would miss or be late to an arrangement, I would at least notify the other party before the arranged time.

Day 113 (Mile 1548.1 – 1568.5)

Pancakes and coffee in the morning!  Ken and his family, the carecakers were phenomenal!  He made pancakes literally until everyone was satisfied. I had four myself!  It was baffling the amount of blueberries the south bounders had gathered for the pancakes. Those blueberries were so on point. Best blueberry pancakes ever consumed. Solid 7/7. 👌🏼20170806_07054520170806_063633

Feels exactly like a fall morning up here. It is starting to realy get chilly. I question my decision that Hanover, NH was the best place to pick up my winter gear.  The remainder of the day felt exactly like a fall day. It was one of the most beautiful bug free days I have hiked in a while.

Ran into the couple through hiking the trail with the infant. I read about them in a Backpack’s magazine before leaving for the trail in April.20170806_131349

Stayed the night at Levardi’s in Dalton, MA. A guy that lets through hikers tent in his back yard.20170806_180918

Finished “Outliers” in less than 24 hours (It is a 7 hour book). Very well written book. His point throughout the book is on point. Ha. Certainly undercovered a perspective I have never thought in before. I wouldn’t say this is a must read, but it is a very good one. It opens the mind a little more.  Moving on to next book!  Crushing miles and books is an overwhelmingly great feeling (even though I am simply only listening). I cannot remember a time I was this truely happy.

After reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Outliers” is it wrong of me to no longer feel guilty of taking advantage (make use of) of my parent’s wealth? I thought before that taking advantage of my parent’s support was a something that would stunt my growth and to an extent I believe that is still true.  With too much support, one will be unable to support and grow themselves. I now better understand the importance of an opportunity.  I want to be completely independent, but that will be much harder if I do not take full advantage of the opportunities/resources that are available to me.

Don’t misinterpreted please. I am not going to ‘live it up’ on my parent’s support. I am going to take advantage of their advantages available to me to support myself. For example:

-Take advantage of the money available to futher my education.
– Legal help
– Temporary shelter
– Connections

I am also more aware of my other advantages in the world and I am going to take full advantage of those advantages as well.  What are those advantages?  To be blunt, being a white straight male.  One should certainly be aware of one’s opportunities, but not let another’s critism hold you back for taking advantage of your opportunities.  Let the others be jealous.  No need to hold yourself back for feeling guilty of those advantages.  One can’t control the world they were born in to. If another, less fortunate were in your shoes, they would be taking full advantage of the opportunities that may not normally be available for them. If you want to get ahead, yes work harder, but also take advantage of very opportunity that comes your way. Be greatful for those opportunities.

Side note:
While listening to an audio book I already feel as if I am hearing distant chatter just ahead, but when the chatter doesn’t get louder I am puzzled. I may be hearing things. There is also the possibility I am just behind a group of fast paced hikers all the time…but all the time?  Maybe the wind can speak.

 

 

Day 112 (Mile 1527 – 1548.1):

In the ice gluch, ravine looking crevice, I saw a porcupine!  I apologize for blurriness, this is as close as I could get.20170805_11125820170805_111110

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Finished Ben Sasse’s book, “The Vanishing American Adult.” While I very much support his solutions and the book overall, he closes in my opinion very poorly. He comes off as if he is selling himself. I appreciate his standing, but propaganda was not needed for the message to get across. I cridged a little listening to the end.  Would I recommend this book?  Yes, I would but with the warning that he closes the book with his own propaganda.

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Started “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. So far so good. Everything I’d expect from a book called, Outliers.Screenshot_20170805-193438

I get the feeling this tire has been here for a while. 20170805_171727

Made it to the Upper Goose Cabin later than planned but made it!  There were tons of people here. All 16 bunks were taken, which didn’t matter too much to me since it wasn’t not raining out.  The people running this place are super nice!20170805_195525

Fortunately, I had service here so I called the close friend I have been referring to this entire trip. For pretty much obvious reasons, I am going to keep her anonymous. Very much an enjoyable conversation. =)

Side Note:20170805_111626

 

 

 

Day 111 (Mile 1506.4 – 1527):

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This day was a bad day to trust the weather forcast.  It down poured a total of four times today. First time, I wore my rain coat, next times I didn’t see the point.  The only bad part about the rain despite obviously being wet, was the rocky terrain. I needed to be extra careful. One misstep can equal being off the trail for good.

I have never seen this anywhere else on the trail, but it certainly helped with the current conditions of the trail.20170804_121721

Some trail magic, I assume for the south bounders, because it was certainly not dry south of me.20170804_12522620170804_145334

Family of wild turkeys. First time I have gotten them on camera, for they are more common than one would think. 20170804_154340

Not too pumped to wear wet clothes the following day.

Past some more farm land today…here’s some cows!20170804_144347

Side Notes:
– Mosquitoes still really bad.
– If it wasn’t raining, I’d sweat the bug spray off in a good 30 minutes. I don’t even know why I am carrying it still.

 

Day 110 (Mile 1484.3 – 1506.4)

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The goal for day was to make it into Massachusetts and I certainly accomplished that goal!  Was expecting a sign though.  Maybe I’ll see one later down the trail tomorrow.

Finished Thomas Friedman’s book, “Thank You For Being Late.”  I appreciate the recommendation, David Madison.  We can talk more about the book in person. There is something I believe he left out that will be very important in the years to come.

Started that book Uncle Buck recommended me, “The Vanishing American Adult” by Ben Sasse. So far it has been really good.  I see why Uncle Buck recommended me this book. I agree with 100% of it thus far.Screenshot_20170803-164037

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1500!20170803_16282820170803_164007

Had a very nice conversation with a southbounder in his early 60s on top of Bear Mountain. His name I believe was Rusty.20170803_183729

 

 

Day 109 (Mile 1476.8 – 1484.3)

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I certainly did not go far today, but I would like to think the reason is a valid one. As soon as I made it to my lunch destination, it started to downpour. I fortunately did not get wet, but I also didn’t hike the reminder of the day, even when it had died down around 6:30pm.  Even though I didn’t get wet, I did get biten quite a lot staying the night in that shelter. I do not think I slept longer than an hour. The constant buzzing in the ears drove me crazy. Worst of all, I was hot that night and the seemingly only way to aviod the mosquitoes was to be constantly covered.  I thought there would be less and less mosquitoes going north, but it is turning out that might be the opposite case.  I have a feeling it is because of all the natural ponds and lakes up here.  Anyway, I will not be staying in a shelter even if it is raining, for a while. Tenting all the way!

Oh just in case I have not mentioned it yet on the blog, when there are a pile of sticks in the way of a path, it means that path is not part of the trail.  I have personally found it to be much more effective than a turning white blaze, since the majority of the time hikers look at their feet.

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Day 108 (Zero):

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As you can probably tell from the mini fridge above, I zeroed in Cornell Bridge.  I caught up on my blog a bit. As one could tell though, I did not end up finishing the edits. I zeroed for multiple reasons but the main reason is because my package forwarded from the Bear Mountain post office had yet to arrive. Luckily, it arrived the next morning. There was no way I was going zero another day after today.

There was a southbounder staying in the room next to mine, well two more over and he and I talked for quite a long time actually. He knew the world better than anyone I have ever met. Here is his website if one were interested in what he has been doing with his life for the past few years: Tlwh.Org  He mentioned that he has been walking for almost 10,000 miles by the way.

Day 107 (Mile 1467.7 – 1476.8)

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So far the majorty of Connecticut has been flat along rivers mostly. Yes, there were some hard sections, but nothing for more than a mile stretch.

Ran into a section hiker. For the life of me cannot remember his trail name but he was sitting on the road before the road into Cornwall Bridge, CT doing a section hike alone at the age of 16. He was surprisingly mature for his age so we talked pretty much for the next 5-6 hours.  Gave him some advice. Suprisingly, he asked if I would like to split a room with him in town. He seemed like a decent fellow so we did and talked some more.

Talked some more to my close friend. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about for the hour we talked, but I do remember feeling very warm after the call.  I just mainly enjoy hearing her voice. =)

Day 106 (Mile 1445.8 – 1467.7)

20170730_094033Apparently this is the biggest tree on the Appalachian Trail. I personally think they need to remeasure b/c I remember the oak in southern Virginia being much larger.

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Neglected to see the sign before drinking straight from the water source. Fortunately, as I write this blog entry days later, I did not get sick.20170730_12005020170730_120229

Made it to the New England part of the trail! 20170730_12442020170730_13365120170730_152235

My goal for the day was to find a place to talk to a close friend and watch Game of Thrones, although unfortunately, getting a place in Connecticut would have been very expensive. In Kent, CT the cheapest place a night was $165 and that’s not including the 15% hotel tax (a tax I didn’t know existed until this state).  When I got to Kent, I simply stuck around until dark and stealthed camped off not too far from the road, off the trail.  I got to talk to my close friend. As for Game of Thrones, I lucked out having service in the area.

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Mom: The Coffee Jelly you gave me was on point. Made my next two breakfasts more enjoyable than usual. Thank you for the jelly!

Day 105 (Mile 1429 – 1445.8):

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Finshed my hike with my Dad, ate lunch with parents, and split to hike the rest of my day.

I neglected to take notes for this day so I don’t know what I was thinking.  Nothing comes to mind for this day at least after my Parents and I split so maybe I was zoned out for the remainder of the day. At least I took some beautiful photos.

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There is a bird out here that sounds like the Twitter notification. I wonder what the name of that bird is. 🤔

Quite the interesting side trail marker…😁20170729_142228

Day 104 (Mile 1409.6 – 1429):

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Today, I hiked with my Dad and to my suprise was able to push a 20 mile day with me today.

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I don’t remember too much what we talked about, but I do remember voicing what I intend to do after the trail.

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Caretaker of the RPH shelter there gave us some leftover food!

Met first southbounder at the shelter we had stopped at for the night. She was an Austrian girl named foot print who apparently also travels the world.  I was very interested in talking to her more regarding her travels, but my Dad and I were planning an early start tomorrow so got her info to eventually talk later.

Day 103 (Mile 1393.6 – 1409.6)

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I regret waking up as late as I did because the next post office (Bear Mountain post office) I was to go to today only had the hours from 9-11am.  So instead of properly looking up the times like I could of to make those times, I decided to assume, which resulted in the burden my Mom dealt with the following day to forward the package upward.  I do apologize for the inconvenience Mom.

1400!20170727_131317

Despite my lack of responsibility for the maildrop situation, today happened to be a very eventful day. Climbing Bear Mountain was quite the experience. The trail was probably the most maintained section of the trail thus far.  There were literal steps for almost every incline and decline on the entire mountain.  You know when you’re near a city when the people you wave to on the trail, look at you like you’re crazy.  There were tons of people on the trail!  I did not realize New York city was so close to this section of the trail. It was less than 30 miles away.  A hiker friendly couple on the trail mentioned one could see the city lights from the mountain in the evening.

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Another thing that took me by surprise was that the fact that the trail went right through the zoo there and if you arrived after closing time, you’d have to go around using a blue blazed trail. Determined to continue my perfect record of using only white blazed trails, I hustled to make sure I got there before its closing time, which I found out had been 4:30pm.

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Veiw from Bear Mountain Bridge, crossing the Hudson River:20170727_145200

Met up with some fellow hikers at the Appalachian Market Deli and some really tasty pizza, which caught me off guard because this place was a gas station market.  Can’t remember the guy’s name for the life of me (his trail name is a lord of the rings character), but while he was talking on the phone he picked two four leaf clovers.  I odds of finding one are high. Two is just insane!  We urged him to go buy a lottery ticket right then and there.20170727_185135

Anyway, I was very much tired so I called my parents to see if I could arrange a way I could stay with them for the night.  A shower would be nice. Orginally, I was going to meet with them the next morning at a location I did not think I was going to make. They were still driving over at the time and my Dad suggested taking an Uber (took me off guard that my Dad knew what Uber was) there if I wanted to and check in so that’s what I did.

There was a chipotle was across the street!20170727_205018

Literally minutes after inhaling the burrito, had a nice long chat with a close friend. =)

Side note:
– People seem really smug in New York. It was very off putting.  I guess you could say I had a mini culture shock. =P

 

Day 102 (Mile 1375.9 – 1393.6)

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This section of New York has been very sporatic. There are some really flat easy going sections, but some where you’ll be looking for the next trail blaze and realize there is a blaze 30 feet or so directly straight up from where you’re standing.  Also, I have noticed that this section was not very well marked.

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Ran into a hiker I have not seen before. Mistook her for a thru-hiker, but she had just been doing a section. Apparently she was from New York city, just graduated from nursing school, and decided to go on an overnight by her self for the first time.  Talked for a while. I didn’t mind too much the change of pace.  Never got her info. but not really necessary. I’m just glad I got to meet another interesting person on the trail. To move from one inspiring place to the next simply.

Went through the lemon squeeze today!  Yes there is a side trail but gotta stay true to the trail, plus it was quite fun. Here is Fuckit making his way through:20170726_145103

Very fortunate our backpacks were not so bulky.  Right after the lemon squeeze, there was some rock climbing I did not hear anything about. Much harder in my opinion than the section after Lehigh Gap. It literally took me a good 10 minutes to figure it out. Fuckit wanted to tell me how he did it, but I let him go ahead because I wanted to figure it out myself. Fuckit and I have similar paces.

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We ran into some other hikers and found out there was a park that had showers and snacks not too far off the trail so we made way for that. It was a good move for myself since I had not taken a shower since Deleware Water Gap, PA.

There was a icecream vending machine there with a credit card slider and I had four total things of icecream.  If there wasn’t a credit card slider, I can guarantee you that I would not have had many as I did. The icecream though was moderately priced at $1.50.20170726_164743

There are tons of blueberry bushes here on the ridges in New York. I am suprised I haven’t seen a bear here yet. All the bush on the ground in this photo are blueberry bushes:20170726_185736

I very much like how open the woods is in New York. Not too sure if one can notice the difference in my photos.

Side Note:
– Pulled off my first tick from the inner thigh area on my left leg. It was quite small!

Day 101 (Mile 1358.5 – 1375.9)

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Okay… I am feeling much better. The metal fog I previously had been having has very much disapated and my thirst for personal growth/knowledge has returned.  That said I am really enjoying chapter eight (nine, if you’re listening to the audio book) of Thank You For Being Late.

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Do not take the end of New Jersey’s and beginning of New York’s terrain for granted. Possible in wet conditions, but highly advise one not to unless you enjoy butt sliding.20170725_124058

Came across two rattle snakes on the trail today. Thankfully, someone left a note!20170725_13521320170725_135225

Creamery not too far off the trail on New York State Route 17A. This was certainly some of the best icecream I may have ever had.  Check it out if you are ever passing through! Screenshot_20170725-151150

Did not make it to end goal for the day, not because I couldn’t, but because of the beautiful camping spots near a beaufitiful waterfall.

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My bug bites seem to be getting pretty bad. They only itch at night fortunately.

Had a very much needed chat with a friend. Feeling very good about it…yup the waterfall I camped at also had very good service, but that was not the original reason I stayed. ^-^ The white noise of the waterfall at night was very comforting.  Also, Bluebird and Rocket were camping there and I wanted to get to know them better.  They are in the group photo that Two Chairs put together at Gypsy’s Tavern. Bluebird was seventeen starting the trail and now is 18. I could sense the immaturity but I wasn’t thinking that young.  Other than her just graduating highschool, I did not dig further likely though because I couldn’t relate as much. Interesting fact about her, her orginal name on the trail believe it or not was “trailbait” (A spin off from jailbait). I am personally shocked people on the trail would even think to call her that period for the time that they did.  Anyways, Rocket I honestly vibed was a man’s man. You will feel it in the aura around him.  He is very much well grounded. Both feet on the ground. I do not know too much about education, but he owned a government contracting company and sold it before coming out on the trail.  I am not too sure how much he had but I did get the sense, that he could or has already retired early. Rocket and Bluebird have been hiking together since a little after southern Virginia. I am sure nothing is going on, but they very much enjoy each other’s company. I vibed that Rocket had been taking a role of an older brother to essentially look out for her. There are very few “creeps” out here on the trail, but then again there was that group of people who came up with the name, “trailbait.”  But yeah, two very interesting people.

Common knowledge at this point for me, but just in case one was not familiar with all the trail jargon out there, here are some terms that every thru-hiker would know about at this point:

– Nero = A short milage day.  The number of miles considered a nero is based on the individual. Usually a nero is a day consisting of less than 10 miles.
– Zero = A break, a day off from the trail.
– Negative Zero = Hiking miles in opposite direction, going backwards, not making any forward progress.
– Blue Blazing = Has multiple meanings. These are side trails people usually take to go around a section (skip). Also, can be side trails that will not reconnect back to the AT such as a side trail in which goes to a water fall.  Quite simply, doing miles on a trail that is not the AT.
– Yellow Blazing = Skipping sections of trail normally in the case of keeping up with a group of people. Common among those people who have visas and would like to hike the “cooler” sections before they need to go back home.  Those who have yellow blazed once they complete the trail will come back to hike those sections skipped for the thru-hiker title.
– Aqua Blazing = Section of the AT that you can canoe north in the Shenandoah region.
– Pink Blazing = Speeding up or slowing down to keep up with a girl one likes.
– Banana Blazing = Speeding up or slowing down to keep up with a guy one likes.
– Green Blazing = Speeding up or slowing down to stay around those who have the weed on the trail.
– Purist = Those who do not skip sections. Those who will enter and leave the same route into town to aviod missing sections of the trail even if those sections are just a few feet. I personally have been called a Purist, although I wish there wasn’t a word for it. To me I am simply hiking the trail, all of the trail.
– Section Hiker = Hiking a section of the AT. Those who normally call themselves section hikers are ones who intend to eventually complete the trail one section at a time.
– Day Hiker = Very popular to run into these humans on the weekend and/or popular sections of the trail. These people usually smell overwhelmingly very good.
– Thru-hiker = One hiking the entire trail in 365 days or less, in one go, although for the AT it is common to complete the trail in 5-6 months.
– Flip Flopper = When one for example hikes until say, Harper’s Ferry and flips up to Katahdin and starts hiking south towards Harper’s Ferry.  Harper’s Ferry is just an example. That being said, one can flip flop from any location on the trail. The motivation usually behind a flip flop northbound is when one is conserned if they can make it before the close of Baxter State Park, October 15.
– Yo-yo = To finish where one started. So if a hiker started in Georgia, they would hike to Katahdin and then back to Georgia. This certainly is a thing, but very uncommon. I have only encountered one hiker yo-yoing on my journey thus far. I believe this is also a hike done in less than one year.
– NOBO = Northbound; Hiking the trail north.
– SOBO = Southbound; Hiking the trail south.
– HOBO = Homeless or Homebound
– Homebound = The hiker that is hiking to one’s home state, whether that is either Georgia or Maine based on their direction.
– Hiker Mid-night = A quiet time. 9pm is what I am used to.
– Trail Magic = When people generally are helping out the thru-hikers providing snacks/soda, sometimes even other forms like a free ride into town.  I personally would like to in the future do trail magic to give back to the community I have received already so much from.
– Slack packing = Carrying only a day pack (Food and water you need for that day). There are companies that will drop you off (usually along with a group) at one end of the trail and pick you up at the agreed meet up point at the other end.

 

 

Day 100 (Mile 1334.1 – 1358.5)

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New headlamp!

This morning had been very cool due to the early morning rain and for whatever reason I was in the zone, so I started to blog, but after the rain had cleared up, I felt the need to keep on pushing so I did. Today was a very very flat day. I was liking the change, the change of no more rocks to slow me down!20170724_173209

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To end the day, I camped a little right after “stairway to heaven,” which by the way I didn’t realize until after much later when locals were asking me if I had climed it. It’s certainly hyped up, but the climb does not keep up to its hype. The climb after Lehigh Gap should honestly have a nick name, because that is significantly harder.

Ended the night with a very inspiring conversation with Yard Sale (set her tent up next to mine right before it started raining), who happened to have very similar feeelings I did about the trail, the culture of the trail, and the future of ourselves off trail, after the trail. =)

 

Day 99 (Zero):

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I very much needed the package (headlamp) at the post office here in Unionville so I had to force a zero day. Normally, if I landed a town on a weekend, I would bounce the post box to a further destination and keep hiking, although since I ordered a package on Amazon to be sent to this destination, I cannot alter its path, at least not for free.  Should have been working on my blog, but with the heat I couldn’t get myself to think. Yes, I know I am making an excuse. The reality of the matter is that I no longer enjoy keeping up with my blog. It is keeping me away from what I enjoy the most about the trail, the freedom and the people.  There are tons of people on the trail who also have blogs that they have been neglecting as well.  I am at the point where I am now forcing myself to blog for the wants of a future self. I know I am going to want this, know what I was thinking, seeing, and doing. I will want to know especially how I will be feeling come the last 100 miles.

Anyways while procrastinating, I caught up with some peeps and talked to that special someone that would like to keep her name anonymous, about a nightmare I had.  I know I know some would really like it know what it was about, but this little snippet of information is for me to remember that I had this nightmare, my thoughts at the time, and how I ultimately processed it. The nightmare was so bad, I  distracted myself pretty much all day to avoid thinking about it. The vividness of the nightmare still sticks with me and I am curious when I look back at this blog post what my mind will remember.

Young Gandalf (really tall guy from Florida)…I believe he is standing in the photo of what the inside of the bar looked like when we were all at Gypsy’s Tavern if you are curious what he looks like…mentioned that he is using Game of Thrones as way to motivate himself to do more miles. He will create a goal from a week away and try to get there to watch the next episode when it comes out. I personally thought it was a good idea so I may try it out as well.   That being said, I am caught up on Game of Thrones.  Before, I simply was going to just bindge watch it when I finished the trail.  Now I have something else to think about while walking.

Before nightfall I see a girl setting up a tent, a really heavy tent actually and notice she is no way a through hiker, then it clicks.  She is living out of her car and has been traveling! At this point I was full of questions! Young Gandalf also seems very interested. Anyways, we talk all the way to the bar, have a couple of drinks, and go our separate ways.

Side Note:
– The New Jersey section of the Appalachian trail rides along the border between New Jersey and New York for a good bit, so the town I am staying in is in New York, but I am still hiking in the New Jersey section of the trail.
– Song stuck in my head: Seafret – Oceans

Day 98 (Mile 1323.9 – 1344.1):

Today I made it a goal to get to Unionville, NY.  Mainly, to keep up with the people I was with. Certainly, has been some time where I have done anything like that. I am usually hiking on the bases on my own goals or feelings.  It was a nice change of pace, but certainly not something I would continuely do.

Sunrise Mountain had quite the view.  I was surprised how far we could see.20170722_102316

Made it to High Point Park in New Jersey, the highest elevation in the state. Maybe it was just in my head, but I received the over all vibe that the elevelation of 1803 feet was being a little over prided…like they have a park named after its high point. It was a bit humoring to me. =P  The monument at the top of New Jersey’s high point by the way looked like a miniature version  of the Washington monument.20170722_160718

Made it to my destination, met some more cool peeps including Slingshot, got to know some of them even better at the bar down the street, and went to bed.  😴

Side Note:
– While looking for a place to defecate, I failed to notice the dead tree with the yellow jacket nest. I was stung multiple times.

Day 97 (Mile 1304.4 – 1323.9):

20170721_095156Big breakfast at Mohican Outdoor Center…yes I ended up staying the night.  20170721_115845

 

I was not particularly interested in hiking today. I had no plan or destination and took quite a few breaks.  I started to think of why I could have possibly been feeling tired or rather more tired than usual.  Then it hit me…I had been reaching the 700 mile mark on my shoes so it is likely my soles were gone, giving me the feeling of the discomfort I had been experiencing lately. Anyway, I bought new shoes as soon as I reached a point on the trail where I had service. Unfortunately for my wallet, the value of the shoes I previously bought for $60 were now priced at $140.  I did not want to take a risk and buy the newer model so I just sucked it up and paid the price listed online for that model. Hopefully, this pair of shoes lasts the rest of the way, otherwise I am am going to have a problem, for they were not only priced significantly higher, but as well, low on stock.  I should have bought multiple pairs earlier. I do not know what I was thinking. It seems too obvious to overlook.

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After the longish break, I decided I’d make it to Gypsy’s Tavern and plan from there.  Quite a large number of people here. New peeps and old. Two chairs, the guy I met in Harper’s Ferry while still hanging out with Karen…that refuses to disclose the meaning behind his name was.  I assumed he was a big guy starting out on the trail but from his Facebook photos, that is seemingly not the case. Anyways, I met Nomad, Fuck It, Bluebird, and Rocket here…well actually officially the next morning where we all camped. We all stayed at the Tavern until right before the sun set and hiked up to camp at the fire tower. All of us safely made it up there before complete darkness suprisingly.  I am starting to think I trip more when sober. =P  Great night and very happy the way the rest of the day turned out.

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Day 96 (Mile 1293.6 – 1304.4):

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Definitely should have made an effort of pushing strong today out of Deleware Gap, but due to being undecided on whether or not I should take a zero here, I checked out at 11am, ate another meal at the Sycamore Grille (3 course meal this time with that same salad I ate twice yesterday), and took my time making my way across the Delaware River only too find two instances of trail magic on the other side. Stuffed as I already was, I decided to accept the food offered from the trail magic.  Something about being in public stuffed is not a very enjoyable feeling. It honestly felt as if I was naked.  I apologize if it this is hard to follow. I am having a hard time explaining the feeling, but that is at least was it felt like for me.  Oh yeah, I was contemplating the zero today because I would need to pick up my next maildrop on a day the next post office was to be open. Basically, I needed to decide if I would prefer taking a zero in Unionville, NY or stay another night in Deleware Water Gap.  Since, Unionville, NY had free tenting in town, I decided to head out today. I could of really pushed myself with two twenty-five mile days, and get the the post office Saturday morning, but with my latest track record on miles, I did not attempt that plan.

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While New Jersey was very beautiful, it was not as beautiful as it is in the Fall.  For comparison, this is a photo (quality not that great) taken in the Fall:FB_IMG_1501624180049

I actually think I have a photo taken in the same exact place actually for an actual comparison:

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Fall
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Present

I did intend on going further, but as soon as I arrived at Mohican Outdoor Center to pick up a quick snack, it started to pretty much started to torrential downpour. Luckily for me, I did not get wet and had a place to wait off the storm.

While waiting, I had a very…I would like to say intellectual conversation about retirement, education, money, women, and books (recommended books to each other) with a guy trail named Uncle Buck. The conversation was very rewarding. Retrieved some very good resources and contacts from him. If it at all matters this guy is a retired criminal law lawyer in his late 40s, with quite a similar outlook on life as I do.  The book that was recommended me to read was, “The Vanishing American Adult” by Ben Sasse.

Day 95 (Mile 1279.1 – 1293.6):

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I was in high spirits finally making it into Deleware Water Gap (Very cute town btw). It was like the Katahdin of Pennsylvania.  To treat myself I ordered a coffee alcoholic drink at this Grille in town that I thought I would like.

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Found out quickly, it wasn’t my thing. I did not want to waste it so I quickly drank it and ordered a Blue Moon to get the taste out of my mouth.  Not to long later, I started to realize just how much alcohol was in that coffee.  The feeling came at me all at once and I certainly was past the point of buzzed…I forgot how many selfies I honestly took and spammed to friends before leaving. No regrets…probably was entertaining for them…who knows lol. ^-^

Food here was on point. I highly recommend the Salmon Cobb Salad with the balsamic honey dressing if ever in town at the Sycamore Grille. I had this salad a total of three times before leaving Deleware Water Gap.orca-image-1500565344073.jpg_1500565344294

The motel I stayed at was quite nice. The reviews were terrible, but I did not have too many options. Plus, for the price it was actually pretty decent.  Shower was amazing! The water pressure was intense, but very much needed! They were working on renovations at the time so if one to through hike, say next year, one should expect an increase in price. Hard to trust reviews now that my standards are so low.  Now when I browse through reviews, if there is a good review, I register the place in my brain as something that must be above my current standards. As long as your expections are low, you’ll live quite the happy life saving and staying in less desirable places.  Unless your destination is the hotel or motel, what is the point of having high standards?  I do understand though if you are paying a high price and the place doesn’t match the value you think a night at the place should cost.  In such situations before paying, if I think the value of the room is less, I haggle or find someone to split the room with me. Obviously, use your best judgment. I at this point, I would trust pretty much any hiker to split a room with.  The culture is much different out here on the trail.  Thru-hikers usually will look out for each other.  It is almost like one big bandwagon of a family. There is a good sense of community out here.  Unfortunately, when I am done with the trail, I do not think we as a society would even think of asking another stranger if they would like to room with you to save some money. It is just unheard of.  I do not think we as a community at least in my life time will ever get to this point of trust in society, but it would be very nice to see especially when it comes to our relationships with other countries.  We sincerely could accomplish a great deal as human beings working together.

There was quite the bubble of people in town. The thru-hikers packed that restaurant full come dinner time!IMG_5545

Day 94 (Mile 1256.8 – 1279.1):

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Today, I set out for the trail, knowing full well the hardest part of my day will be climb after Lehigh Gap and it certainly kept up to its hype on the trail. There were some sections, although not for a long stretch that involved some bouldering (rock climbing). It was a little scary with the 20+ backpack on my back pulling me backward.  This would certainly be a fun day hike, but it is true, best to avoid if raining.

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After summiting, reaching the top you will find yourself walking on the easiest terrain you could imagine, nothing like the climb up. I was coasting. So much so, it felt good to get back into an audio book, although a different one. Something I was more in the mood for. I started listening to “The Power of Self-Discipline” by Brain Tracy. Screenshot_20170718-125045

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Finally, making it to the shelter and retrieving water that was definitely more than a. 4 mile walk down the trail, I had it in me to hike further, plus I wanted an easier day hiking in to town the next day.  Also, I was very eager to be finished with PA.

Side Note:
– Ordered the Black Diamond Spot from Amazon to be shipped to Unionville, NY. Large number of people I had been hiking with for the past couple of days highly recommended going with Black Diamond.

 

Day 93 (Mile 1244.1 – 1256.8):

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The owner apparently makes the breakfast and it was probably the best omlet I have ever had. I wish I wrote down how he said he made it when I asked. We talked quite a bit this morning. He seemed very interested in my story, like why I was on the trail and what I planned on doing afterward. People always seem well more interested in hearing what I have to say when I say I used to do software engineering. Little wish that wasn’t the case people were eager to listen despite their background. Well I guess I am guilty of it too. It really does depend on where one’s interests lie. For example, if you had owned or own a motorcycle, I am full of questions. Maybe what I am getting at is how the type of job shouldn’t vary the respect one shows for example, how a doctor and a maintenance worker are treated differently from a societies lense/perspective.

20170717_123004The terrain was pretty rough.

It got to the point where the sticks became a burden.  Had a pretty scary fall.  All it takes is one fall. 20170717_133246

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I did plan to go further but the entire day today people were saying to aviod the climb after Lehigh Gap if raining at all costs and since it was raining, I took their advice and cut my day short at the shelter right before.  Also, it was mentioned on Guthook that the next reliable water source would be the next shelter, fifteen miles away.

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Day 92 (Mile 1236.2 – 1244.1):

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Cute “selfie” from someone special (rare occurrence), but even still I could not motivate myself at all to get going this morning, packing up camp late as 12:30pm.  Couldn’t even motivate myself to work on my blog either. I mainly had been been super disappointed I had not been able to keep up the pace I wanted to keep up. I would like to blame everything on the rocks, but it’s so much more than just the change of pace. I have this constant mental fog. I haven’t been able to listen to my thoughts, audio books, and even my music. All I can think about is getting through PA as fast as possible. Luckily, I had been more than half way at this point.  For my sanity, I took the day off at the Blue Mountain Summit Bed & Breakfast…which also apparently was a bar. I did not have more than two beers, but it is seemingly starting to become a thing as I make my way through PA.  Owner is quite the character for those of you who stopped by this place to eat.  He was the type of guy who certainly did not have a filter but he meant well, at least in my opinion.