Telephone Pioneers Shelter [mile 1772.9; SOBO 744.5]
Jeez. So much happened today that I could spend six hours writing it all down! Lucky for you, I got into camp late after a near disaster, so I only have a little while before bedtime. And because of the spacing of the shelters here (ie, bad), I have to try for 17 miles tomorrow. Which means an ungodly early start.
So many milestones passed!
I woke up at the usual predawn hour. (My system is to set the alarm for 4:30, which gives me some snoozes to adjust to the inevitable; up at 5:00, on the trail at 6:15.) It didn’t rain last night, halleluia! In fact, my tent was completely dry, right down to the footprint.
I had a tough time finding the trail in the dark, but I got there eventually. Then it was walk walk walk walk walk. I crossed some roads, climbed aome hills, poked at some leaves, then boom! New York!
Stick a fork in New England. It’s done!
Still to go: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia. That list is getting frighteningly short.
The trail in new York feels different. More ups and downs but with much lower elevation; I feel like I could use a surfboard. More roads. A lot more houses. And the shelters are very awkwardly spaced, sometimes 30 miles apart. That’s a lot of miles for a state in which stealth camping is prohibited (hence, ‘stealth’). I’ll just take it one day at a time.
So that wrath-of-god weather never really came! That’s excellent.
(Oh my gods! The owl chorus at this shelter! The one in the distance was calling and calling and getting no response, which made me sad. Then all of a sudden, the response came—from a tree that must be six feet from my tent! I want to go look, but I don’t want to interfere with the bird. Also, it’s pitch dark. The last wildlife wish on my AT bucket list is to see an owl.)
(Also, something’s skittering outside my tent. I’m thinking chipmunk. Maybe that owl could do me a favor here!)
The day wasn’t quite sunny, but it stayed warm. I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m having outstanding weather, so I’m grateful for that. Eventually I got to within spitting distance of another AT milestone: Tony’s Deli.
Tony is supposed to be the Soup Nazi of the AT, if the stories on WB are to be believed. I had time and needed a short-term resupply, so I decided to walk the 6/10 mile and see.
I don’t think Tony was in residence, but everybody there was exceptionally nice, and they made me a great cheeseburger.
After Tony’s, another milestone: the AT train stop! That train goes into New York City.
Then came the longest boardwalk so far (for me): the Swamp River Boardwalk. I felt like I was in Disneyworld on the Pirates ride. At one point there were two beach chairs with mileages carved into them: one to Georgia, and one to Maine. I loved that boardwalk!
I loved it until, a mile later on a long climb when I stopped for a rest, I realized I’d lost my trail guide pages for the next four days.
I was pretty sure I’d looked at the guide at the end of the boardwalk, so I left my pack by the trail and walked as fast as I could back to the bench. No pages! Well, I was sure I’d looked at them at the train, so I went all the way back across the boardwalk, et voila! The pages were sitting in the grass. I got back to my pack and it was fine, but that half-jog in the heat made me thirsty, and I only had a half-liter of untreated water.
I climbed the rest of that interminable hill. There supposedly was a trail angel a half-mile away who lets hikers fill their bottles. I was making a beeline for her!
On the way I met dayhikers Alfred and Richard, and we had a nice chat. Hi, gentlemen, if you see this! 🙂
Milestone! At the road, the famous Dover oak tree, the biggest on the trail. And the water lady was right there and had water, so another halleluia!
I still had almost a mile to go to get to the shelter, and it wasn’t an easy mile—mostly uphill.
But here I am! There are two guys here: one down by the shelter, and one out farther on the blue-blazed trail. I hear the drone of insects and neverending traffic in the distance. The wind is blowing gently. The guy down at the shelter has a fire going; I love the smell of a campfire.
Now if that owl would just pounce on that chipmunk, it’d be perfect. Although for the chipmunk, not so much. 😉