RPH Shelter [mile 1779.7; SOBO 761.3]
Last night was crazy. I was literally falling asleep while I typed. I sensed another impending debacle—-remember a few entries back, when I literally fell asleep with my finger on the backspace button and deleted an entry? Never again, I cried! So last night I quit while I was ahead.
I had the most bizarre dreams. In one, a white coyote with blue eyes came into my tent right through the side. The other one was some long series of medical stuff, but I can’t remember now what it was.
Dreaming is good! And I woke early and rested (although still not in any mood to get out into the cold, pack up, and start walking in the dark—but I did all those things).
Another spectacular fall day, although breezy and on the cold side, particularly in the morning. The night hiking wasn’t terrible; luckily the blazes through this section are fresh and white, and my headlamp picks them out well. I was talking to a long-ass section hiker this afternoon who said that it’s interesting; in winter, the snow pools down into the trail so you can find your way. The leaves, though? Not so much. It’s just a giant sea of leaves. Somewhere under there is trail. This morning I consciously used my poles to poke ahead, looking for the compacted earth, and it worked pretty well! I still lost the trail a couple of times, but I found it readily enough thanks to those blazes.
The trail was yet more rocky up and down today. I guess that’s New York for you. It feels very much like an urban park out here. Philadelphia people will know what I mean when I say this: It’s like hiking in Wissahickon. But with more rocks, more twisty-turny stuff, and steeper hills. I always hear cars now, and planes, and sometimes trains. No wildlife except chipmunks (which are still adorable).
Oh! As I was packing up the tent, I caught a gigantic whiff of skunk. Man! It was close, too. That made me nervous. Seriously, can you imagine a worse way to end a thru-hike? Being skunked? Your gear, all of it, would be instantly unuseable. And to add insult to injury, nobody would drive you home.
Which reminds me. I’m now in a tricky part of this endeavor. From now to the end, I’ll be one to three hours from my house. If I need to quit, I could probably call someone and be home on my couch in four to six hours, for all the rest of the hike.
Four hours from home. Or four weeks. (OK, six.)
I’m not doing it, of course. But the thought does rattle around on the cold solitary nights.
So… I hiked! There was no shortage of dayhikers today, or sectioners. I got to a major intersection at around 8:30 or so and decided to take the half-mile roadwalk to the local deli. That way I could get a good breakfast and a cup of coffee, plus a hoagie to get me through tomorrow. And so it came to pass. It was cold sitting at the picnic table to eat it, though.
Then… more hiking! I felt great, though. Sleep, food, and a light pack are completely rejuvenating.
The shelters are still oddly spaced, but I found one on the local trail map that’s not in Awol. I’ll have to see what’s what when I get there, but it gives me an option for not stealthing. I was going to go to the Shenandoah Campsite tonight, but Boy Scouts are there, so I stopped at this shelter.
And ohmygods. Taj Mahal! OK, not that good. But it has bunks, and it’s cleaner than the dumpier hostels, and it has a picnic table!
I deserve to sleep on a bunk. You hear me? I deserve it! 😉
I have no idea what’s going on. I’m just trying to get out of New York, and I’ll reevaluate in New Jersey.