Stealthing [mile 1811.4; SOBO 793.0]
Miles to go: 374.5
I apologize in advance for the number of photos. Today was an incredible day.
Not the homestretch. There’s still plenty of trail to go. But today the landmarks just kept coming.
Note: At this point, every decision is going to come down to costing money, time, or phone battery. I’m back to my old trick of handwriting entries, and I’ll try to transpose when I’m in a motel. Not my favorite, but the charger takes six hours to fill up.
So, I was up before dawn at Graymoor, and the first one to hit the road at 6:30. I went back to the little deli and grabbed my power breakfast—eggs, bacon, juice, coffee—and a roast beef hero (hoagie!) for later. Then it was off to tackle the miles before Bear Mountain.
I lost the trail almost immediately. I was trundling along a wide, flat, beautiful trail, then I came to an intersection and realized I hadn’t seen a blaze in twenty minutes, and yes… this wasn’t the AT.
So I went back a mile or so and found where the AT left the hiker superhighway—a tiny sharp turn through some bushes.
This happened all day. I wish I had all those off-trail miles back.
The weather wasn’t so pretty today, but it made for great hiking. Gray skies but no rain, and temps in the sixties. Nice and cool.
First milestone: At around noon I crossed the Hudson. (Look! A terrible bridge picture!) That’s an impressive river, especially framed by the fall foliage. I guess my big river is the Delaware, but that Hudson? I can see why people love it.
After the Hudson I lost the trail a while and almost crossed the bridge again before I found the right direction: the zoo!
A zoo, right on the trail. It seemed a little surreal, truth be told. But I saw a coyote (which was odd) and a porcupine. And the bear… the poor old tattered bear sits at the lowest point on the AT.
After that, Hessian Lake. I charged my phone partially while I ate half my sammich. Then I lost the trail for a while, and when I found it, it headed up Bear Mountain—or, as I like to think of it, Cirith Ungol. Because of the billionty stairs.
It actually was an easy climb. The stairs were graded for tourists, with plenty of flat landings. I got to the observation tower in an hour or so, and I decided to climb it.
That’s cheating a little. It was a closed building, not an open firetower. Still, it was a little tricky with the fear of heights. But I did it on principle and got some views despite the gray.
And that was the day. I’m stealthed near the top of a mountain in a place so beautiful I could weep. The distant river, the hills, the city lights just starting to glitter… it brings home the fact that soon, very soon, I’ll be living indoors again.