Fingerboard Shelter [mile 1820.3; SOBO 801.9]
Miles to go: 365.6
And the beat goes on! The beat of feet, that is.
I woke up predawn in my beautiful stealth site and it was too cloudy to see the city lights down below. Then as I was packing up I realized that my pitas were moldy. That was my staple for the next three days. Later in the day I decided my sandwich from yesterday had gone to a place I wasn’t happy with. Suddenly I was looking at a food crunch.
Well… nothing to be done about it. In the mid-Atlantic section of the trail, there are options. It’s not like this is the Hundred-Mile Wilderness.
The funny thing is that the trail is clearly divided into three sections. Just when you’re getting good at a section, boom! It changes, and your systems and gear and lists aren’t really up to snuff.
This section is the land of relatively easy food.
So I hiked in the fog and worried about how I was going to cross the Palisades Parkway at rush hour on a cloudy morning. Turned out it was nothing. There’s a woody median strip down the middle that’s bigger than most shelter areas. On that median about a half-mile down, there was supposedly an information center with vending machines. I took the saunter, hoping that there might be an outlet I could use for the phone or at least a faucet or water fountain. Water’s getting scarce.
No outlet. I did get water in the restroom. The vending machines had sodas and candy, so I drank a couple of sodas and got some Fritos. Fritos are high calorie; the best! They have so much fat in them that you can light them on fire. I learned that out here, so don’t say the hike hasn’t been educational.
After that… more walking! The shrubs have turned red, so the forest floor looks ruddy. The ferns are gold. That was the landscape for a large part of the day: fewer trees, and smaller, but bushes and hedges and tall groundcover in all the autmn colors.
And rocks. Dear gods, the rocks are back. I’m totally dreading Pennsylvania in two weeks time.
The day was hot and humid. And you know what’s out now as thiugh it were July? Bugs. Particularly these disgusting eye gnats, and yellowjackets. The yellowjackets are suddenly everywhere.
Also, Toads 2, Snakes 1! That’s been a while, eh? I still see a fair number of toads, but snakes have become rare.
In the heat of the afternoon, I decided to wander down to this local beach that’s close to the trail: Tiorati Circle. I wasn’t looking to swim—just the usual, an outlet and water. But even the restrooms were closed for the season. I did score a soda and a bottle of water from a vending machine they haven’t turned off yet.
And that was the day! I was 34 miles from New York today. I can already smell the cheesesteaks!