Greenwood Lake, New York
I keep thinking I’m in Connecticut. Yesterday when I was walking through the crazy Halloween streets, the hardware store was blasting “Time Warp.” And 1) that felt like another crazy coincidence, and 2) Greenwood Lake feels a little like a time warp.
So I hit the trail at 6:05. No, not the trail! The street! I woke up at 5:00 anyway, because my body’s so used to it, but I woke up warm, indoors, and on a soft bed—without that death-sentence feeling of knowing I have to roll out into the cold air, stuff everything into the trash bag I carry on my back, and go out again and walk until my feet are throbbing and my shoulders feel like they’ve been caned with rebar.
Because… zero, baby!
I humped up to the Cumberland Farms store for coffee. It was cold enough that I needed my puffy and gloves. Weird, to be on a town street in the dark. But there are streetlights! On Greenwood Lake (which is an algae-slimed pond of a thing, although it looked prettier in the moonlight) there were four swans floating. They watched me pass. When I came back they were asleep in the moonlit water, in a row like white buoys with their heads tucked onto their backs. And I marveled at the long necks of water birds, which let them curl up to sleep. It never really occurred to me before to wonder why their necks are long. (OK, so it’s probably the fish-eating thing, too.)
Then it was back to the room to sit with coffee and my guidebook and figure out the general future and specifically the next couple of weeks. My last pair of shoes (six!) are coming to New Jersey. Thank you, brother!
Babble for a future hiker! [Skip ahead unless you like babble!]
Somebody asked me how much cash I’ve spent. I waited until I had a strong connection, and now I can’t find the comment and I don’t recall who it was!
That’s probably not a useful datum, because so much depends on individual preferences and the whims of the weather and the ups and downs of the trail. (A blister can land you in town for a week, and that can cost you a grand; I saw it happen this year.) There are always extensive discussions about this on White Blaze, and that’s a better source of information because opinions and experiences vary so widely.
I will say that there are certain choices that raise the price tag, sometimes considerably.
–If you’re an introvert or want or need privacy for whatever reason, your lodging costs will be higher, often substantially. Hotels/motels are pricier than hostels, but at hostels you’re living, breathing, sleeping, showering, and lounging with other people. Early on, with a lot of other people. In the south, B&Bs can be a good middle ground. In the north, B&Bs are usually higher than hotels. There aren’t any really cheap options in the middle.
–If you don’t hitchhike, your costs will be higher. It’s doable, but you’ll end up staying in towns where you might not have planned to stay, for longer, or paying for shuttles. And your hike will be longer, maybe a LOT longer, and that’s the single biggest factor driving expenses.
–A winter start can cost you substantially more. This year there were so many ice storms and lethal cold snaps and so much (record-breaking) snow that at the beginning it was literally hike one day, then flee off the mountain for a day. But I’m terrible in the cold. Maybe a hardier soul wouldn’t have that issue to the same degree.
Whoever asked that, if you want more information, feel free to email me; there’s a link to do that somewhere on here (maybe on the ‘About’ page).
This endeth the babble!
Looks like I’m about to hike toward winter: days in the 40s, nights near 30, and sometimes rain and blustery wind. Unhappy! Time to try to remember my old Smokies strategies—like not taking off my clothes at night because it’s too darned cold to change in the morning.
Four more weeks. Maybe five.
I wonder if I can challenge myself to dump another pound? I don’t see how, though, short of removing body parts. I can certainly drop a few things like my DEET. Grams add up to ounces add up to miles. And I need miles.
I did manage to save an ounce owing to a Superglue design flaw. I went to glue my shoes, and the cap is glued to the tube. D’oh!
Daylight is such a problem. I tried jogging a couple of days ago. Um… no. It tortured my knees and sore shoulder (what with the 30-pound pack), and with the rocks and leaves it’s almost a certain recipe for a broken ankle. And you know what would suck harder than hiking in winter? A broken ankle.
So I did my toiletry resupply in the CVS this morning. Uniquely, before the inevitable “And you’re doing this all by yourself?!” I got “So where do you go to the bathroom?” It amused me. Most people are too socially conditioned to come right out and ask a stranger about their poop habits. Of course, she looked both ways and whispered. LOL. Good for you, sister! Everybody poops, my friend. Everybody poops.
Little known fact: From here, you can walk two blocks and take NJ Transit into Manhattan for about 12 bucks. Seeing the NJ Transit signs is freaky! Because that’s… like… home!
And that’s it, I think. The daily visit from Randomland, weekend edition! Tomorrow: Back to the grind as early as I can manage.