Pochuck Mountain Shelter [mile 1858.2; SOBO 839.8]
It’s getting bitter! Tonight it’ll hit the mid-30s, and the next two will drop to the mid-20s. Brrrr. I’ll be fine at night. It’s the waking up at dark o’clock and having to roll out that’s the killer. Never again will I take for granted my programmable thermostat that warms up my house in the morning.
Today started badly. I was in a crappy funk from minute one, and I’m not sure why. I think it’s because I knew I had to do a short day, and at this late stage that feels like a disastrous failure.
Staying at Greenwood Lake syncopated my schedule. The shelters and camping areas are unevenly spaced, and the stop put me between them. And stealthing hasn’t been reliable because of the swamps and populated areas. To get back on the shelter schedule, I had to do a short day today. Then tomorrow I needed to resupply, which meant tomorrow could end up short, too.
But after the first couple of miles I pulled out the guide and realized there was a deli-slash-market 1.1 miles from the trail. That was the alternative—resupply today on the short day when I had time to burn. Eureka!
It was a gamble. Sometimes “market” doesn’t mean what you think. Once it was an upscale farm market that only sold meat. (I have no stove and no refrigerator, and meat is heavy!) Often it’s a euphemism for a gas station that sells beer and cigarettes and a couple of candy bars. And a mile is a lot of steps to waste on a failure.
Turns out? Not a failure!
The market was actually a dingy little place on a pick-your-own farm. But they made me a delicious Western omelette sandwich and coffee, and I managed to score enough miscellaneous food to get me to the Mohican! Cheese and crackers, some junk.
But get this. Yesterday three SOBOs went through there. I know who those guys are, although I haven’t met them yet. I’ve been a day or two behind them for the last week or two, and I keep hearing stories about them.
They’d picked up a maildrop at the post office next door. It had too much food in it, so they left it in the deli as a hiker box. I was able to supplement my cheese and crackers with some other stuff, and now I’m in great shape. Tomorrow I can skip Unionville and try for a longer day. Huzzah!
A landmark today: the big boardwalk through the swamp. I’ve been waiting to see that for over a year! It’s a mile long. In the middle is a suspension bridge. Looking down, I was dumbstruck at the thought of how high that water must get to warrant a bridge that tall.
And that’s it! Tomorrow: winter.