I met a hiker from New Jersey and told him that my previous experience in NJ was the ugly I-95 corridor and I never realized that there was so much beauty in the interior of the state. He told me that they intentionally make the I-95 corridor look like that to discourage New Yorkers from moving into the state. Today I would be passing into New York and I hoped that my opinion of NY, also developed from my Interstate Highway experience, would be dispelled as well.
After lacing up my shoes, now modified with cushy foam inserts, I broke camp and took off to find out what lies ahead. Not far from the shelter there is a short side trail to the entrance of Wawayanda State Park where I hiked to get water from a spigot that is located there. A short time after leaving there, I crossed Long House Drive where I ran into Hawaii and First Aid. They had spent the night nearby at a friends house and were waiting for a taxi to take them back to the house because First Aid had accidentally left his wallet and ID there.
Following a short but rocky climb, I arrived at the New York State Line and stopped for a celebratory snack. I was soon joined by a couple of section hikers and we took turns taking pictures of each other at this milestone. Shortly after the state line, I arrived at Prospect Rock which is the highest point on the A.T. in NY. There is a very nice view from here of Greenwood Lake.
I spent the rest of the day walking along the ridge line on huge rocks and enjoying multiple vistas. The rocks were pretty easy to walk across but I was extremely appreciative of the awesome dry weather because this would probably have been a pretty hazardous section in the rain.
Later in the afternoon, I arrived at NY 17A where a 2014 thru-hiker had a set up a canopy and was offering trail magic. BR and O2 were already there and waving at me to come over, so I went over and introduced myself to the trail angel and explained to him that I would return for a chat but that I had my heart set on ice cream at the Bellvale Farms Creamery just down the road. He completely understood. At the Creamery, I enjoyed a couple of unbelievably delicious scoops of Rum Raisin ice cream washed down with two bottles of Birch Beer before returning to the trail magic. The trail angel was North Stars from New Hampton, NY, and I enjoyed another soda while we chatted about trail life. After thanking North Stars for the “magic,” I continued on my way.
It was only two miles from NY 17A to the Wildcat Shelter, but there were excellent views along the way at Eastern Pinnacles and Cat Rocks.
I forgot to mention that the bugs and mosquitoes have been atrocious for the past couple of weeks, but at the Wildcat Shelter they seemed especially voracious. I donned my head net, quickly set up my tent, and went over to talk to O2 who I had only met briefly back at Delaware Water Gap. We chatted for a couple of minutes and I learned that he is from Tyler, TX. I also caught up some with BR, but as soon as everyone had finished dinner we retreated to the confines of our tents and hammocks to escape the blood thirsty bugs.