By the time I came out of my tent this morning (which was early), BR and O2 were nowhere to be found. They tend to hit the trail at first light which makes a lot of sense because when I got up, the mosquitos were already out in full force. That being said, the bugs don’t bother me much while I’m hiking but tend to swarm when I stop, so there is a lot of motivation for me to keep moving.
The trail is starting to reveal some of the beauty of New York and first on tap was the lovely Fitzgerald Falls. The area has been so dry that many of the streams that are listed in the AT Guide as reliable are dry, so it was a pleasant surprise to find a trickle coming over the falls. Continuing past the falls, the trail became somewhat rocky, but the rocks didn’t last long as the trail wound through some pretty woodlands. Further down the trail, I passed the gorgeous Little Dam Lake.
The “Town Greeter” back in Unionville, NY, had told us to expect a lot of trail magic as we hiked through New York. I wasn’t sure what he was referring to, but it turns out that people are leaving much needed water at practically every road crossing. I certainly appreciated the cache at West Mombasa Road as well as the one at NY 17. Who says that New Yorkers aren’t friendly?
About three miles past NY 17, I arrived at a fun rock formation named The Lemon Squeezer. Not unlike a jungle gym, you get to crawl through a tunnel, squeeze through a slot, and scramble over some rocks. The slot was so narrow that I had to hold my backpack above my head to get through. At the end of the slot, there is a small rock shelf on the left where you can deposit your pack so you can use your hands to climb out. I must have looked like I was struggling (or I was just taking too long) because a tiny Asian lady helped me hoist my pack up to the shelf. I will happily accept whatever help might be offered.
The A.T. intersects the New York Long Path about a half mile past the Lemon Squeezer. According to the sign, it is only 51.8 miles from there to the G. W. Bridge in NYC. I found that to be quite astonishing.
I had intended to camp for the night at Fingerboard Shelter but since I had heard several credible stories about a problem bear at the shelter, I continued down the easy trail for an additional 5.3 miles to the next shelter. When I arrived at the William Brien Memorial Shelter, Hawaii and First Aid were there with Pumba. While we were eating dinner, we decided the we would all get up early and hike the 1.3 miles to the summit of Black Mountian. Black Mountain is supposed to have a great view of the New York City skyline and since we want to get there for sunrise, we will have to wake up at 4:00 am and hike in the dark using our headlamps. So I’m off to an early bedtime.