A few notes – the keyboard is acting up again. I’m trying to keep it charged as that seems to help the shift keys work better. But it’s been charging all day, so who knows.
Also, it really stinks trying to piece this thing together without my notes or pictures. I haven’t really written about what it takes to keep this blog running – if I have solid cell phone reception, I can usually write and upload a post in an hour to an hour and a half. Losing my phone has really put me behind.
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I woke up on the pavement in the parking lot of the trail head shivering. It got unexpectedly cold overnight. I woke up at around 3-00am and grabbed my tent out of my bag. Instead of setting it up, I covered myself with the rainfly. It worked – I stayed nice and toasty all night. So when I did finally wake up at 6-45, it was only fitting that McDoubles was standing over me with his camera grinning, taking pictures of black santa and myself as we slept in the most awkward fashion ever.
I stood and started packing, chatting with McDoubles as I did so. He was just a hundred yards up trail and had backtracked to retrieve water – he certainly wasn’t expecting to find us there. I was packed quickly and made my way down to chat to with savage and Champa. Pawling, ny [and our train to brooklyn] still lay almost 30 miles away. Savage, Champa and McDoubles were planning on tenting near nuclear lake, a full 25 miles away – black Santa and myself wanted to potentially make it all the way to Pawling, or as close as possible.
We all started hiking north at 7-00. I remember feeling tired and quickly took the rear of the line – black Santa sped off. He really wanted to make it to Brooklyn by tonight – I was beginning to have reservations.
While the trail had certainly gotten less rocky the further we got away from nj, the elevation profile was still just as jagged – all these short, but steep, ups and downs were brutal. But my feet were feeling better than they had in weeks – I wish I had my trail runners sent to me sooner.
I thought I was further behind that I actually was – I stopped at the rph shelter at 1-00pm to make lunch and refill water from the hand pump just off trail. I was surprised to find savage, Champa and McDoubles relaxing there as well. I quickly cooked in the mid-day heat and ate. I sat in the shade as the rest of the group packed up. While I didn’t intend on night hiking tonight, I was still on a night hiking sleep schedule – and it was nearing nap time. I grabbed an empty bunk and unfolded my sleeping pad, saying goodbye to my hiking buddies as I laid down to get some sleep.
I woke again at 4-00 and checked my phone. Black Santa was five miles ahead, relaxing at a roadside deli – he was moving slowly today as well. After a quick stop at the privy, I was hiking north again at 4-30. At 7-00, I found myself at the same deli – black Santa was long gone, but savage, Champa and McDoubles were relaxing in the shade behind the restaurant. I went inside and ordered dinner, eventually making my way back outside to chat with them.
While they were shooting for nuclear lake [still nine miles up trail], they decided to tent behind the restaurant – it was actually a very nice spot, with a large grassy area in the back perfect for a stealth camp. I was tempted to stay, but decided to press on.
I was crossing I-84, when I received a text from black Santa – he was throwing in the towel. While he could still make it to Pawling, and catch the last train to Brooklyn, he was started to get tired. He neglected to take a nap this afternoon and was running out of steam following last night’s night hike. I told him I’d catch up soon.
But then the sun went down and I entered some particularly thick forest. I was doing all I could to keep up a pace of over a mile per hour. I also remember having a difficult time staying on trail – this section crossed numerous side trails and they’re often times poorly marked.
I was making a substantially difficult midnight descent towards ny55 when I finally found black santa’s tent just a few yards off trail. I woke him up as I set up my own tent. We reiterated our plans to get an early start so we could make it to Pawling as soon as possible the next day. I remember falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
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Again, no pics or notes from my food diary for today. Sorry everyone.