Day 106 – Thursday, June 23: Stealth Camp (Old Route 55) to Pawling, NY to Brooklyn, NY, 5.5 miles, 1,445.9 total AT miles.

Black Santa and I woke early as planned and started booking it up trail to Pawling, NY. Pawling has two trail exits, one at 5.5 miles and the other at over 8 miles. While we really wanted to get to Brooklyn, we were conscious of the fact that we still needed to make miles. We set off at a good clip.

The trail was relatively flat for the first five miles as it hugged the shores of Nuclear Lake. It was great hiking as we followed relatively easy terrain. We were making great time, powering up and over West Mountain at 9:30am, and spilling out onto West Dover Rd. at 10:00.

We were surprised to find Get Weird waiting by the trail head. She stealth camped as well last night, maybe just a few miles ahead of us, and was waiting for a ride into town. We chatted roadside by the Dover Oak, the largest and oldest oak tree on the AT. She was surprised to see us as well, assuming we made it to Brooklyn the night prior, as we had hoped.

The three of us decided to make the three mile walk to town, thankfully catching (a sketchy) hitch before too long. We got dropped of at the local deli/market and walked inside to grab breakfast. After a quick coffee, we decided to take advantage of the laundromat – Black Santa and I had just confirmed that our train wouldn’t be arriving for another two hours anyway.

We met the owner of the local tavern while at the laundromat – he was very interested in our travels and wanted us to visit before heading to NYC. After a quick change into clean clothes, the three of us walked over. The owner was very generous – he bought us drinks and snacks, chatting with us while Black Santa and I waited for our train. At 12:45, we left Get Weird in the tavern and headed to the train platform.

Once on board, I immediately fell asleep – I had a two hour ride ahead of me. I regret not updating my blog, but decided I needed the sleep more – I only got about four hours the night prior. It’s been a rough stretch getting here.

Before I knew it, I was exiting the commuter train and entering Grand Central Station – it’s a beautiful building. We exited and made our way around Manhattan, stopping at the main branch of the New York Public Library for a break. After having some snacks on the bench outside, we started making our way to the subway.

We met up with Black Santa’s friend outside of a Dim Sum shop near Prospect Park, Brooklyn. (This is where I think I lost my phone, on the bench in front of the restaurant.) We grabbed our food to-go and made our way back to Black Santa’s friend’s apartment. I emptied my pack in the spare bedroom and quickly fell asleep.

I woke at 6:00pm and came out into the living room, happy to see that the guys had ordered pizza. We gorged ourselves, watching soccer until it midnight. I kept trying to call my phone – it was ringing, but no one was picking it up. Bummer. I eventually went to bed.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

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