Friday, August 28, 2015

And another one bites the dust...New York!!

And New York is complete.  We did not start out on good terms with New York, the trail from the NJ/NY border to Palisades Thruway was terrible.  However, north of Palisades Thruway the trail improved and we were able to finally make miles again and enjoyed hiking.  Lack of water and dried up water sources were an issue the entire length of the state, so we carried 3 liters of water each.  We have crossed into Connecticut and have been told by SOBO (Southbound) hikers that the trail in Connecticut is nice and the water sources have water...whoohoo!!  Only 2 1/2 states to go, Connecticut, Massachusetts and 1/2 of Vermont...and 80 miles of Maine.  Only 431.8 miles left to go!!!

Thursday 20 August 2015
Zero Day
We came upon an advertisement for Stony Point Center at William Brien Memorial Shelter and decided to take a zero day when we arrived at Bear Mountain Bridge.  If you are hiking through the Bear Mountain area and need a place to stay, definitely check out Stony Point, they are amazing people and you will definitely have a great stay.

Friday 21 August 2015
Bear Mountain Bridge to US 9/NY 403, 1706.7 miles
Rested and repaired we were back on trail heading north.  No big miles today, just 5.8, because we wanted to stop at US 9 in order to meet anyone for Saturday's SFC Tipton Memorial Hike.

Hendo's Mom making her way across Bear Mountain Bridge

Caution sign at the entrance to Bear Mountain Bridge.  We didn't get to encounter any falcons.

The usual "Don't jump off the bridge" sign that we have seen at all large bridges we have crossed.  Not to worry, we didn't jump.

Saturday 22 August 2015
US 9/NY 403 to Stealth campsite next to stream, 1713.5 miles
Today was SFC Robert Tipton AT Memorial Hike Day.

On 22 July 2015, fellow combat veteran and Post War Hike follower, SFC Robert Tipton succumbed to suicide. SFC Tipton was an AGR Non-commissioned Officer serving as the Motor Sergeant in the 396th Engineering Company, Ashland, KY and had deployed to Iraq during both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. SFC Tipton was 45 years old at the time of his death and had just recently graduated from the E8 leadership course and was looking forward to continuing his career in the Army. Like many combat veterans SFC Tipton had his battles with PTS and unfortunately eventually succumbed to his deamons.
On 22 August 2015, Mom and I spent the day hiking in SFC Tipton's honor. We invited any and all to join us in person to hike or to hike by proxy to honor SFC Tipton. Like many of we combat veterans, SFC Tipton had found some peace in hiking in the outdoors and was considering thru-hiking the AT.  
We were so excited when Bill, an Army veteran and Chris, a Marine veteran, contacted us and said they would be joining us to hike along the AT for the day.  It was a beautiful day to hike with cooler temps, sunny skies and a slight breeze.  We hope that we can inspire or motivate other veterans to get outdoors in order to find some solace and peace.
SFC Tipton's wife, Teresa, sent Hendo one of SFC Tipton's shirts to wear during his memorial hike.  Hendo jazzed it up a bit and wore it proudly.

Hendo, Hendo's Mom, Bill and Chris at the start of our Memorial Hike.

This was a sign posted just before Old Albany Rd, a gravel road the AT crosses, and boy was it right...the locals flew down the down with zero regard for any pedestrians.

Hendo, Chris, Hendo's Mom and Bill enjoying the view from Canopus Hill

Chris, Bill, Hendo's Mom and Hendo at the end of our day of hiking with Chris and Bill.  Bill, an Army veteran, was a first time AT hiker, but we think he was bitten by the hiking bug and will hopefully be back out here again.  Chris, a Marine veteran, has sectioned hiked along the AT.

Sunday 23 August 2015
Stealth campsite to Shenandoah Tenting Area, 1724.8 miles
Today was a nice moderate day of hiking, with a brief stop at Clarence Fahnestock State Park for a Gatorade and Ice Cream.

A nice raised rock walkway built in the draw, allowing us to traverse the draw without having to hike down and back up.

Hendo at the painted flag on top of Shenandoah Mountain.

Hendo's Mom at the painted flag on top of Shenandoah Mountain.

Hendo's Mom at our home for the night at Shenandoah Tentsite.  An amazingly maintained location with a huge freshly mowed grassy lawn, hand pumped water, covered picnic table area, stone firepit, privy and apple trees.

Another view of Shenandoah Tentsite.

Monday 24 August 2015
Shenandoah Tentsite to RPH Shelter, 1726.1 miles
We got sucked into a vortex today at RPH Shelter.  We arrived at approximately 1045 hours and decided to wait until 1100 hrs and order a pizza.  Yes, a local pizza shop and Chinese restaurant both deliver to RPH Shelter, which is located on Horntown Rd.  After enjoying our pizza for lunch we got sucked into visiting with fellow hikers.  It had been a while since we had stayed a shelter and been able to experience the hiker comaraderie.  The water sources at all of the previous shelters in NY are dried up, so we have been camping where we can find water each night instead.  Before we knew it, it was dinner time, so we ordered Chinese and spent the night at RPH shelter.

Tuesday 25 August 2015
RPH Shelter to Morgan Stewart Shelter, 1735.1 miles
Two SOBO hikers, Treasure Hunter and Artemis realized Tuesday morning that they had lost their wallet/ziploc bag containing their IDs and credit cards, somewhere along the trail or in town on Monday.  They had visited the library in East Fish Kill on Monday and thought they may have forgotten their wallet at the library.  Their phone was dead and they library didn't open until 1000 hrs, so we waited around until 1000 hrs so they could use our phone to call the library.  Thankfully, they had left it at the library and someone had found it and turned it into the East Fish Kill Police Dept.  Treasure Hunter then called the police department, which state they did have the ziploc bag with IDs and credit cards.  Treasure Hunter explained he and his girlfriend were hiking the AT and did not have transportation to the Police Department to pick up the wallet and asked if a Police Officer could bring their wallet to them at the RPH Shelter.  The Police Department gladly offered to bring Treasure Hunter and Artemis their wallet.  What a great day of trail karma all around.  Once Treasure Hunter and Artemis had their wallet in hand we headed on north and they continued on south.

Treasure Hunter, Officer Vaughn of the East Fish Kill Police Dept and Artemis.

Stopping to enjoy the view along the trail.

Hendo's Mom picking ripe apples along the trail.  They were a yummy addition to our dinner and breakfast.

Mom giving a hug to an amazingly beautiful and large oak tree along the trail.

We stopped for a break and Hendo dropped a piece of her cookie on the ground.  This ant was absolutely ecstatic to stumble upon Hendo's crumb.  We watched the ant for 10 minutes as he/she carried the crumb home for dinner, it was amazing to watch.

Wednesday 26 August 2015
Morgan Stewart Shelter to NY 22/Tony's Deli, 1746.0 miles
And again, jackwagon hikers have resulted in another location ceasing to host hikers along the AT.  In July some jackwagons caused trouble at Native Landscapes and Garden Center, so the Garden Center no longer allows hikers to tent in their open field.  However, Tony's Deli 1/2 mile down the road has opened up their lawn to hikers, so we enjoyed a dinner of amazing sandwiches, cold beers and free tenting at Tony's.

Hendo and Hendo's Mom at Dover Oak, the largest oak tree on the AT with a girth of 20ft 4in, estimated to be over 300 years old.

Dover Oak Tree

Beautiful blue skies and white puffy clouds.

While we greatly appreciate the boardwalk, a little weed wacking could be used in this stretch of trail.  Hendo's Mom disappearing into the trail.

Great Blue Lobelia

Hiking through a field of wildflowers

An endless field of Goldenrod

Hendo hiking through the swamps of New York

The Appalachian Trail train station near Pawling, NY

Thursday 27 August 2015
NY22 to CT 55
New York treated us to a nice day of casual hiking as we left the state.  We were picked up at the end of the day by Craig Casella, a CT AT maintainer who has been following us on our hike.  Craig and his wife Jen graciously offered to take us in for a Zero Day on Friday 28 August 2015.

A great lending library at Wiley Shelter

I found the engineering of the log supports for this bridge quite impressive.  Why can't we see more ingenuity like this across other streams, creeks along the AT.

We made it...Hendo and Hendo's Mom, happy to be done with NY and starting CT.

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