It would appear that I’ve been adopted into a new trail family. The last three days have been the most fun I’ve had on trail since a few days into Pennsylvania.
I posted the video I took in Maryland partly to remind myself of how happy I was before PA.
I’m currently in New York, under thirty miles from the Connecticut state line. The heat has been absolutely horrendous, with an index of 106 yesterday. Some fifteen or more hikers (Nobo and Sobo) converged on the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center yesterday. The free cold showers drew us in like moths to a flame. Or rather, the inverse of that?
Run by Fanciscan monks, this facility has been caring for hikers since the 70’s. While I didn’t meet any of them (they were smart enough to put the noisy hikers very, very far from their monastery) I am thankful for their hospitality.
The heat brought all hiking progress to a grinding hault at only five miles, but with my laundry hand-washed I felt productive regardless. I managed to get everything mostly dry before weather hit that evening.
We pulled just shy of twenty miles today, and I’m once again camped in a field. The massive lightning storm last night, coupled with the following humidity today, has my single-wall tent pretty damp for tonight.
I’m lying on my beloved NeoAir Xlite, which is the only barrier between my dry sleeping bag and the wet tent floor. I hate pitching on grass, because the condensation is unavoidable. Even the best tents seem to sweat in these conditions.
Honestly, being on the AT this long has made me hate grass and lawns more than I did at the start. Out here, grass is synonymous with ticks. In the morning it means wet socks, a wet tent, etc. My general hatred for lawns, and my bewilderment at the time and money people spend to maintain them started while mowing them as a teenager. It was largely reinforced later in life by this wonderful article: http://www.eattheweeds.com/the-grass-and-tree-war/
Check out more of Dean’s work here: https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL58E60DB5D9A7A012
Tangent aside, New York has been a tough, but beautiful state. Water has been scarce, but trail angels have been dropping gallon jugs at nearly every road crossing.
Crossing the Hudson on the Bear Mountain Bridge was incredible. We crossed just after sundown, with the final streaks of sunlight still in the distance.
I haven’t taken many pictures lately, because I’ve been too sweaty to operate my phone’s touch screen. Think about that for a second. I have one microfiber cloth buried deep in my backpack for the single purpose of making my phone usable during an emergency.
My pack, body, clothes, shoes, gaitors, and everything else not in dry bags is perpetually wet with perspiration 24/7. It’s becoming plainly obvious why the outdoor club back home does not do summer backpacking trips. Normal (sane) people don’t do this in this heat.
Thankfully, I’m not exactly normal, and my sanity has long been in question.