20.9 miles, 58,973 steps, 426 stories climbed
1391.4/806.6 miles/left, 3,593,639 steps, 30,984 stories climbed
Trail Magic Moments: 37
Another day of ups and downs. I should have known the day would be rough when I woke up and for some reason the Macarena was stuck in my head.
Dear DJ in my head:
Get your shit together!!!
I packed up my stuff and went to head out when I noticed my trekking poles were missing. The lone hiker left in the shelter said that someone came along and noticed them, asked everyone who was in the shelter about them and everyone there just said “They were there when we got here.” No one thought to say, you might want to ask the guy in the tent though.
I rushed off after him but still needed to get water as well because I was completely out. I rushed and filled at the first stream I came to but no time for my typical breakfast because I needed to catch that guy. It took over 5 miles of me going full speed (at times even jogging) to catch up. I even ended up crossing into New York before catching him…so hurray for that, 8 down and 6 to go.
When I finally caught him and told him what happened he apologized profusely. I don’t really blame him, I don’t think he even knew I was there but the other people should have known better. At least I have my poles back.
After that I slowed back to my normal pace but New York had a rough greeting in store for me. For some reason it decided to do a very good impersonation of Rocksylvania! Not very fun.
As I walked along the rocky ridge at one point, enjoying the scenic view to my right, I was about to take a step down from a rock when I heard a loud hiss. Before even looking I just jumped back. Right in front of me were not one but two poisonous Rattlesnakes. They were on top of one another so I think I may have interrupted something but luckily when they saw me back away they just decided to watch and make sure I didn’t get close. I quickly took a picture and walked well out of their way.
Not too far after that there was a hot dog stand right on the side of the trail where I stopped for lunch. I hadn’t had a hot dog since the last Fresh Grounds stop. As I was eating the vendor started talking to me about the thunderstorm about to come through. He then told me about his friend who was hiking the trail and was killed by a lightning strike. Comforting. It reminded me about a story from the other day O forgot to mention.
When I stopped at the diner for breakfast a few days ago, as I was leaving a guy started asking me some questions about my hike. The usual ones, “where did I start”, “when did I start”, “what did I do before”, stuff like that. He then tells me about his friend who disappeared while doing the trail. He was hiking in the White Mountains up in New Hampshire and fell off the side of the ridge and was never seen again. The guy then tells me how more hikers die in that area than anywhere else, he then wished me luck and walked away. Thank you weird bad omen guy. I think I would leave that story out for future hikers.
Now, yesterday I had noticed a problem with my new shoes and the way they were rubbing the back of my heel. There was some skin missing so this morning I used some neosporin and band aids to cover the wounds but the combination of sweat and friction took the bandages off. I tried to keep the bandages on with duct tape then but I ended up not having enough. I tried to hike through it but not too far after the hot dog stand I thought better of it and started hiking in my camp shoes, a pair of Crocs that look and feel like slippers. They were comfy but not supportive at all and have very little grip.
I continued hiking and came across the coolest looking bird. It’s body was completely red like a Cardinal but it had dark black wings like a Raven. I had never seen anything like it. It flew away before I could get a picture though.
As I continued I started thinking about how I did not see any trail magic on New Jersey. None at all. The only state so far without any and I was hoping New York would be better and it was.
Not long after that thought I came across a bunch of water bottles for hikers. Not too far after that was a guy on the side of the road with soda and Oreos for hikers. He told us a story about how when he hiked the trail back in ’01 he ran into some trail magic being handed out by none other than the great James Earl Jones who lives right off the trail!
After that I hiked on and came across a fully stocked first aid kit maintained by a Boy Scout troop. I grabbed an ace bandage to wrap my ankle tomorrow to hopefully help with the pain from my shoes and moved on and then found a cooler filled with apples, bananas and peaches along with some more water bottles. I grabbed an apple and hiked on but the weather quickly turned sour. I was way too far from the shelter and hiking on rocks in slippers so I decided to make camp as soon as I found a spot. It took too long though. The sky opened up and it rained as hard as I had ever seen.
By the time I found a spot the ground was already soaked. I quickly set up and got in my tent but with the ground soaked my tent basically filled with water and I’m now sitting in a puddle. I’m doing my best to soak up the water with my towel and wring it out outside my tent but there are about 20 mosquitoes waiting for me on the mesh netting of my tent. More than I’ve seen before so I’ll be pretty wet while sleeping tonight and to top everything off I’m short of my goal for the day so I’ll have to make those miles up to get to the train station on time on Saturday.
The trail is throwing some rough challenges my way but I just have to keep going.