NY 17A to Bear Mountain Inn NY Sections 10 - 12
5/30/10 (86*)- Day 1 total 4 miles:
Got to our shuttle guy's house around 830 am. Got to the trail head and realized I left my trekking poles in my car . Felt like a goon but the trail head was only 2 miles from the guys house so we went back.
got started about 930am crossing over the Eastern Pinnacles and made it to Wild Cat Shelter around 1030am. Read my first shelter log book and realized that there was an immediate bear population. The shelter's water source was too muddy for my chemicals so we decided to go to Fitzgerald's Falls to get better water and come back.
The trek to the falls was a steep down hill. Got there by 12pm filled up and decided to keep going. Made camp a little ways after off the falls on a faintly marked blue trail. Used the nearby fire pit for a good nightly fire.
got back to our hammock site and heard a HUGE noise which sounded like huge paws hitting the ground when it Ran from our bear bag area. Gear Slug drew his knife as did I. We talked about it for a few days after that and decided to call it an unconfirmed bear sighting as we never truely saw anything.
5/31/10 (86*)- Day 2 total 9.7 miles:
Decided to go to Island Pond based on the recommendation from our shuttle guy.
We started out with a strong pace knocking out some good mileage. The section between Fitz Falls and Island Pond is RUGGED. Some nasty climbs over Buchanan Mountain and Mombasha High Point. At the bottom of Buchanan Mountain we got a taste of our first Trail Magic... jugs of water from the Tuxedo Trail Angels. We filled up to about 2 liters each and left the rest for the other hikers.
Got to a point called Agony Grind and that down hill decent was something out of the bible
Made it to Harriman State Park around 3pm and we were running low on the trail magic water. Got to the first climb in Harriman State Park and it was huge! Gear Slug ran out of water half way up the climb (darn water camel). At the bottom you are faced with one more large climb and then Island Pond. I was rationing water between myself and Gear Slug. It was hot that day for such long up and down hike. My forarms were sweating something fierce and our entire clothing was drenched from sweat.
Made it to Island Pond and Gear Slug began filtering water. I went for a scout for a place to camp because I was done for the day. Found a great spot to lounge out by the pond. Got brave and stepped on a boulder in the water to see the pond better and slipped and fell right in the water. Gear Slug thought I jumped in but the other people at the pond saw what really happened!!!! All my electronics were in my pack which was not on me at the time. Did soak my dryer lint which never recovered from that spill the rest of the trip.
We lounged on the rocks as they were warm from the sun. About 30 min into lounging I felt really sick to my stomach, my thought process was getting erratic, and I wasn't hungry at all which was strange for the mileage we just put out. Gear Slug had the same feeling plus he began to dry heave... I realized we were SEVERELY dehydrated so I told him to muster up some strength and lets make camp NOW. We made camp and lethargically put our hammocks up. Told him to take a mouth full of water every 5-10 minutes until he feels hungry again and I would do the same. About 2 hours go by and we finally rehydrated outselves to the point where we felt "normal" again. Hard lessen learned about water intake awareness but luckily I was able to properly diagnose the problem.
6/1/10 - Day 3 (83*) total 2.7 miles:
Due to the prior day being dehydrated I suggested an easy hike to the next shelter (Fingerboard). We made it in about 2 hours with some difficult climbs. One being the Lemon Squeezer. A narrow pathway between boulders. That was fun. But what they dont tell you is that after the lemon squeezer is a 6 foot shelf that you have to figure a way to climb up to about 30 yards after the squeezer. There was an "easy" way around it but the heck with that... I want stories!!! After about 7 minutes of negotiation and taunts from the Slug I made it over further solidifying my Trail Monkey name as I hung and swung like a true primate. Gear Slug grabbed a hold and realized it wasnt as easy as he thought it was but made it with brute strength.
On the way to fingerboard we got slammed with a mini thunderstorm so the packa got another test. Better this time with the moisture control. Made it to the shelter and scoped out some trees. My trees were too close together and I really tried to make it work for about 30 min but my tarp and hammock werent in the right positions. I then changed locations and it was much better. As soon as I put in the last stake in the tarp another stom crashed in HARD.
Using the rain to our advantage we collected the rain water in our bladders from the dripps comming from the roof. Another section hiker Ryan came in as the storm hit as well. He was really cool and he was on his way south to the Delaware Water Gap. He told us that at Arden Road we can get Ice Cream at the Tiorati Circle in a vending machine.... that was enough to make arrangements to go 1 mile out of our way for the next day.
About 7 Through Hikers came in from Georgia and camped.... one group was called the Mouse Holes... nice bunch.
Had my first encounter with a grumpy long distance section hiker. He asked where we were headed and I told him Bear Mountain Inn... he said so you have about 1 day left on the trail... No 3 more days as we are taking our time on a leisure hike.... he didnt like that answer and kinda blew us off the rest of the night. This was confirmed by Ryan as he said to me... "Boy he really didnt like that answer you gave him about your hike."
Going back to the storm both my MacCat Deluxe SpinnUL and the Hennessey Hex Gear Slug had weathered that nasty thunderstorm with flying colors!
6/2/10 - Day 4 (86*) total 7.2 miles:
We got a late start at about 10:30am to Arden Road. Got to Tiorati Circle and met 2 through hikers who were at the Fingerboard Shelter the night before... they said the machines were down... Screw that I'm talking to someone I just went 1 mile out of my way for ice cream.
Talked to someone in the building adjacent to the machines and they said the power went out in the area and wasnt sure when it would be up. Gear Slug said he wanted to stay a bit and use the bathroom... as soon as he took 4 steps away the machines and the power kicked back on... AWESOME... so I dump a $20 bill in the coke machine and get $18 in dollar coins back... too much weight to carry so we split it up and ended up using $19 on soda and ice cream. Yeah I know and I dont care... Wanna fight about it? Didnt think so
The terrain from Arden Road to William Brien Shelter was easy to moderate so we cranked out miles to the shelter rather quickly. We STANK... It was hot. The Silver Mine Lake was down the yellow trail about 1.5 miles. It was a steep decent but we managed to find some rocks off the shore with a make shift bridge made out of logs. Perfect for bathing and drying some clothes. Guess who fell in the lake... yeah I have a problem... Gear Slug suggested my trail name be changed to Water Monkey... I might have to get a new flag LOL
We made it back up and set camp around 6pm. Around 8pm Gear Slug said a girl came by herself and asked where good water was. He sent her down the yellow trail to a brook before the lake which had fairly clear water.
She came back up and then came by me to ask me about my hammock set up as she also was a hammock camper. We got to talking and I asked her name. She said Sara but her trail name was... I interupted and said...are you Snow White... Yes... No way I said I'm on Hammock Forums and I've been following your thread on your hike.
I invited her to our camp fire (which Gear Slug made all on his own... growing up so fast!!) if she wanted to. She agreed and set up her camp and changed her clothes before she came over. We got to talking about her journey. She said she was pushing up to about 20 mile days before she had to get off the trail on 6/23 for her sister's wedding. She really liked the Smokeys and didnt really care for Pennsylvania as there was a lot of ankle twisters and she took a couple of nasty spills during the rain. I told her what type of terrain lied ahead for her up to Bear Mountain Inn as I hiked it before. She mentioned NY was slowing her down due to the inclines and declines it has. I told her it starts to even out better after Bear Mountain Bridge.
She said she lost Rooster in NJ when she went for a re-supply. Asked if I had seen him and I had not. She thinks he was well ahead of her and she has been hiking alone for 3 days. I told her I would keep a look out on the rest of my trek.
I didnt get any pics or videos because she had a long day and I felt like a goon asking anyway.
6/3/10 - Day 5 (87*) total 3.1 miles:
We woke up to a really foggy morning. Snow White took off early and we never heard her leave.
830am I went for a tick check as I found 2 on me at Silver Mine Lake the day before and came back to through hiker and his friend passing through. He was wearing an Aarn pack and I knew it was Rooster. Told him that Snow White left about 2 hours ago and hopefully he can catch her today as she said she was looking for him. He said that he believed she thinks he's ahead but he's behind because he got invited to a pool party in NJ and couldnt pass that up. His buddy Mouse came by right behind him and I told Mouse that I crossed paths with Snow White. They took off I hope they caught up to her.
We headed for West Mountain Shelter and made it up that nast mountain they call West Mountain. You dont really hike West Mountain... It hikes you and spits in your face the whole way as it talks bad things about your mom.
Weather forecast called for severe thunderstorms... nothing came. I lounged the whole day as my feet had really bad athletes foot from the storm on Tuesday (6/1). My feet were killing me the whole day.
Another through hiker from Georgia met us up at West Mountain called Just Jon. Really nice guy who was loving the views from West Mountain. But wished there was a water source.
Around 9pm we heard a chirping in the distance.... the shelter log book stated that a bird comes in after dark and starts trouble.... I didn't believe it but sure enough the sound came closer, and closer, and closer, and BAM this little devil came right next to the shelter and started some rukus. I chased him away but he stayed close and kept us up most of the night. Gear Slug was about to go hunting for that little devil.
6/4/10 - Day 6 (88*) total 6.3 miles:
We got up around 630 am Just Jon was long gone in search for water. We packed up, cursed that bird more than once and made our way down to Bear Mountain Inn.
Wasn't paying attention and veered off of the AT and on the Blue Trail for about 1/2 mile. We re-traced our steps and made it back to the white blazes.
When we made our way down Bear Mountain they totally changed the path. The whole path is going longer down the mountain in a zig zag fashion with a wooden bridge and a TON of man made steps. I didnt like it as it forces all the weight on the ball of your foot when you walk down the steps for about a mile. Made my feet hurt. Met up with a few volunteers at the bottom. One guy was really nice who we talked to almost exclusively with wicker tatoos on his arms. He asked how we liked the new trail. I gave my honest opinion and one of the guys took offense that I didnt like it... neither did Gear Slug. He said but they are just stairs... well it forces all the weight on the balls of your feet on the decent where a natural trail allows you to use different parts of your feet to deal with different angles on the decent as well as side stepping to help with breaking your speed. hey dont ask if you cant take a negative response.
They changed it to be more easier for the high traffice in that area and to keep the kids more on the beaten path and to discourage going off trail to create further errosion of the trail. I understand why they did it.... doesnt mean I like it though.
Well thats my adventure. Video will follow.... I'm thinking around Sunday afternoon I should have that for you.
Raul aka Trail Monkey