Days 133 + 134
Day 133: Mile 1361.0 | Meadowlark Farm B + B @ Warwick, NY
Miles woke me up early. 5am early. We packed quickly in the mosquito infested forest and worked our way up the climb. The views from the top of the 'Stairway to Heaven' were amazing and hazy.
I had recently received a sizable donation with a note accompanying it requesting: 'Treat Yo' Self. You deserve it!' So I made a reservation a couple of days ago at a hiker friendly B + B in the next town. After our climb we set out to do the last ten miles into Warwick, NY. After five miles we sat down by a road. It was hot. Really hot. There were no water sources and we were almost out of water. Neither of us wanted to keep hiking, but we didn't want to miss out on the B + B. My sunburn stung and sweat kept dripping into my contact clad eyes. The road we were standing on lead to Warwick, along with three other roads on the map over the next ten miles. It was 7:30am, but we decided to try to hitch into town anyway.
I stood by the road with my thumb out and started hitching. About four cars passed in a ten minute span and none of them stopped. Finally, after only fifteen minutes of hitching, a man named Joe stopped in his mini van as he passed us and backed up down the rural, unlined road to where we were standing. "Where do you need to go?" He asked us. I told him we were trying to get to the grocery store (it was too early to check into the B + B so we figured we'd get our resupply done first). He told us to hop in.
While he drove us to town he made small talk with us. Asking about college, hiking, our futures, etc. When I told him I majored in political science and used to work on campaigns he asked me who I had worked for. I saw the giant Trump sticker on his bumper. I tried to avoid politics on trail. I told him I had worked for Hillary (perhaps not my best move) and he slammed on his breaks in the middle of the deserted road and said, "Get out." I sat there frozen for a second. I had expected him to be annoyed by my answer but not so much as to stop short in the middle of the road. I reached for the door handle and he started laughing as he gunned it forward toward town. "I'm just messin' with ya!" He yelled, laughing. "I don't like your politics and you probably don't like mine but that don't mean we can't be friends!" He continued, laughing still. I let out a sigh of relief and he quickly changed the subject to his adventurous escapades of his twenties.
Joe brought us to the Price Chopper in town, where he was headed anyway, and led us inside. It was the nicest grocery store we'd seen in a while with a great selection. When we finished with our resupply we sprawled our groceries out on some patio furniture the store had for sale outside. One of the managers came over and I thought he was going to ask us to leave but he was actually very nice and commended us on our hike. While we were unpackaging our food and loading it into our packs, a local fire fighter came over and asked if we needed a ride anywhere. By now it was about 8:30am. We asked him if he could bring us somewhere that we could get coffee. He agreed and after he bought his groceries he put our packs in his truck and drove us into downtown Warwick to a little place called Caffe A La Mode:
I got Challah bread French Toast with real maple syrup (the first time I'd found maple syrup at a restaurant and the first Jewish heritage food I'd found anywhere since I'd left home). It was so delicious. Miles and I sat and ate there for a while and used their wifi. The heat was already excessive and it was only 9:30am. The woman who owned the B + B offered to pick us up in town at the park, so we went over there to wait for her. Miles found a tick on him. After he removed it he took a nap in the park:
The innkeeper picked us up in her small SUV and brought us to her B + B in a more rural neighborhood. The yellow bedroom she set us up in had an air conditioner, thankfully, and was right across from the bathroom. The room and bathroom were beautiful and clean. She left us to shower and offered to do our laundry.
Miles and I showered and soaked our feet with the empsom salts she left for us. Then we laid on the perfectly made bed in the cool air conditioned room. It was the most comfortable I'd felt in days. Both of us fell asleep for a few solid hours. When we woke up we were very hungry. I went downstairs and gathered our laundry from the clothesline that the inn keeper had washed and hung for us. I ordered a Lyft (they had them here!) to take us the four miles into the next town (which was closer than Warwick...) where we found a Tex-Mex restaurant. Dinner was so satisfying and a Lyft took us back to the B + B, too.
We went to bed early in our air conditioned room, happily full.
Day 134: Mile 1361.0 | Brian's House @ Warwick, NY
The Innkeeper stomped around loudly in the morning. She had asked us what time we wanted breakfast the night before, but we told her we had simply planned on sleeping in and weren't going to set an alarm. She wasn't super happy about that, I suppose. We were up and packed by 8am and breakfast was over by 9am. The Innkeeper drove us back to the town center. It was far too hot to be hiking, so we had planned on hitching back to the trail in the early afternoon.
We headed to the only place we knew, Caffe A La Mode, and had a coffee. They didn't have air conditioning and our legs were sticking to our chairs with sweat. As we were leaving a guy our age saw our backpacks and asked if we were hiking the trail. He told us about the school bus he had bought that he was working on converting into his home! He gave us his number and offered to take us back to the trail in the afternoon. The locals in this town were so nice! We headed toward Dunkin' Donuts and their free wifi accompanied by air conditioning. I sat and blogged for a while and sipped an iced coffee. Miles played chess, as usual.
Eventually, we got hungry. The day before when we were in the park I had seen a restaurant called Conscious Fork that looked good. We went there and had some delicious vegetarian lunches and, of course, used their free wifi to blog some more.
By now it was 3pm. It was still hot. Bryan said he could pick us up around 4pm. Miles needed new sunglasses so we stopped at a local pharmacy to pick up a new pair:
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We stopped by the post office as well to pick up some trekking poles my friend Davey had sent to help me out (thanks Davey!). I had been sharing a tent with miles for a few days after the locks on my poles stopped working. Since I had a tent that was held up by trekking poles I had a hard time setting it up. I also had a hard time walking with them.
Bryan texted us while we were there and offered to let us stay with him for the night! We decided to take him up on the offer and just as we were about to text him back, he pulled into the parking lot in his Dad's Jeep! He told us he'd just finished helping out a neighbor and he could take us with him now if we wanted!
We agreed and we all went to the local creamery to get some ice cream. We sat and talked about life (Bryan used to work in Silicon Valley and quit his tech job), music, and his goals for the future with his school bus. He took us back to his mom's apartment (she had an amazing air conditioner) and we got settled in. Miles and Bryan played a couple games of chess. Bryan told us about how he used to play a lot of chess, he even studied! He played us some music on his guitar for a bit.
My sister was on her way home from Georgia by car and offered to detour to Warwick to come say hi. She wasn't going to get there until midnight but we decided to make it happen. Bryan, Miles, and I stayed up waiting for her. We rarely stayed up past 9 or 10pm so it was a struggle. She arrived right on time and we all went out to greet her and her boyfriend. We sat out in the parking lot of the apartment building talking for a while. She complimented the amount of weight I'd lost. She asked me about my future. I had no idea how to answer her. I didn't know yet what I really wanted my future to be.
I liked writing, I knew. I'm good at planning and research. I like listening to NPR and podcasts. I like news. I thought about trying to get some sort of public radio job. But I knew that wouldn't sustain me to the degree at which I might need with all of the debt I'm in. I considered going back to some sort of political gig, but I just couldn't see myself being happy doing that anymore. I told her I really didn't know. I knew I had to go back to Starbucks for the health insurance for at least a little while. And that was all I knew.
She left about an hour later and hit the road back to Maine. She still had five hours to go. I went back into the apartment and went to bed.