Days 140 + 141
Day 140: Mile 1423.1 | Parakeet's House
We woke up early to go meet my parents at a road crossing near Canopus Lake. The inside of the tent was soaked with condensation. Camping on a grassy field in humid weather was cause for horrible condensation gathering. We tried to shake out the tent as best we could but we had to get moving. I was excited to see my parents! We left camp by 6am to meet my parents 9 miles away at 11am. It seemed like enough time to me. Both of us were tired and we hiked slowly. My mom called me around 10:45 to tell me they had arrived at NY 301, the road I was meeting them at. I was still two miles away! I got a move on and left Miles behind. I told him to take his time catching up and I would wait at the road with my parents so that they wouldn't just be sitting and waiting.
When I arrived they weren't there! I'd walked 4mph for two miles! Turns out they were parked down the street. Thankfully, they didn't make me walk to them, they drove to me. When they pulled up and got out, my Mom immediately remarked on how awful I smelled. It had been 7 days since my last shower and, in the summer heat, it was very apparent to the naked nose.
We stood by outside the car and chatted while we waited for Miles. I filtered some water while we talked. The heat was really getting to me. When Miles got to the road we packed our stuff into my parents' station wagon and headed toward Pawling, the closest trail town. On our way into town, I texted Parakeet (the hiker we met on Bear Mountain a couple of days before) to see if the offer to stay at her place that night still stood. She replied yes and we planned to stay with her that night. We had originally wanted to get into town and continue down trail the same day, but we were exhausted and the heat was brutal. We also realized that by the time our chores in town were done it would be a late return to the trail.
Mom and Dad took us to Native Landscapes, a landscaping business located right on trail that offers showers and mail drops, first. Miles and I got showers and picked up some packages from his Mom: my new sleeping bag and some food for Miles. While Miles was showering I ran into Snow Angel outside! We hadn't seen her since High Point State Park. She was getting off trail today to go into New York City and explore. We offered to take her into town to the laundromat.
Once showers, packages, and the laundromat were finished Mom, Dad, Miles, and I went to a great Barbeque place. We got way too much food. We had hiker hunger but this pile of meet and veggies was huge! We ended up packing some of it out!
After dinner, Miles did the laundry at the laundromat while Mom, Dad, and I went to the grocery store to pick up our resupply. The grocery store in town was Hannaford! The same as our local grocery store. It was the first time I'd seen a grocery store chain that exists at home. It felt good to be in the North. Ever since Warwick I had started feeling more at home on trail.
Mom, Dad, and I brought the groceries back to the laundromat where Miles and I took off all of the packaging and packed it all into our bags. While the laundry finished, we went and got coffee and milkshakes up the street at a cafe. We packed up our packs after and got back into the station wagon. Mom and Dad drove us to Parakeet's house in the next town. I said goodbye to them. I was sad to see them go. The visit felt so short and I still felt pangs of homesickness just about every day.
They had noticed my improvements though. Marked changes they said. It felt good to see my parents notice change in me. I was happy to see them and I just wanted to go home with them but I knew I just had to keep going on trail. My parents got in the car and left to drive the five hours back home. I was so thankful for them. They'd been helping me fund part of my thru-hike, they drove all the way out here in one day to spend four hours with me, they mailed me things when I needed them (shoes, food, gear, etc.), they even sent me little motivational cards along the way.
I really have great parents and it saddens me a little bit to realize that I took them for granted all this time. I always loved them, but until my life on trail I don't think I truly appreciated all that they did for me, all that it took to get me this far in life, and how much they really cared about me. Better late than never, I hope.
I resolved to be a better kid and housemate when I get home. I knew I was going to be living with them when I got back and I decided to commit myself to doing more chores, being more polite and grateful, helping them any way that I had time to.
We hung out with Parakeet and her Dad at their house for the evening. Miles set up his tent in the yard and Parakeet let me sleep in her sister's room in the house. We talked about how her and my sister went to JWU. It's a small world! Later we chatted about trail life and how much she said she missed it. She had started thru-hiking in 2016 but had to get off trail before she could complete her thru-hike due to some circumstances that she needed to be home for. We related to a lot of things on trail and we talked about post-trail depression.
We went to bed late after I finished a blog post. I slept soundly in a real bed for the night.
Day 141: Mile 1425.1 | Canopus Lake Beach
In the morning we got up late. Parakeet made us coffee and we ate some bagels from Big Dave's Bagels that my parents had brought us from home. I had so much food that I had to strap the bag of bagels to the outside of my pack! It was heavy. We asked Parakeet how she had dealt with the bugs on trail and she offered us some Cedarwood Oil. She said the pure Cedarwood Oil kept mosquitoes and ticks at bay but she had yet to find something that worked on gnats. We gratefully took the remedy in an aluminum spray bottle back to trail with us. She dropped us off around noon and we promised to keep in touch.
Back on trail we began walking around Canopus Lake. It was hot, I was tired, and my food bag was very full. There was no water nearby on trail except for the steep downhill to the lake. We saw a sign that stated that the campsite we were aiming for no longer had water because of a drought and that we would need to get water at Canopus Lake Beach's park.
We took the quarter mile blue blaze down to the beach. It was weird to be at the beach in all of our hiking clothes! We went and got water, which we had to get specially in the snack stand because their tap water had high levels of sodium. We sat on the beach, waiting out the height of the sun, and ate some of our abundance of food. We treated ourselves to some special freeze dried ice cream that Miles' mom had sent us (thank you!):
Miles and I decided to take a quick swim. Neither of us liked swimming much, nor were we very good at it, but we thought it would be a good way to finally cool off. We went for a short dip. The locals around us were noisy and rambunctious. It was difficult to stay in the water for long because the teenagers around us ran into us so many times.
After our swim, we sat in Miles' foam Therm-A-Rest on the beach and dried ourselves out in the sun. Later, I lay under a tree at the edge of the beach near a picnic table napping. The wind blew a few times and I didn't think anything of it. All of a sudden, I heard a loud crashing noise. I looked up and saw a branch falling through the branches of the trees around it. Straight for my legs.
I immediately leapt up from where I was laying and tried to run away from the falling branch. I tripped and hit my knee in the process but made it safely away from the branch when it fell. Just inches from where I was laying, the branch landed with a loud thud. Tears welled in my eyes immediately, a natural fear reaction. My knee throbbed from the impact on the nearby rock. Miles and I sat and stared at each other in shock. I never thought to check for widow makers while just taking a nap on a beach!
I sat and nursed my knee for a few minutes. The pain shot through my leg for a good bit. By now it was 3pm. I really didn't want to hike anymore. Was it the pain in my knee, the heat, homesickness? I don't know. I just lost all motivation after that. I went and filled both my water bottles back up, thinking we were leaving. When I came back Miles suggested we didn't have to leave. Maybe we could just camp here and get up early. We decided to do that and we went and found the path to the tenting area. A big field, another dewy night was ahead of us.
We set up next to each other and went to bed early, hoping to wake up early as well.