Days 142 + 143
Day 142: Mile 1441.9 | Stealth Camp
This day was a particularly good day. We woke up a little bit later than we had planned, but it was nice to get to hang out at camp in the morning for a bit. We packed slowly and eventually found the blue blaze back to the AT. The trail was pretty easy this day and we quickly found a good pace that we kept for a while. Unfortunately, on this day there were no water sources that weren't dry so we had to get creative. We did find one water cache which was helpful, but it wasn't enough. Up ahead on Guthook, I saw a random deli listed half a mile up the road a road crossing coming up. We decided to give it a try. It was so hot out that any reprieve would be nice. At the road, we found the last can of trail magic from a fellow thruhiker!
We arrived at that deli drenched in sweat and ready for a nap. I got a sandwich inside and I bought a couple liters of bottled water. This sandwich was one of the best sandwiches I'd ever had! Maybe it was because I was hungry and we'd walked there but it was incredible! The water was EXTRA refreshing on this day. I drank a whole cold liter right there. It was the best feeling to finally sit and cool down.
I took a nap at the picnic table behind the deli. The full stomach, probable dehydration, and the hot humid weather made me ready for a good long nap. I slept for about half an hour before Miles woke me up. We got moving shortly after that. Walking up the road past a concrete factory and back to the trail.
It was a beautiful day, despite heat. The trail was easy this day, too. We found a stealth camp not too far from the deli and pitched our tents. At camp we had service. Miles' shoes were falling apart after more than 500 miles so we ordered him a new pair on Amazon to be delivered in Kent, CT, our next town stop. It was insane to me that we could just order supplies and gear we needed from the woods! Earl Shaffer certainly didn't have that luxury!
I also ordered myself a new pair of poles. The ones my friend had sent me in Warwick, NY had really helped me out so far, but they weren't holding up so well to thru-hiking. The joints kept squeaking and getting jammed. The twist locks got stopped up with dirt. I ordered the same poles as Miles had. They were nice and durable, had metal locks, and had stood up to over a thousand miles of hiking for him already. (My new poles were completely funded by donations and I want to thank each and every one of you, my readers, for helping me out here. Seriously, y'all are life savers.)
Day 143: Mile 1455.7 | Wiley Shelter
As we walked toward and finally passed through Pawling, NY (the town my parents drove us into when they came down), Miles and I eventually decided to walk separately for a bit. There weren't many water sources through this hot stretch but some locals left amazing water caches for us. Trail lead us through some fields, past two gigantic oak trees, and across a few roads.
A lot of times when I walk alone I tend to put on a podcast to listen to but this day I finally just walked with my thoughts. No noise. I didn't look at my social media. I solved a lot of little puzzles in my head. Things I wanted to do when I got home. Things I wanted to change about myself. Ways to word things I'd been wanting to say but wasn't sure how. Walking literally gets your creative juices going. My problem solving improved by leaps and bounds when I walked and thought. Sometimes some nice jazz or a concerto can help stimulate the process as well. It felt good to just walk in the sun and think.
I kept walking, closer and closer to the Connecticut border! I was getting so close to New England, my home!
I stopped on a board walk over a swamp for lunch, hoping Miles would eventually catch up to me. It was beautiful but extremely hot and buggy. I had service so I looked up the weather just to see if it was truly hot or if it was just humid. I was not surprised to see that it was both hot and humid: 91 degrees with 85% humidity. My body was covered in its usual slick coating of sweat. I had to keep a bug net over my head all day to keep the gnats out of my eyes. While I ate my bagels from Big Dave's Bagels out on the boardwalk I got two blog posts done.
I had a lot of energy, probably because I'd been drinking caffeine all day. I was so productive. It felt good. I banged out my last few miles quickly. I only did 13 miles this day, but in the heat it felt like enough. I stopped hiking around 4pm and set up camp at a shelter. Miles met me there at the end of the day and we shared dinner. He had resolved his issues during the day. Sometimes, we realized, being around each other 24/7 can be a lot. Along time is really important. I made my dinner with pre-purified water from a water cache with brand new unopened spring water. Not having to spend 30 minutes filtering water was such a luxury.