Beat up

Saturday, June 3rd
Harriman State Park / Stealth (1385)

Up and the first one out at 6:15

This turns out to be one of the toughest days on Trail to date. Sunny day mostly and moderately warm, which is good. Challenge is repeatedly running into rock walls of all shapes and complexity. Normally trail on incline is varying levels of "up"; here the "up" can be quite literal. Grabbing rock holds or balancing on a rock looking down trying to figure out how to move off "this" rock to get to "that". With varying breaks in between, pretty much all day long. 

Yes, pretty much straight up.

Rock jumble

Rock wall

Crossing top of this, note drop off
Which goes down here.

Water sources were not great, but luckily many random trail angels left gallons of water tucked just inside the woods at road crossings. In one case complete with folding chairs, a table, and a cooler containing small bottles of sports drinks. And a trash bag, hosanna!

Random water left by trail angel. Lifesaver.
Has ice cold sports drinks. Note trash bag, which lets hikers get rid of trash they've been carrying (hike it in, hike it out)

See Traffic Director at one peak; he had taken a Nearo on Friday. Says he is going to the shelter with bear problems. Kind of wonder why, as I'm going to try to find a place to stealth camp a few miles before it. 

A frustrating part of today is missing white blazes, or the white rectangles painted on to trees, posts, rocks and other stationary things that tell you you are on the Trail. Multiple times have come to a spot in the trail where they suddenly - stop. Facing a towering rock wall and can not find the blaze. Walk back to make sure Trail was going here, then peer up rocks to try and find possible paths. Then see a faded white blaze half way up rocks. 

Lunch at shelter. Note handy "N/S" sign for hikers. Be surprised how easy it is to forget, or get turned around.
Around 5 PM begin to search for possible camping sites, but trail and surrounding area is rocky and uneven. Don't want to start a new site, trying to reuse one if possible. No luck, continue down rock wall toward the sound of cars. 

Get to the bottom, more water jugs, fill up and dismiss a possible site for being too close to the road. Go out the road and it's the exit for NY's Harriman State Park, with cars backed up trying to leave. 

Harriman State Park
After several mystery minutes trying to find the next white blaze, see its the road people are leaving from. Start walking up a long gradual rise, well marked now, and cross over a busy Interstate 87. Realize people are looking at me from their slowly descending vehicles. What do they think? A well provisioned homeless person? A Mountain man off hunting? One women and her three kids are all looking at me with a mixture of fear, unease and curiosity. Trail finally goes off the road and I bound up the embankment to show I'm a reasonably fit homeless Mountain man. 

I am tired, like really tired. I've been on trail for nearly 12 hours and need to find a campsite. Find another possible site, but it's close to a road and signs say you can only camp in authorized spots. Decide to hike up another mile and try there. Do find a spot, unpack and set up quickly. 

Fearing an accidental fire, eat cold food out of my bag. It's an incomplete meal but I've had enough for one day. Put up bag against bears or raccoons, and fall asleep to the sound of the busy interstate below.


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