Crossed the state line into New York State today. I had heard about a really nice ice creamery at route 17 just off the trail. As I was heading along the road, a divvy van pulled up and a hiker got out. I asked him what he had been up too. He said he had been hitch hiking, (which is illegal in New York State) and a cop and gone past. He had tried to hide the fact but the cop turned around and came back. He was shitting himself until the cop asked him where he was going and if he wanted a ride.
Got to the creamery and who should be there but Maxie who had stayed the night in Warwick. After making a glutton of myself with 2 big ice creams I wandered down the track after Maxie. It was tempting to stay at Fitzgerald falls but Maxie wasn’t there only the people who had chased the bear after Stair Way to heaven.
I was just about to give up on seeing Maxie when I stumbled across him. He was as surprised to see me as I him as we had got confused and made a very tentative arrangement to meet at the fire tower on Mt Mombasha but when we got to the turnoff it was too far out of our way. Maxie also thought I would have stopped sooner as it looked like a storm was coming in.
I woke up the next morning and realised that I had made a mistake camping on the opposite side of the stream from the track as the stream was now a force to be reckoned with. “Oh well I’ll face that problem when i get to it.”
By the time I had packed up the stream had gone down and was cross-able.
I had a lovely walk across a boardwalk with trail magic at the end.
I then climbed “Stair Way to Heaven. It wasn’t as bad as I thought but still steep. I passed a girl going downhill who said she though shed heard a bear. I acknowledged her warning then promptly forgot about it. At the top I decided to walk out to the lookout. I took my pack off, took a chocolate bar out, put the wrapper in the top of the pack and left it open in the vain hope that it would dry out a little. I was only gone for 5 minutes but when I returned to the pack there was a bear with his snout in my pack. I yelled at it and it took ff with the chocolate wrapper, dropping it a couple of meters from the pack. I didn’t want to be accused of littering so I went to pick up the wrapper only to have the bear charge at me. I picked up a stick and threw it at the bear, who hissed and went and hid behind a rock. I had to climb a small rise and on looking down saw a party behind me. I yelled down that there was a bear around. They promptly went looking for it and on finding it took some pictures, then started screaming at it. I was pissed off that they couldn’t leave the poor thing alone.
I arrived at Wawayanda Shelter, only to find there was a walk to get water and I would be camping with the party who had courted trouble with the bear. A Southbound walker said there was a water drop at the next road crossing so I kept going.
I camped in peace at a campsite just further along from the road crossing and water drop.
It rained overnight but stopped before I got up. Unfortunately I had decided to camp on leaf litter and the rain had brought the slugs out hiding beneath the leaves. Everything was covered in slugs and they had left a nasty yellow stain on all my gear.
Eventually slug free I headed off to Unionville. I had lunch with Duo at the pub and set a good pace until I met up with Pretzel and her friend Tuffy at some trail magic. Duo eventually wandered along saying that he had tried to catch me up and was surprised that I could actually set a pace when I wanted to. I said “I smelt the last of the beer.”
The flat ended after a large swamp with a number of bird watchers out for the day. Most of the group that had formed around the trail magic stopped at Pochuck Mountain shelter. I carried on until it started to rain. I crossed a stream to a nice leaf litter free campsite.
Left Pretzel still sleeping, (she wasn’t known for getting up early), Had morning tea and took pictures at Sunrise Mountain.
Lunched at Mashipacong Shelter and lunched and gossiped again with Fish.
I made to High Point State Park just before the office closed. I was too late for the trail magic that had stopped by but in time for the free soda from the park staff.
Next it was off to High Point but I didn’t go up to the tower seeing it as a pointless exercise as I had great views from the track.
The High Point Shelter was noisy an the camping area not so great so I decided to carry on getting as far as Courtwright Road. I had heard on the track that Maxie had made a run for Unionville and decided that was too far for me.I found a campsite away from the road and settled down before the rain that had been threatening all day arrived. I had heard on the track
Learnt yesterday that I have 30 more miles of this rocky shit to walk on before it finally runs out at High Point.
Left Maxie still packing up. I thought I was slow at this but I can always beat Maxie. Stopped at Brink Road Shelter for lunch, a gossip with Fish and for some much needed water. While I was at the shelter Maxie must have past me as the shelter was off the main track. Coming into Culvers Gap I headed off in the wrong direction. A mile down the road I finally realised my mistake. I was unimpressed.
Headed the other way, found where the track was and left it to go to the pub for a meal, where I found our mate from Mohican outdoor centre. He had got lost, ran out of money and decided to tag along with me. I missed Maxie by seconds. He walked out of a building as I had just past and off down the track.
Set off with my shadow but decided he was a liability I didn’t want to look after. I had not come on the track to look after someone so I suddenly found an extra gear to get up the hill with.
Stopped at the camping area at Gren Anderson shelter. There was a summer camp group running amok at the shelter and must have scared Maxie off because we had agreed to meet there at the end of the day. Went down to the shelter and managed to talk to the kids and return some order to their camp. The supervisors there were not much older than the kids and had no control.
Pretzel ambled along shortly after dark and i had to persuade her from going down to the shelter as I thought she would wake the kids up and the chaos would return. Luckily she got the picture and we sat down for a good old gossip and how to save the world.
Found Fiiti and Maxie still at Mohican Outdoor Centre when I got there at 11am as Maxie had lost his wallet and they had spent some considerable time looking for it. He eventually found it where he had put it for safe keeping.
They told me about a hiker that had stayed the night and was just starting a section of the trail. He had a very heavy pack so Valk, (whom I had seen off and on since North Carolina), fiiti and Maxie had done a shake down of it, finding an enormous amount of freeze dried meals, an equal number of white socks and heavy clothing. There was nothing useful not even a map so Valk photocopied some of his guide book for him. Most of the socks and heavy clothing went into the hikers box. There was something not quite right about the guy.
Fiiti took off to make some miles up. while Maxie and i sat in the sun enjoying a late morning tea. While we were sitting there some random lady drove up, then walked up to us with 3 paper bags. She gave Maxie and I one each and put one in the hikers box. In my paper bag was some nice cheese crackers, blueberries and a beer. In Maxie’s was some prosciutto rock-melon and a beer. We decided to walk a bit further to a fire lookout and share the contents for lunch. There weird friend was at the lookout but thankfully a group of school children and 2 fire officers were keeping him entertained. I waited and waited for Maxie and finally hunger got the better of me. Finally Maxie showed up, he had decided the rock-melon wasn’t going to travel so had had lunch at the outdoor centre.
I caught up with Maxies weird friend who was busy eyeing off a rattle snake. He warned me of it and seemed to know all about them so I thought he might not be clueless. I walked with him for a little while but the conversation made me decide my first diagnosis was right . I let him get ahead of me.
Maxie and I came together just before Blue Lakes Road. As it was getting late we decide we would camp at the first suitable spot we came too, This had no water so after much discussion we proceeded to the spring on Blue Lakes Road and camped just up from the road.
Part 2 of the snake saga began when the boys were trying to get the girl that was walking with them out of her sleeping bag. I said to the boys I would get her out as along as there was no retribution to any animal involved. I then told the girl to look up. To her credit she didn’t seem too phased to see a big snake sleeping above her but she moved pretty quickly out of her bag.
It was a nice day and we were all pretty keen to get to Delaware gap. On the way down to the gap Fiiti and I made a wrong turning as Fiiti was busy talking my ear off. I couldn’t work out why it wasn’t as steep going as the map said it was and why there wasn’t a lookout when the map said there should have been. When we came to an intersection and I was able to see where we were I had a hard job convincing Fiiti that we had taken a wrong turn and to go down the hill instead of up it. Maxie and I thought the whole episode Hilarious as Fiiti was OCD about passing every white blaze and she’d missed a few because she was too busy talking.
In Delaware Gap we had a meal at the pub, resupplied and headed off again. Fiiti was on a mission as she was going to meet her husband in a week at Bear Mountain Both Maxi and Fiiti wanted to get to Mohican outdoor centre. Maxi made just on dark but Fiiti didn’t get in until well into the night. Me well I only made it to the North end of Sunfish pond because there was no camping with water before then