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It happened again…
"zalek" wrote in message
Once in a while I am getting sick of TV, the Internet, Manhattan
restaurants, my bedroom with an air conditioner and I develop a
strange craving for mosquitoes bites, sweating while climbing hills,
chances to break legs, chances to catch lime disease and getting
mauled by a bear. So it happened. Despite my wife begging me to stay
at work, working a few extra hours, despite my kids hidden
satisfaction that for a few days they could use my car, despite the
forecast for rain – a man has to do what a man has to do – I left for
the Appalachian Trail.
I planned to take a Harlem Line train from Manhattan to Wingdale,
through Pawling Nature Reserve to reach the Appalachian train.
Everything went as planned, but I found that a poncho raincoat is not
ideal for a rain day – using some kind of plastic raincoat would be
much better. The reason – putting a backpack on a poncho leaves your
arms exposed to the rain. And because of the rain I decided to sleep
in a shelter and not in my tent. Walking in the rain was not too bad,
but when I got into wind-exposed areas I really felt cold. During my
walk I found only one hiker – a real through hiker who for some
unknown reasons decided to walk in the rain. I reached Ten Mile River
Lean-to shelter at about 3 PM, but because of the rain I decided to
stay – a very good choice because the next leg of the trip was
veeeeeeeery difficult (at least for me).
My next leg was to reach Mt. Algo Lean-to shelter. After a few
agonizing hours I reached it. I found in the shelter a couple of real
through hikers – Andrea and John. They looked like a quite normal
couple, but considering that my wife thinks I am abnormal for choosing
to spend 2 nights on the Appalachian Trail instead of some luxurious
hotel – she would think they should be hospitalized for staying on a
trail for about 3 months.
Usually on my trips I take ready prepared granola with milk packages –
this time I took regular granola with nuts and powdered milk. Mix the
two things, it tastes great and is much cheaper than ready made
packages. Another discovery – usually I prefer chicken dishes – this
time I tried beef stew – EXCELLENT!
Mt. Algo Lean-to shelter was my last leg – after that I headed strait
to the closest town – Kent. A very nice small town, with few
bookstores, galleries and nice looking small restaurants – I didn’t
check any of them – after sweating for 3 days without showering and
without changing clothes – I suspected they could arrest me for
deteriorating the quality of the towns air.
My plan was to look for a bus or a cab to go to a train – but they did
not have either in the town. My backup plan was to call my son to
drive from NYC to pick me up. I called home, my wife told me he came
back very late from a party and was still sleeping. Even thought my
teenage son is very ungrateful, never invites me to his parties, never
introduces me to his numerous girlfriends, I felt mercy for him, and
started asking in stores if someone will take me to the train for a
fee. Nobody was ready – I almost gave up when I found a couple near
an auto repair store. I asked them if they knew someone who would
take me and the woman hesitantly said she could. I asked how much it
would cost – she said $20. I was so happy that I didn’t have to wake
up my son - I offered her $40 (yes, I know it is hard to believe that
a Jew can make such an offer, but I swear on my bank account that it
I think the woman was as happy from the offer as I was that I found a
ride. Her husband didn’t trust me – for him probably I looked like a
serial killer looking for a victim. Yes – I am a killer – but a cereal
killer. Give me granola cereal with nuts – I will finish it in a
minute. So with the woman, her husband and their child, after a 15
minute ride to Wingdale train station I was on my way home.
Glad you had a "nice" experience. When I hiked that section there were no
lean-tos, no bridges over the streams, no body except you and the woods.
All in perspective I guess.
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