Thursday, July 7, 2011

Typical day

Here's an example of a typical day on the trail:

First I will start off with last night. This BBQ place in Fort Montgomery, NY was featuring a special called The Pig Out. Being the competitive person that I am, Porter challenged me to eat it and I couldn't give in. It was a half rack of ribs, half BBQ chicken, pulled pork, keilbasa, and some other unidentifiable pork. Plus cornbread and two sides- I chose Mac n cheese. Two hrs later I limped back to my hotel room clutching my stomach in defeat. I couldn't eat the keilbasa.

The next morning rolled around and I woke up feeling worse than I did the night before. I started to pack up to hit the trail, but decided a forced vomit was in need. After reliving the night before in a bad way, we were all packed up. I grabbed two yogurts while Pace tried unsuccessfully to call a cab. We ended up begging the manager to let a desk worker drive us two miles to where we got off the trail the day before. We offered her $20 but she refused. In our usual order: Pace, myself, and Porter, we started our hike across the Bear Mnt Bridge over the Hudson. We had to cross a crosswalk and waited a solid five minutes since NY traffic stops for no one. After an truck with New Hampshire plates finally let us cross, we began a steep uphill. I was still feeling weak and queasy, and Porter was nursing his own hangover. Pace was quiet with his own thoughts. I guess he was fantasizing about naked hikers. It was summer solstice, known in the hiking world as Naked Hiking Day. We were not naked. We finally peaked out and our climb ended so we chatted about hiking naked- the chaffing, sunburns, mosquito bites, and about which hikers we would hate to see naked.

Six miserable miles later, we came to a road with a gas station! We bought cold gatorades and I ate a pint of Ben n Jerry's milk and cookies. My tummy was feeling better. Pajamas, another thru hiker showed up. We were surprised to see him with clothes on, since we pegged him as most likely to hike naked.

Two overweight girls wearing jeans stepped out of their card and set out for a hike with their dog. Their packs were huge- complete with a cooler and chair strapped to the outside. Before they set off we warned them about naked hiking day. We caught up to them a few minutes later and Pace asks for a photo with me in the center because we are doing a study on packs. I tried unsuccessfully to contain my laughter.

After passing the girls and joking behind their backs, we saw a big black snake to the left of the trail. I vibrated the end of it's tail on some leaves to imitate the sound of a rattlesnake. I wondered where he would learn something like that- his mom, snake school, kiwanas for snakes, maybe his best friend was a rattler.

We kept moving. Little ups and little downs. I turn my phone on occasion to text and pass the time and share with Pace and Porter anything interesting I find out. We grab some granola bars out of the side of our packs and eat while hiking. Pace stops to pee so I go first, moving slowly in case there's a snake. Then I spot them. Coolers! And on top of a mountain?! Surely they are full of trash and ants like so many others. But no, this Trail Magic is stocked and we stop and all enjoy cold Gatorades.

A few minutes later a southbound section hiker passes us and warns us that her friend close behind doesn't have his hearing aids in. She also tells us that she's seen some partially naked hikers. We pass by her friend, and Pace starts mumbling things to see if he indeed cannot hear. I break into laughter for the second time in one day and have to stop hiking to compose myself.

We hike more, mostly in silence, pointing out a toad here or turkey there. Pace gets hungry so I hand him some snacks he had stored in the outer part of his pack. We cross a road and there is a pump house so we fill up our water bladders since it's nice to not filter it. I pee. It starts to rain, Pace puts his pack cover on but Porter and I have waterproof packs. We start hiking again.

We cross another road and spot a man. He's covered in white paint so we know he's been out repainting the blazes. He seems odd and comments on how in shape the women hikers are. We hike up to a view if a lake. A bit later we come to another view and two kids are playing guitars. On the way down, two other kids pass and I smell how clean they are. After they pass I tell Porter and Pace I'm going to check their cars for a soda and steal it. They didn't have any. I would have left them a couple bucks, don't worry. We hike on, under powerlines, and Pace hikes fast because he has a pacemaker. We finally get to a campsite with a water pump and set up our tents.

At the campsite are the first and only thru hikers we saw all day. I'm disappointed because they are not naked (not that I wanted to see these particular people naked, but did want to have some sort of special experience on this day). I find a summer sausage in my backpack while unpacking- Porter hid it there while I was in the bathroom throwing up my bucket of meat! That is the last thing I want to see! We all laugh, I cook cous cous with tuna over my camp stove, brush my teeth and go to bed. I look out the mesh part of my tent and see multiple fireflies floating around the yard. It reminds me of my grandparent's home and I drift to sleep thinking of Kentucky and our 28 mile day.

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