It rained steadily for most of the night. Once again, my tent (zpacks duplex) kept me dry even with a door open on either side. How does it do that?? Around 530, I grabbed the sleeve of my wool shirt laying near my head and covered my eyes in protest of the rainy morning. I woke up with a start 25 minutes later worrying that I had overslept my attempt at a reasonable start. It was difficult to get going this morning, but you can’t exactly hike from inside your tent, so I dragged ass out of my sleeping bag. I retrieved our food bags from a tree and stood in the drizzling rain by the makeshift fire pit eating a bobo bar with peanut butter while the gnats had their breakfast on my legs. Those little bastards are like the size of a pin head, but their bite hurts so much. My legs are dotted with dozens of little welts just from the 20 minutes I stood around eating. I could have gone into my tent, but I’m paranoid about making it smell like food.
After breakfast, I packed up my wet tent and put body glide on my feet (daily blister prevention protocol). Chainsaw emerged from his tent around 715 and we shared a friendly goodbye. I doubt I will catch up to him unless something goes wrong or he gets delayed. Then I set off to cover the 8ish miles to the Canopus Lake beach area in Fahnestock state park. My plan is to get there and take a taxi to the metro north station in Cold Spring.
The first hour was miserable because of bugs, the constant brushing against wet leaves, and the wisps of spider webs clingingto my sweaty face. That stringy tickling sensation might be my least favorite feeling ever. I finally yelled out “get off of meeee” to no one and doused myself in bug spray. It helped just enough to bring my blood pressure down and forget about the remaining bugs still pestering me.
It felt like I was walking in a tropical country because of the moisture around me. The trail was reasonably easy until the last 2 miles where it turned into an aggravating rocky up/down as it skirted the western edge of Canopus lake. I had been lulled into complacency by flat stretches like this:
The abrupt terrain change made me cranky. I lined up a taxi to pick me up at 1130. I called one company that I found online, but the guy said uhh yeah we aren’t anywhere near you. I felt tired and desperate, so I asked if he knew who I could call. His suggestion was 411, which felt useless at the time. I can’t remember the last time I’ve used 411, but it turned out to work well. I was connected to a cold spring cab company that agreed to pick me up in the park.
With transportation out of the way, I slogged through rolling stretches of flat slick rocks doing my best to keep from falling. I made it to the turn off for the lake right on time, and zombied my way around the northern edge of the lake just wanting to be done. I can hike for hours on end, but the last mile of any day, short or long, is hard to push through.
I arrived at a very deserted beach area and locked bathrooms and no working water fountain. Lucky for me I didn’t need any of these things. A handful of park workers and contractors were having some sort of planning meeting that involved a lot of arm waving. Then they all drove away, and I was left alone hoping the cab company proved to be reliable because all of my ride possibilities were now gone. Sure enough, my driver showed up on time and we shared a ride of classic rock (think: journey and hair bands) into cold spring.
I made myself a tuna fish frito wrap and ate my lunch on the outdoor train platform. People started congregating about 10 minutes before the 1216 train. A woman sat at the far end of the bench eating fresh blueberries while I chomped my way through a bag of Doritos from the bear mountain vending machine. It didn’t rain as much as I expected this morning, so I’m in reasonable traveling condition save the mud swipes on the insides of my shins.
Now I’m sitting on a metro north train passing through the Bronx. I’m not ready to experience the overstimulation of NYC, but it’s the price I have to pay to see all the people I want to see and celebrate my dad’s birthday. I likely won’t blog until I’m back on trail next week. I might do a summary post of the break or I might spare you. Either way, I will see you (and the trail) next week!
Mile 1416.4 to mile 1424.0 (7.6)
Total miles: 420.8
Creature feature: red winged blackbirds, dopey robins and chipmunks. As I crested a hill somewhere around mile 4, I heard a rush of leaves and thought for sure I was about to see my second bear. I looked up to find a gaggle of 4-5 squirrels scrambling in the treetops above me. The extra noise I’d heard was the patter of water droplets coming down as the squirrels jostled the tree limbs. Silly squirrels. Silly human.