New York Appalachian Trail- ’15

I had been looking forward to the New York portion of the A.T. for a long time. Part of the reason was because I planned back to back 45 mile days. Two long distances on consecutive days were a challenge in itself, but on the A.T., it was going to be extra challenging.

A running buddy, Matt, decided to join me. My wife Caryn, and running friend Joe, were kind enough to follow us around and meet us roughly every 7 miles. Here are Matt and I bright and early Saturday morning…

NY A.T.

We started at the northern part at the Connecticut border and went south. The first 10-12 miles were actually very runnable. There was a mountain and a few hills that we hiked up, but overall, we were pleased with the terrain. Mixed in with the mountains were a few fields, including a marshy area. Here we are just chilling out. The adirondack chairs had “North to Maine” and “South to Georgia” inscribed in them….

NY A.T. 12

A couple of miles later, we came upon this walnut tree. It must have been 200 years old. I’m fascinated by the strength, longevity, and beauty of trees. This one was radical….

NY A.T. 1

Gradually, we started to see a change in the terrain the more south we went. Matt made the comment that it was starting to look like New Jersey. I agreed, and also seemed it looked like Pennsylvania. From mile 20 on, the normal view of the trail would be as follows…

NY A.T. 6

The elevation changes and rocky sections were starting to put wear and tear on our bodies. We climbed yet another mountain and were on a ridge for a few miles. At this point, both Matt and I were on our own. I then got to an overlook and could hear people. To my surprise, I looked down to see a sandy beach with lots of people. It was one of multiple lakes scattered throughout northern New York. Here is the view…

NY A.T. 4

The climb down this mountain was steep and rocky. Eventually, Matt decided to call it a day. Here’s the best crew ever, and Matt, trying to figure out where our current location.

NY A.T. 5

I decided to keep going. By this point, both of my feet were feeling it, with multiple blisters on each foot. I was still in good spirits though, and the trail was becoming more scenic, the more south I went. I was on a ridge when the sun was setting. I was hoping for a vista, but there was no opening. Through the trees, I watched the fiery red/orange sun fall below the mountains far in the distance.

I had about 2 miles to go to complete the 45 miles for the day. I had my headlamp with me, but decided to leave it off. There was just enough light for me. I remember approaching a hollow and thinking I was going into a black hole. It was so dark in there, but it was really cool, too. I stopped and just listened. It was so quiet. There were no sounds other than the crickets.

As I popped out of the woods and on to Route 9, my crew welcomed me. I felt relieved and glad that I could cover that distance in one day. We drove directly to the hotel. My wife bought me two large slices of pizza that I promptly woofed down.

After a restless sleep, Sunday morning came very quickly. My goal for the day was to see how much of the 45 mile section I could complete. The first 7 miles would dictate how much trail I’d cover for the day.

I could tell when I started running, that my energy/calorie supply was low from the previous days miles. Lots of climbing was still in store. By about mile 4, I realized that in order for me to enjoy the day, there would be no way I would complete the 45 miles planned. I had already climbed a few hills and had been navigating around rocks and boulders. From about mile 30 on Saturday, and the first 4-5 miles on Sunday, I averaged 20 minute miles or more on most of them. It’s not because I was too tired to run, but it was because it was impossible to run most of those miles.

At mile 5 on Sunday, I got to the Bear Mountain bridge. I knew I had to cross it to meet the crew, but I also noticed zero white blazes on the bridge. I thought that was very odd. Once on the other side, I figured out that the A.T. goes through the zoo. It was closed, so I had to follow the blue blazed trail to meet back up with the white blaze near the Bear Mountain Inn. Here is the bridge followed by the entrance to the zoo….

NY A.T. 9

NY A.T. 13

As I met my awesome crew by the lake near the Bear Mountain Inn, I let them know that I wasn’t going to try to do the total 45 miles for the day. If I were to get 20 miles in for the day, I would be ok with that. The plan is to complete the last southern section of the New York A.T. the day before conquering the Connecticut section next year.

The climb up Bear Mountain lasted about 2 1/2 miles. There were 1,000 steps placed by the conservancy and groups of the A.T. back in the 1920’s. There is a lot of A.T. history around the Bear Mountain area, and in New York in general. A lot of the shelters are the originals and the first section of trail was created by Bear Mountain.

NY A.T. 14

I stopped a few times to enjoy the scenery and just enjoy the day. The weather was beautiful. It was great weather for it being August. After crossing over a dirt road and a paved road on the way up, I crested Bear Mountain. You can see for miles on end up there. You can even see New York City about 35 miles away. Here is one of multiple pictures I took of the views….

NY A.T. 11

After what seemed like an eternity of descent, then another smaller climb, I reached my crew. At this point, my energy level was rather low. I really didn’t eat much that morning, and wasn’t taking any of my S-caps and salt tablets.

Matt decided to finish the last 7 miles with me. Most of those miles were hiking. We hiked up and down more hills and mountains, trying to get proper footing underneath. I stopped multiple times just to rest. Towards the end of the last 7 miles, we were able to run/shuffle our feet. It was really nice to do that. The last 7 miles, we may have averaged 23-25 minute miles.

I am very glad that I was able to get the miles on the New York portion of the A.T. that I did. I could not have done it without Caryn, Joe, and Matt. I owe all of my enjoyment to them. Caryn and Joe were a great team. Caryn was the driver and Joe was the navigator with the map.

I was glad to hear that they were also able to get up to the tower on Bear Mountain while waiting for us to arrive at one of the crew stops. Here is a picture of them at the top…

NY A.T. 7

I am looking forward to more experiences and journey’s on the Appalachian Trail in the years to come!

2 thoughts on “New York Appalachian Trail- ’15

  1. Wonderful description both in words and photos. You have my admiration in taking on a second consecutive day with already blistered feet. How do you do that?
    As I was driving down the Mass Pike last week, I passed under a bridge labeled ‘Appalachian Trail.’ I thought of you and wondered when you would be taking on that state.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you! Once you get moving, the feeling of blisters disappear. It’s when you stop is when the aching begins.

    I would like to complete Connecticut(51 miles), Massachusetts(90 miles) and small sections of the 500+ miles in Virginia next year.

    Like

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