We woke up sort of excited for being near a Visitors Center on the NY Palisades Parkway. After packing and stashing our packs out of view, we headed over there at 8:00 to get Cokes and coffee and to use the facilities. We crossed the westbound lanes again to get back to our packs.
Once saddled up with our packs at 8:45, we hiked back to the AT on a mountain bike path running parallel to the Parkway. We climbed West Mountain, the first of two mountains to be climbed today. From the top of West, we could see the day use area that we tented in last night.
The next climb was up Bear Mountain. Throughout the day, I’d been hearing the firing of large and small guns resonating up from the West Point campus. On top of Bear, it was busy with Sunday tourists. We found Mosey and Jungle Jim at the concession machines. I bought a coke.
Later, I dropped down to the Bear Mountain Recreation Area, passing many day hikers as well as Mosey and his son. Tandem and Mio and in the picnic area with One A Day. We had lunch there, and Tandem used some of my food since she was down to just peanut butter.
We got going again by 13:00 and followed the trail through the Trailside Zoo and Museum. We stopped at the Black Bear exhibit; their pens are the lowest point on the entire Appalachian Trail: elevation 124 ft. The bears were bickering over food while the vultures observed. Mosey and I hiked on, and the younger hikers finally followed.
Tandem and Mio pulled ahead with me trailing close behind. We ran into a shirtless Ragnar near the Hudson River toll booths. Mosey and Jungle Jim stayed with him while the rest of us excitedly crossed the Hudson River. Crossing the Hudson is a big deal for NOBO through hikers because you pass the 1400 mile mark, meaning you’re almost two-thirds of the way to Maine!
At 15:30, we dropped to US 9 and NY 403. There is a Shell station there that is set up with enough food for trail restocking. The prices were more expensive than Walmart or a cheap grocery store, but a bird in the hand… One A Day was there, and Mosey and Jungle Jim showed up as we were packing to leave. They were going only one more mile to the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center to stay overnight and pick up a package. We hiked out at 16:30, and I got tired about five miles later. We were trying to tent near water, and the shelters along this stretch have a 32 mile span between them.
I took a pair of Aleve and got hiking the last four miles again with encouragement and conversations from Tandem and Mio. We finally made it to our “stretch” destination goal of Dennytown Road. There is a pump building there with cold, potable water from a spigot on the side. Mio soaked his head under the water before dinner.
Tandem and I had pasta elbows with Prego spaghetti sauce, and I had Parmesan cheese on it. It was delicious! There was a convertible car parked in the parking lot with a guy on the phone and smoking the entire time we were eating. When we were done, he drove over onto the grass to us and offered us the newspaper. Tandem took it and thanked him. He told us about a deaf through hiker he knows who hiked the AT SOBO five years ago. The hiker has since married his deaf girlfriend and just had a child with the sense of hearing.
I bedded down again with no tent fly, enjoying the many star formations shining above. Today was a 22.5 mile day. We have 28 miles to go by 16:00 on Tuesday to watch the USA soccer match in Pawling, NY!