Bears!

Date: June 26th, 2015
Day: 107
Miles from Springer: 1651.1
Miles to Katahdin: 538.1
Morale: 5/5

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When I last posted I was just leaving Pennsylvania, and now here I am in the middle of Vermont. You know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Once again, lack of affordable places to stay with wifi and bad service has made the gap between my posts entirely too long. It isn’t all bad though, because looking back and reflecting on the past few weeks is actually quite nice. It let’s me re-live that section of trail.

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Suprisingly enough, New Jersey is a section of trail worth re-living. When one thinks about New Jersey, the last thing that comes to mind is pristine glacial ponds and senic open fields. The New Jersey section of trail brought both of these things, a welcome sight after Pennsylvania.

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Another thing about New Jersey is that it has the highest density Bear population on the whole trail. I saw my first bear here, a family of three actually. They were waltzing through camp without a care in the world. I later set up my tent virtually right where they were walking. In the picture above you can see the corner of a sign marking the water source.

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After New Jersey came New York, and it was far less senic than Jersey, however there was a deli at almost every road crossing, so at least I ate well. I’ve never seen more American flags on display than in New York. Every shelter had a flag, every summit had a flag, and there was even this 9/11 memorial painted on the rocks.

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A “big” landmark in New York was the Dover oak, the largest oak tree on the trail. The tree is 300+ years old and has a circumference of twenty-two feet. My trekking pole is four feet long, and doesn’t come close to spanning it.

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The trail in New York was annoyingly difficult. It went up steep boulder fields and straight back down them again. There was little elevation gain, and so no views really to speak of. The trail maintenence was lacking, and the trail was often hard to find.

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Here is a picture of classic New York trail. You can see the blazes leading up over the rocks.

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After New York came Connecticut, and also New England. If you haven’t noticed, all of these states were very short. The combined milage of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts is only about three hundred miles. The other thing about this section of trail is that each state got progressively better after New York. Each state got a little more senic, and a little higher in elevation.

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The trail in Massachusetts was uneventful except for Mt. Greylock, the highest point in the state. It had the first sub-alpine environment since Unaka mountain way back in North Carolina. I’m glad to be getting back into the northern states, with the spruce/fir forests that I was used to hiking in as a kid.

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Another thing that was nice about climbing a real mountain was the noticeable difference in weather. Atop Greylock it was blowing a gale and was much colder. It was a pity that the observation tower was closed for renovations, it would have been nice to get out of the wind and check out the views.

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The A.T. coincides with the Long Trail I’m Vermont for 105 miles, and so far it has been wonderful. I’ve been in sub-alpine environments every day now, and had great views all of the time. The trail is a bit muddy, however it is well worth it for the views.

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This is the view from Stratton Mountain, the birthplace of the A.T. Legend says that Benton Mackaye himself stood atop this mountain when he dreamed up a trail connecting the high peaks of the Appalachian Mountain Range. It also happens to be the “three quarters of the way done” mark. It was a great morning to say the least.

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I took lunch at prospect rock, and had this view of Equinox Mtn. And Manchester Center, where I am currently relaxing in a motel. Tommorow I will do as I aways do, continue north with great excitement, because the best is yet to come.

A year indoors is a journey along a paper calender. A year in outer nature is the accomplishment of a tremendous ritual.” -Henry Beston

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