|Cheesin' with my pal, the FLT|
I am both sad and incredibly thrilled to say...I am almost there! I am presently in the tiny town of Bainbridge on Map 26 with just a little over 100 miles left to travel. When I began I had a stack of maps - 54 to be exact - over half of which I had sent ahead to Irene Szabo because they were too heavy to carry. Now I am down to a mere six. I can hardly believe it.
|View of New York hills|
Whenever I start a trek of this magnitude I don't spend too much time looking ahead to the end while hiking. This makes the task seem insurmountable. I learned this on my first AT hike, my 1000 mile attempt I should say, when at 2 weeks in with swollen knees and blistered feet, thought, I have to do this for another 5 month and a half months? Best to take it one day at a time, focusing on stepping atop the next rock, dodging the next mud puddle, eating the next granola bar, and maybe so far as to where you will sleep that evening. This lil lesson from the trail is one that I have transferred to the rest of my life. One step at a time. And now...holy ?@*! I'm here! Well almost.
|One of the many stonewalls along the FLT and throughout the woods of NY|
|Seen lots of these lil snails along the way - luckily I move faster than they do|
Daily I stroll along rock walls that come and go for miles, weaving throughout the woods. I startle turkey and grouse and little tweeters of all kinds of which I don't know their names. I sidestep salamanders bathing in the wet of the trail and frogs the size of my thumbnail that hop as fast as their warty legs will take them. I gain momentum only to do a double take, then stop in my tracks and crouch down to eye level to examine yet another plant, wondering exactly which species of Agrimony I have, or Thistle, or Bedstraw. I look to the sky and wonder, how many more days of sun will I be graced with? or maybe hours or minutes? And I have moments in which I wish this simple hiking would never have to end and moments when I curse the very trail I walk upon and wish I had 100 miles less to do and best of all, long stretches where I think nothing at all. This trail has been a gift.
|Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) - the above-ground-parts can be made into a tea or tincture helpful in raising the body temperature and breaking a fever.|
|Agrimony (Agrimonia gryposepala) - the above-ground-parts may be steeped and made into a tea that is both astringent and diuretic, excellent for treating UTI's and inflammation in general.|
However...with all this serene solitude one has to at times shake things up at bit. Enter the OutPost. I hit the Outpost, a lil biker bar on the edge of McDonaugh, on day in which I had a mere 13 miles to do. This has now become an easy day. So when I arrived at 2:30, I ordered a Coke and a big tossed salad and settled in, doing some writing and mileage planning for the next 2 hours. That was until Lynae and Carol strolled in. With my maps strewn all about we got to chatting about what I was doing out here but we hadn't gotten to the part about the plants yet. Then out of the blue Lynae exclaimed, "Do you know you can eat Day Lilies?!" I knew I had some friends-to-be here then and there.
|Carol and Lynae|
|Carol and Lynae - can you tell these ladies are fun?|
|Lynae, Me, and Carol at Bowman Lake|
I will have just one more stop in a town, maybe two, these being Downsville and Roscoe and so I hope to get a blog post out to y'all from there. I wish I could keep you up to date and have you virtually hike along with me all the way up to the eastern terminus...but alas I suppose this is a wilderness experience. If you don't hear from me before that lil country road in Claryville...I'll see you at the end!