|Celebrating at the eastern terminus of the Finger Lakes Trail|
|Finger Lakes Trail eastern terminus sign|
I could barely believe it as I took my final steps down the wide dirt path that would lead to this humble lil marker. How had two months passed already? For so long the end had seemed so far away and now suddenly I was here and I wanted to make every step, every breath, every swaying tree limb and nearby birdsong count. As I crossed the Neversink River just before town, a river that I knew I could follow all the way into the town of Port Jervis, New York where I had lived for sometime, I knew I was close. I did my best to soak it all in knowing that as much as I had anticipated this moment, part of me would be sad when it had finally come and gone.
|Walking the abandoned NY Rt. 10|
|A view of the Rock Rift firetower|
|Anita and I on trail|
Thank you Anita, for your friendship and support out here on the trail. You were not only a hiking partner but a trail angel! Keep hikin' woman!
|Rachel and I on trail|
|The mason jars displaying the 5 different herbs used in the making of Prohibition's gin. The last jar is a combination of all of these herbs.|
|Drying clothes atop Rachel's car after our morning of walking in the pouring rain - method works great!|
|Endless plates of salad from the salad bar at the Rockland House, as well as complimentary cheese and crackers.|
|Getting up close and personal with a friendly fish at the Courtyard - there were so many creatures on the walls at which to marvel!|
Of course, even after eating breakfast with the guys, no trip to Roscoe is complete without a visit to the world famous Roscoe Diner. However, the food didn't last long enough our plates for any pictures to be taken. I love northeastern diners. Needless to say I left Roscoe one happy hiker full of both food and gratitude for a visit from a friend.
|Rachel and I in Downsville|
|Campbell Mountain Lean-to|
|Trail through the Catskill Forest Preserve|
|Large Leaved Goldenrod (Solidago macrophylla)|
|Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)|
|Green-Headed Coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata)|
Atop Balsam Mountain, I even surpassed 3500 feet, reaching the FLT's highest point on the entire trail at 3660 feet. This may not sound very high to those who have hiked extensively on the west or even east coast, but here in New York, the environment changes dramatically. Trees were stunted and the trail was nothing more than a narrow corridor. I thought I may have stumbled into Vermont on accident.
|These signs were visible approaching from either side of the Balsam Mountain summit|
|View from Balsam Mountain firetower|
|Laurie and Tom Rankin outside the cabin that Laurie's father built.|
|Bear in the marsh just west of the Fall Brook Lean-to|
Arriving at the shelter less than a half mile away and reading numerous accounts of not only a black bear in the area and the stream having gone dry, I decided to keep on walking. Where to...I didn't know...but the FLT wasn't gonna let me go easy on my last night!
After stumbling across an unmarked stream, I ended up pitching my tent precariously on the edge of an embankment just inside state land. I made a late dinner, hung my food bag high in a tree a ways down the trail, whooped and hollered some like a crazed woods woman to scare off any nearby 200 pound furry friends and drifted off to sleep. My last night on the trail.
To close this post, allow me to share with you my real eastern terminus photo...
|Feeling victorious and donning a traditionally fabulous summit outfit at the eastern end of the Finger LakesTrail|
One must be properly attired to hike the Finger Lakes Trail...especially the goggles...these are essential in the monsoon season of June, not to mention that even a hiker needs to pick up the occasional souvenir such as a t-shirt from the Outpost. I told y'all I had another outfit!
Finger Lakes Trail you have been quite the adventure...stay tuned for my next blog in which I'll share my...ahem...more serious reflections on the trail and my future plans!