9-15-12

AT miles hiked today: 14.5
Miles hiked while lost: 3ish
Total AT miles hiked: 1373.4
Miles to complete my thruhike: 810.8


I'm tenting at the campsite again. Toe Knee put on her full pack this morning and planned to stay on the trail rather than come back here tonight. The music was rather loud and went until 4am, but I did sleep okay with my earplugs. Toe Knee didn't sleep well, though. She'll join us again tomorrow. I stopped at a deli that is right on the trail and had a wonderful bacon cheeseburger and onion rings, plus a pineapple soda. That was so good.

Not long after my late lunch break, I got lost and Eagle Eye followed me. We ended up on private property and had to turn back to a crossroads of four trails. We couldn't remember exactly which trail we had come on, and so began backtracking on each trail, trying to find white blazes. We decided to each hike a different trail for ten minutes and then return to the crossroad if we found nothing. We weren't having any luck and then a woman with a baby and dog was my literal trail angel because she knew where I could get back on the AT. We had overshot a poorly marked turn up the mountain and kept going on the wrong trail to get to the crossroad. I was lucky to meet that woman. Thank goodness for trail magic. I called Eagle Eye and we figured out where to meet and how to get back on the AT. We probably walked an extra three miles while lost and we were worried because Mickey didn't want to drive in the dark. We were afraid we would miss our ride and all our stuff was back at the campground. We did make it to Bear Mountain Bridge and walked over the Hudson River, but we barely made it before 7pm and dark.

Just before we got to the bridge we came across E Ticket heading north, having left Octoberfest in no shape to climb Bear Mountain so he came back instead, looking for a campsite. He would have found Toe Knee camped on the trail but instead we brought him back with us. Mickey was stressed by the late hour but she did drive us back to campground. Thank you, Mickey! I'm sorry we got lost and it got so late, but you really did help us out and we were in a bind.

So we got there late but had a great time with more great food, and people and an even bigger bonfire. There was music and everybody seemed to have a fun time. I sure did. I met Puddle Jumper, the last Northbounder (he calls himself). Everybody I met at the gathering was friendly and welcoming and so I stayed there with them until after 10:30pm, which is late for a hiker. I may have had a few shots of whisky, too. I am in my tent now, however, and I am planning to wear my ear plugs tonight for sure.

Thanks again Kori for inviting us and driving us to the trail tomorrow, and Helen and everybody else I met. You were wonderful and I feel lucky to have met you.