August 11, 2008
This is a 5-month long series of blog posts that are the entries in my journals written on most evenings as I hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1993. The journal entry appears first — indented — and then any additional commentary from my 15-years-removed perspective follows.
8/11/93 – Wed.
Well, I missed a day in my journal here, but with good reason. Tuesday, I hiked about 27 miles. I say “about” because the last 5 miles was part of the roadwalk through Harriman State Park — the temporary re-routing of the trail out of the woodlands due to both fires and the hazard of fires along the trail. I caught up with Roadrunner shortly before lunch, and we hiked the rest of the day/evening together. During that time was when I realized that I had waxed eloquent on the approach of autumn somewhat prematurely — Roadrunner pointed out that the leaves were falling from the trees because the weather has been so dry; not because it is their time to go. At the same time, it is clearly no longer the middle of summer.
This morning, I was on the trail (or rather, the road) by 6:45 AM. By shortly after 9:00 AM I was at the Bear Mountain post office — the end of the road walk and a waiting package. A container of applesauce had semi-exploded in the maildrop, but everything was in plastic bags, so it was not too difficult to clean up. I’d been meaning to mention to Dad that those foil lids were easily punctured, but I guess I needed a fairly significant event with it to really spark my memory.
After dealing with the maildrop, I found a phone and called Julie. She seems to have sunk down into a bit of a depression again due to lack of money, lack of a job, and too much of her relatives. It now looks like I might not see her again until I get to Maine. In some respects, Katahdin was starting to seem close, but in terms of being the next place I will see Julie, it is distant beyond measure. With luck, we will figure something out before then.
After talking to Julie, I wandered through the trailside zoo/museum, which was a bit urbanized for my tastes. The A.T. reaches its lowes point (124 feet above sea level) in front of the bear den, so I guess that was a landmark of sorts.
Around noon, I finally headed across the Hudson River and on up the trail — 7 miles to the Graymoor Monastery, which is an amazing place. Hikers get a private room with a bed, a sink, and a writing table. There are hot showers as well as a washing machine and dryer. There was an all you can eat dinner that was fabulous and complete (salad bar, dessert table, any number of beverage choices, plus an unlimited quantity of the entree), and breakfast that I’m sure will be comparable (why is this pen crapping out on me?). There are a lot of hikers here this evening — four southbounders, Roadrunner, me, Antaeus, Yoram Goldhammer (skipped last 40 miles to Bear Mountain), Weary Wanderer, Cal, & Pot Roast (skipped even more to get to Bear Mountain). So, it looks like I am back in the thick of things again.
Oh, yeah, for this monastery, they simply accept donations — nothing requested or required. They probably take in more money that way, oddly enough!
Possible chorus lyrics for verse written in last entry (I have something similar to this written down somewhere at home):
So put your hand in mine
We’ll take it one step at a time
Making our way…through life…together.
Yes, put your hand in mine
And you will always find…
Me…by your side…forever.
Call it rough, but it may be something to work with. I miss my guitar.
Well, the almighty telephone is dialing my number, so I am off to make my phone calls!
P.S. Roadrunner “beep-beeps” every time he crosses a road — started in Georgia & is now superstitious about it.