June 16.  Up early and on trail by 7.  The guys who stayed in the shelter hadn’t moved yet so I was back to spider web patrol.  Since I had been having late starts the past few days I hadn’t had to deal with that!  New York has some pretty active squirrels.  As I walked down the trail and spooked them they would take off running and make so much noise through the leaf litter.  When they crunch through the leaves they sound a lot bigger than they are!  The squirrels are also very acrobatic.  I watched them shoot down falled trees, jump from tree to tree, and fly through the air like trapeze artists.  Around 11 AM I passed the Appalachian Trail Railroad Station that would take me directly downtown NYC to Grand Central Station.  I decided not to head into the city and instead took a break at the Native Landscapes Garden Center.  I sat on the front patio and ate lunch and enjoyed some time in a rocking chair.  The garden store offered free showers for hikers but with no soap or a towel, and putting dirty clothes back on, a shower didn’t seem like a productive idea.  After my break I continued north and passed an old wooden water tower that was pretty cool.  I stopped at the next two shelters for short breaks and passed a big river as I made one last climb up a mountain to get to the shelter just before Kent, CT.  I hiked up the mountain and caught up to an older guy hiking up.  It is always hard when I catch up to people…I start hitting rocks with my trekking poles, breath heavily, cough, try to make noise so I don’t scare them.  Finally, I was right behind the guy and I said “This is a tough hill!”  I must have startled him, he turned and yelled “Hey!” as loud as he could.  I may have startled him but he scared the pee out of me!  I walked past him, my heart beating fast, and continued up the hill.  The last 3 miles to the shelter up and over the mountain were tough ones and when I hit the shelter around 7:30 PM I was happy to be there.  Luckily one of the hikers had gone into town earlier in the day and picked up beer and I was happy to help him drink a few.  It was a tough 29 miles and I was happy to be off my feet and heading into town in the morning.  I had passed the New York – Connecticut state line, another state down and 5 more to go!

I recently heard from another hiker friend via email and he said he was at the Deleware Water Gap for the weekend.  Meat is in Pennsylvania as well, and I have a few friends ahead of me in Massachusetts.  It is interesting that every day we all wake up and walk on the same trail north, just in different locations.

June 17.  I slept in this morning, woke up at 8 AM.  The 29 miles had taken it out of me.  I was just heading into town so I was in no hurry.  I walked a mile or so to Kent, CT and stopped at a breakfast place.  Kent is nice, really nice.  Lots of nice cars, polo shirts and sweaters, and art galleries.  I ordered a 1, 2, 3 Special…1 piece of french toast, 2 pancakes, 3 eggs, bacon, juice, and coffee.  I was pumped!  But when the plate came I realized I was in a pretty ritzy town…it was one of those restaurants that serves small portions, good for me normally, but now I am a hungry hiker!  I easily ate everything and went to the IGA to get 4 days of food.  I stopped by the outfitter/ice cream shop to get hot dogs and call everyone to wish them a Happy Father’s Day!  Soon it was early afternoon and I still wanted to make some miles.  I got some ice cream and headed back to the trail.  Kent was a nice little town, maybe a little too nice.  I had heard it wasn’t a cheap area, I spent a good $30 between breakfast and lunch, not to mention the $40 resupply.  It made me miss the other small towns in the south where I could get a full meal for $6 and be stuffed!  I was looking forward to the next week of hiking…through CT, through MA, and hopefully into VT by the weekend!

I realized this morning that Amy dropped me off at the trail a week ago today…which means it had been a week, 170 miles, and 4 states (PA, NJ, NY, and CT) since I have had a shower or done laundry.  Maybe I should try to do that soon…maybe.  We will see!