Winter Appalachian Trail – Day 78 (26 miles)
I woke up just before 6 am or 7 am with daylight savings, to a bunch of French fisherman heading down to the lake.
I packed up and after a short road walk back to the AT, we strapped our snowshoes on ready for another round. But today was a turning point. It started like where we left off yesterday, sinking a foot into the snow even with snowshoes.
However, it only took an hour or so until we reached I-87 and more importantly Bear Mountain. The forest was swarming with people out from NYC to enjoy the 40F temps, blue sky and snow everywhere. This meant that the trail was extremely well compacted and easy walking.
I strapped my snowshoes onto my pack and didn’t need them for the rest of the day!
Rat has been struggling with the snow a bit and I pushed ahead up Bear Mountain to let the sisters talk it out. The day was simply spectacular, and the compacted trail let me focus on my surroundings rather than putting one foot in front of the other.
I stopped for lunch to let the Rat and Ant catch up, and then we proceeded down the other side towards the lowest point of the trail, the Hudson River. On the way there we walked through a mini zoo – I find it sad that animals designed to roam are locked in a cage.
After walking over the river we were in for another treat, someone decided to go cross-country skiing on the AT, and coincidentally breaking trail for us.
I don’t know what changed, but the 1-2ft of snow from yesterday was now only 4-6 inches. It is probably a combination of the first above freezing day in a long time and a slightly lower elevation. Either way, I was ecstatic!
I think we were all very pleased and grateful for the unexpected change in the snow conditions. I’ve got a few complaining ligaments from the slips and the extra work required lately.
Even though the snow had melted significantly, it was still everywhere. We did not particularly want to camp on snow so after finding a suitable spot we scrapped the area dry. We all ended up cowboy camping under the stars.
A week ago I would have said today was hard work, but it felt so easy in comparison to the last few.