End: near Mt. Nebo
What a day! It's 9:00, I'm in my tent (camped illegally), and I'm exhausted. I didn't leave home until 11:00 this morning. It took me a while to get all my stuff together and leave home - for good this time. I soon realized that, with such a late start, I wouldn't be able to reach my intended destination. Even if I did get an early start, I probably wouldn't be able to; I must have miscalculated my mileage when I was planning.
The morning wen pretty slow. It seemed like I was paralleling the Palisades Parkway forever! I finally reached the State Line lookout, where I had lunch. There's a small cafe there, but the only people there were the staff, and I sat outside on a picnic bench. It was foggy and misty all day, and at all the overlooks I couldn't even see across the Hudson River to New York.
After lunch, I soon reached the NJ-NY border. It was very bizarre - there was a chain link fence, and the trail crossed it through a gate. I don't understand why the fence is there; the land on both sides is all part of the Palisades Interstate Park. I feel like there's more border security in the woods between NY and NJ than there is between the US and Mexico!
Anyway, shortly after that I met two people from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference (the group that oversees the Long Path) doing trail maintenance. One of them was Jakob Franke, the person in charge of the Long Path south of the Catskills!
The next few hours were pretty easy. I got to Piermont, a cute little town on the river, aroud 6. On my high school cross-country team, we would have a bike practice every fall, for which we would bike to Piermont, have ice cream (at 10am), then bike back. Turns out we biked on part of the Long Path. Of course, when I saw where I was, I had to take a .1 mile detour to get ice cream (coconut chocolate almond, the perfect flavor)!
I decided then that I would camp near Mt. Nebo. It looked like a flat area about 3 miles further. The trail there from Piermont went through a cemetary, passing the grave of the person who transported Cleopatra's needle to the US.
By the time I got to Mt. Nebo (the former site of an Air Force Nike Missle base during the Cold War), it had started to rain.
I got mixed up with some side trails and realized that I wasn't exactly where I had intended. I searched for a tent spot but everything was really overgrown, and I settled on a blacktop area near a parking lot. I quickly cooked pasta and ate it (straight from the pot), but by this point it was pouring. I realized I couldn't stay where I was. There was an inch of water covering the entire blacktop, and there were also power lines directly overhead.
So I packed up, looked at my map, and started walking to another place that I thought might be good. It turned out to be a big clearing. I pitched my tent on the edge of the clearing, stored my food bags, and got into my tent. I'm using to Ursack bags to store my food. They're made of Kevlar so bears and rodents can't get to the food. They weigh less than plastic bear canisters and (the best part) I don't have to hang them (hanging bear bags can easily take up to an hour each night).
So here I am now, tired but mostly dry and warm. The sound of the rain beating down on my tent is relaxing and therapeutic. I'm ready to sleep!