End: near Championship Golf Course, Rockland Lake State Park
Before I begin, there's more to add to yesterday's post. I fell asleep pretty quickly, which I was happy about. I had thought my first night alone in the woods would be hard, but it wasn't. Anyway, at 2am, I woke up to thunder and lightning and pouring rain. When I could tell the storm was within caution range, I put on my rain gear (still wet) and went outside. I found a stone ledge a short ways in the woods and assumed lightning position for a half hour, singing to myself and yelling the seconds between when I saw lightning and could hear the thunder clap. (I didn't feel safe in my tent because it had metal poles and was on the edge of the clearing.) Luckily the storm never got too close.
So today, I woke up to my alarm at 6:30, but it was raining again so I dozed off for another hour. It was still raining at 7:30 but I decided I had to get moving then.
I reached Nyack aroud 11, filled up on water at a gas station, crossed the NY Thruway, and made my way to Hook Mountain. By the time I got to Nyack, the sun was out (finally, after two days of rain!) and it was really hot and humid. I had lunch on a ridge right above Nyack High School. I couldn't see the school, but I could hear the bells and students outside.
In the afternoon, I climbed Hook Mtn. It had an amazing view. I could see the Tappan Zee Bridge and Piermont, where I had been yesterday, and couldn't believe how far away it looked. Soon after I ran into an older couple doing trail maintenance. They asked me how far I was going, and I told them I was thru-hiking. "Not a lot of thru-hikers on the Long Path," the woman said. They had been doing trail work in the Catskills yesterday, and told me the condition of the trail up there was abysmal, because of under-use. It's interesting - I've seen as many people out for day hikes as I've seen doing trail work. Without the work of volunteers, the trail would become overgrown, blazes would be worn away, and there wouldn't be a trail.
Around 5:00, I reached a beautiful area to camp - flat, near the edge of the Palisades, overlooking the river and Westchester County, NY. It was beautiful. It is almost within sight of a golf couse, on the other side of the trail, where I went to fill up water. I'm writing this sitting against a rock, watching the river, as the light fades away.
There were a lot of ruins on the trail today. This morning the trail went by an old target wall and firing range. It was run by the National Guard and closed after WW1, and the area was turned into a forest. I later passed the stone foundations of an ice harvesting plant. Around the turn of the century, ice harvested from Rockland Lake was world renowned. After the company closed (due to refrigeration), the land was boght by the state and turned into a park. I also passed an old family cemetary. Most of the two dozen headstones were so old that I couln't see any writing. But one grave, of a 9-month-old baby who died in the 1800s, had some flowers next to it.
Then there are the ruins whose origins remain a mystery, like the totaled car that was in the middle of the woods. It looked like it was from the 1980s, but I couldn't figure out how it got there; the trail was too narrow, the forest too thick. All these ruins are reminders that the land 100, 75, even 25 years ago looked a lot different. Many of the forests I walked through today were actually very young, though now it's so mature that, without hints, I can't tell how young it actually is.
It's 9:30 now, I'm going to sleep. I'm going to try to cover 16 miles tomorrow.