End: near Shin Hollow Road, along SRT (camped illegally)
Today I finally left the Appalachian Trail. When I got to High Point, I got on the Shawangunk Ridge Trail, which leads north 30 miles to reconnect with the Long Path. It's really just a connector trail, blazed in the same aqua color as the Long Path.
Dick came down to the bunkhouse at 6:31 this morning to wake everyone up. And by 7, we were all sitting upstairs eating breakfast. Bill had made eggs and bagels. Apparently he gets to the house at 4am to start making breakfast. When we went upstairs at 7, he was working on a cole slaw for lunch or dinner.
They have six photo albums with pictures of all the hikers that stay there. After breakfast Dick took my picture (telling me to "say shit!" instead of the usual "say cheese"). I was hiker 178 for the year. He usually takes in people through October.
At 8, Butch drove us to the trailhead, and I was on my way again. I really enjoyed my stay at the mayor's. Moose Boy was also going south on the AT (like me). We had spent some time talking last night. He's just out for a few days, doing a section on the AT in NJ. He went ahead while I adjusted my pack and put my rain gear on (yup, it rained all day, again!).
The morning was gradual uphill. I didn't mind it that much. The worse part was the rain - it had turned many parts of the trail into a stream. And some of the streams were so flooded that I had to wade through knee-deep water to get across.
I stopped at High Point shelter for lunch. I got there just as Moose Boy as leaving. We would both leave the AT when we got to High Point State Park - he to catch a train back home to NYC, me to continue hiking north on the SRT. I stayed at the shelter for an hour, eating a big lunch and hoping the rain would stop (which it din't).
By 1:30 I made it to High Point, the highest point in New Jersey, at just over 1800 feet. There's a big obelisk there, like the Washington Monmument, that's a memorial to New Jersey's war heroes. I was here with my mom and sister Molly two years ago for a short overnight hiking trip (we stayed at a nearby family campgroud). There are great views in all directions. And they recenty opened the monument so people can climb to the top. Unfortunately there was nobody else there. I couldn't see any views, I couldn't climb the monument and I couldn't take a picture of myself at the highest point in NJ. The monumnt did look cool disappearing into the fog, but it was too wet to try to take a picture of it. Oh well.
I hiked along the SRT all afternoon, finally setting up my tent illegally around 7:30. I covered a lot of mileage today and am pretty tired. The early start from the Mayor's House helped. As did his inspiration - Vincera!
Tomorrow I go to Wurtsboro to resupply and take a zero day (as in zero mileage). Looking forward to getting hiking poles and new boots!