End: near Uppper Cherrytown Road, Catskill State Park
There's a lot to say about today, some of which my parents won't want to hear about, but rest assured it's 9:30 now and I'm safe in my tent, camped where I wanted to camp.
The day started out very well. I climbed up from the lake to Murray Hill, which offered more great views like yesterday, and continued to walk on the flat rock along the top of the ridge. Like yesterday, it was very beautiful up there. Then I had to climb to Castle Point - literally, I was basically rock climbing to follow the trail up there. More great views to the south, east, and west. There was a large valley below, with the outlines of hills and mountains rising in the far distance and on the horizon.
After walking along the rocks for a little while, I got to see great views of the Catskills to the north. They looked so magnificent. The view to the north was much better than the earlier views to the south.
Then I got to Rainbow Falls, another amazing waterfall. The trail yesterday led to the top of Verkeerder Kill Falls. The trail today led to the bottom of Rainbow Falls. I think it was cooler to look at the falls from above.
Anyway, around noon, I was following the trail on a woods road when it intersected with power lines. The woods road turned left, and I followed it down the hill, along the power line right-of-way. Twenty minutes later, I stopped for water and to check the map. I hadn't seen blazes in a while, but I didn't think I could've turned off the woods road. As soon as I looked at the map, I realized I had gone the wrong way. I trudged back up the hill and saw that, when the woods road intersected the power lines and turned left, the Long Path went straight across the power lines and turned right. I was never worried about being lost; but I was very annoyed at myself for missing the turn. Lesson learned: don't walk for more than two minutes without seeing blazes, otherwise check the map and turn aroud.
About two hours later, just as I was leaving Minnewaska State Park, I came across my first bear! It was on the trail, about 200 feet in front of me. I started yelling and it ran away as soon as it heard me. I stayed where I was for a minute, yelling to scare the bear away, and then continued down the trail. I was still yelling ("Bear! Bear! Go away! Happy Birthday! Go! Potato! Corn! Hey! Hey! Bear!"...whatever came to my mind) when I reached where the bear had been. It was only 50 feet up the trail from where a residential road dead-ended. When I got down to the road, a father and his 7-year-old son were staring at me like I was deranged, wondering why the hell I was yellling non-sequiters. I don't know who was more scared - the bear or the father. Anyway, I told them why I was yelling ("I promise, there was a bear here a minute ago!") and we spoke about my trip briefly, then I was on my way.
The next 13 miles were a road walk. It was my longest road walk so far. The trail led three miles downhill to Kerhonkson, a town in a valley that I had hoped would be nice, but it turned out to be pretty seedy like Mout Ivy (see day 3 or 4). When I got to town I uploaded the past few days of blog entries from a pay phone and had pizza for dinner. Based on the time (4:30) and how much longer I had to hike (9 miles), I decided to just get dinner in town so that I wouldn't have to cook when I got to camp, which I expected to be around dark.
After dinner I had a long uphill road walk to the entrance of Catskill Park, where I'm camped now. The walk was actually very pleasant even though it was on roads. I passed many farms and large fields. I got to my camping site around 9:00, just as the last light was fading. I quickly set up camp near the parking lot, and now I'm going to bed.
So, today was a lot of milestones. First bear sighting. First major wrong turn. First major road walk. Longest mileage so far (24, including detour when I went the wrong way). And I entered Catskill Park. And, it's my longest stretch without rain so far (2 days).