Bottom line: I made it to Phoenicia just in time, 4:55, five minutes before the post office closed. But it was an exhausting day before that. (I have a clean set of clothes that I mail to myself from town to town, along with food and supplies. The clean clothes are what I wanted to get.)
Since I'm taking a rest a in Phoenicia, I'll have this entry count for Thursday and Friday.
I woke up early Thursday and was hiking by 8. The couple who tented with me at the lean-to last night were still sleeping when I left. I had some big climbs today - Slide, Cornell, and Wittenberg Mountains, all above 3500 feet. Slide Mountain, at 4100 feet, is the highest peak in the Catskills and the highest point on the Long Path.
I got up to Slide around 11:30. There were some decent views, but the trees often got in the way. Going up to Slide wasn't that bad, but it was very steep coming down. There were a number of steep rock faces that took a while to maneuver. Several times today (going down Slide, up and down Cornell, and down Wittenberg) I had to take my pack off and throw it up or down the rock face, so I could manage the climb/descent more safely. I hadn't expected these steep parts, and they slowed down my pace since I had to be very careful.
There were a few good views right before the summit of Cornell, but nothing from the top (too many trees in the way).
Wittenberg had the best views. Ther was a big open cliff with great views to the southeast.
Now I'm in the heart of the Catskills, and the trails are well maintained. I also saw half a dozen people on the trail today.
Anyway, I was rushing all day to try and get to Phoenicia by 5:00. I did take some time to enjoy the summit views though. By the time I got down to Woodland Valley, it was 4:00. From here, it was a six mile road walk into town. I was exhausted and really thirsty, and decided I couldn't make it to Phoenicia in time.
So, I drank two liters of water and had a snack, and then started walking into town at a more relaxed pace. I figured I might be able to buy a souvenir T-shirt and a bathing suit in town.
The road I was on was very quiet. After 15 minutes of walking, I heard a car coming from behind me (the first car going the same direction as me). I stuck out my thumb to try to hitch a ride, and it worked! I had so much trouble hitching rides along the AT, when I was on busy roads, and now I was on a quiet road and the first car stopped for me! It was a young couple, probably in their late twenties. They had an infant in the back seat and a dog in the trunk. They said they were from New York City. The wife said that when she was in college, she and some friends had talked about doing the Appalchian Trail, but they never got their act together. Anyway, they were going toward Phoenicia, and they even detoured into town to drop me off. They were so nice! And I made it to the post office just in time!
Phoenicia is a very small town. Main street is just one block long. I went to the motel and was able to get a room, and I took a shower.
I had a big dinner in town, then ice cream. Then a thunderstorm rolled in so I went back to the motel to soak my feet in the bathtub before bed. I figure it will help my blisters.
Friday I just relaxed in town. I took care of resupplying and planned out the next part of my trip. I will get to Middleburgh on July 2, and will spend the night at a hotel with my dad and brother. Then I should finish the Long Path in Altamont on July 6.
I uploaded some photos using the computer at the Phoenicia Library, but I didn't have enough time to do all of them.
My appetite has really changed. I'm eating a lot on the trail. When I was in town, I would often order two entrees.
Next blog updates should be by Thursday, maybe on Wednesday.