I put together a pretty cool panorama from Max Patch on the AT in North Carolina. Its several photo stitched together that I took when hiking out after camping on the top. I thought it turned out nicely.
I redid everything and moved my site to WordPress. Hopefully, it’ll be nicer. I just decided I didn’t want to go and make a lot of stuff when it already does it. The photos don’t link to flickr anymore and instead popup to a larger version. Flickr was just too slow when I had several photos on a page.
I’m working on adding a gallery with a store from Fotomoto, so people can order prints. Hopefully it’ll go well, and sell bunches.
New York was unexpectedly tough. I later found out many people call it “Little New Hampshire.” The profile wasn’t all that different from New Jersey, but it was ridiculous. Lots of small 10-20ft climbs, straight up rock faces. It changed instantly upon crossing the border. It was nice to eventually start getting in to the mountains again, as the elevation slowly climbs.
New York and New Jersey have great food. I called it the land of pizza and sandwiches, coincidentally, they happen to be two of my favorite things. There are delis frequently along the trail. Luckily the delis are within a couple miles, because unlike the rest of the AT, hitchhiking is prohibited and enforced.
I spent a couple days at a place called Graymoore Spritual Center. It is a rehab center and friary right on the trail, that has built a great little pavilion and they invite hikers to come camp there. They have a shower, water, and even electricity. Unfortunately, while I was here one of my tent poles snapped. I called TarpTent and the owner Henry Shires mailed some out as quick as possible. I was able to get two replacement sections, and a bit of scrap fabric to repair my tent a couple days later. It was an easy fix. Thanks TarpTent for the quick service.
I had a problem with my shoulder strap on my pack tearing off. It tore halfway across, but I called ULA and they shipped one out to me to use while I mailed mine in for repair. I got it in Stormville, NY.
I found out there was a local pizza place another half-mile up the road. I figured I didn’t walk all the way to the Post Office to miss out on pizza. They had huge slices for about $3. There was a little bar next door I thought I’d go to. I wanted to put off leaving for a little while, since it was 2.5 mi back to the trail and another 5 to camp, and was hoping to find a ride too if I was lucky. I met a nice guy Frank. He offered me a ride back to a place closer to Pawling, NY, where I needed to be the next morning. Frank ends up inviting me to stay at his place when it looks like rain might be coming. I had a great time with him and his family. I just want to say thanks.
One of the coolest campsites I had was on Black Mountain, just a few miles south of Bear Mountain, NY. I camped right at the top and had a great view down to the Hudson River. In the morning, I could even make out the NYC skyline way out on the horizon, supposedly 34 miles away. I was woken up about 2am by a horrendous storm. Non-stop lightning, heavy rain and wind. This was probably the only time I was really scared on the whole trip. The lightning was constant, close, and very bright, while I was camped on a rocky spot at the top of the mountain, with nothing tall around leaving me very exposed. It eventually passed, but not before I missed out on a lot of sleep.
Finally getting around to a bit of an update again.
New Jersey was one of my favorite parts of the trail I think. It wasn’t too tough, the towns were pretty frequent, and it passed by quickly. I left Delaware Water Gap, PA with Darrio, Irish, and Wicked at about 9pm after waiting for the temp to cool off a bit. We were welcomed to the great state of New Jersey by stumbling across what was probably a drug deal. Several Dominicans were hanging out in the parking lot at the state park we passed through and carrying stuff back from another car across the lot. They quickly took quite the interest in us, worrying about our headlamps, and the other lights they had seen up the mountain. Luckily, Darrio speaks Spanish which calmed them down pretty fast. Welcome to Jersey.
The first 20 or so miles were still very rocky like PA, but at least there was a lot nicer scenery to see. The ponds were clear, and fields were cool, but humid, and the ridge lines were sparse enough to have a view down to the river the first few days.
One of the coolest parts was when hiking down to Culver Gap, NJ near Branchfield. The four of us had been caught in a very heavy storm in the afternoon and were thoroughly soaked. We took a break at the shelter, and got a hitch in to the store in Branchfield. Irish and Wicked got a few needed things, and then we went to the pizza place Jimmy’s next door. The storms had come back and the rain was coming down hard. I was enticed to stay by a $6 buffet. After hanging around a bit, hoping it would pass, we met Traci. She offered to let us stay at her bunkhouse for the night. We weren’t the kind of group who likes to say “No thanks, we have to hike.” She drove us back to her place. Turns out it’s actually her anniversary, and her place is a gorgeous lake house on Culver Lake. We got to meet her husband and kids, they were all great people. We all got laundry, showers, and the next day even got rides in the boat around the lake and more pizza. I have to say Thanks to the Higgins family.
Sunrise Mountain, just outside of Culver Gap was pretty awesome. We got a ride up just a couple hours before sunset and had to wait it out. It was real nice, and probably has amazing sunrises too. Of course, waiting for a sunset means a few miles of night hiking to camp.
New Jersey is known on the AT for having the longest boardwalk section. It is about a mile long, though there are several shorter ones too. It was a nice easy walk over what would otherwise have been swampy land. I got some cool shots. There are lots of farms all over NJ too.