Thursday, April 24th
AT Segment Hike 2 – Graymoor (Garrison, NY) to Bear Mountain Inn
Today we (Russ, Terri and myself) hiked a segment of the Appalachian Trail.
We parked one car at the Bear Mountain Inn and drove the other to our starting point, which was at Graymoor (Garrison, NY), home of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, in Garrison, NY.
Our first segment hike (it was actually the second, since I missed yesterday’s hike) started off with a glitch. It took us about 20-30 minutes just to find the trail (man, this is harder than we thought)! According to the AT Hiking Guide, there was a parking area, however any parking that was available was for the spiritual life center. So, after driving around in circles, we busted out Google Maps on my iPhone and were able to pinpoint where the trail was. We randomly chose a parking spot that was closest to the trail and finally put the car in park.
We geared up and were off. Rucksacks, check. Bug spray, check. Hiking poles, check. Stress and anxiety, we left those at home. The trail started off easy with relatively level terrain. We had to navigate through a few wet areas, but nothing complicated at all. A few of those areas had catwalks built over them. Piece of cake.
As we went on, the intensity ramped up. Up our first hill, breathing heavy, we climbed. My calves were burning already. I guess I don’t use my calve muscles too much in CrossFit. When we reached the top of the first hill, we stripped off a layer of clothing. I already had a good sweat going. I took a moment to snap a couple of pictures.
By this point Russ had his playlist going. He may be even more of a technogeek than me! What I thought was a battery pack turned out to be a Bluetooth speaker that he had connected to his iPhone. We had tunes.
Up and down hills we climbed. As we went on, the more challenging the climbs became. We didn’t encounter any sheer rock walls, however at times I felt like a mountain goat perched above the tree line on a rocky peak.
As we moved on and saw vistas of the Hudson River, we knew we were getting closer to our target. However, each additional hill elicited the growing complaints of, “…if there’s another hill, I’m going to kill myself” and ultimately, “Where’s the fucking bridge?”
Eventually, as the sun was getting ready to set, we reached the Bear Mountain Bridge. Even though the winter drabness still occupied the landscape, the views were spectacular. We took our time crossing the bridge, taking in the sights, sounds, and wind blowing through our hair. I took the gratuitous photos, some of which I posted on our Facebook group page.
As we touched ground on the West bank of the river, we debated where the trail picked up. Ultimately, we ended up deviating slightly off the trail and took a walking path adjacent to Hessian Lake back to the Inn. We also debated whether or not that was cheating. I say, that since the path paralleled the trail, we didn’t really cheat.
We arrived at the car, knees stiff and feet sore. We made the drive back to the starting point to pick up the other car. The distance amazed us because we just came all that way on foot. The drive home seemed a little lengthy, but we were rewarded with an awesome dinner that Terri and Russ prepared and were gracious enough to share with me. Quinoa topped with avocado, roasted corn, onion and tomato, served with a glass of red wine. Perfect end to a perfect day.