Day 90. The escapades of Happy the newly branded AT Hiker continue on, and dare I say, today they take a positive upswing. I know my readers have enjoyed his torturous tale, but don’t be fooled … he actually had a good time today!
It was a beautiful morning along the trail in NY, albeit a hot one. The temperature hit 90 degrees before the day was done, but we were fortunate to be mostly cool in the shaded trees. The few times we did venture into the sunlight, it was to enjoy a scenic view and photo op like the one above looking over Canopus Lake.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First things first, last night was a beautiful and calm one at the state park. There were about 6 of us in the field, so we enjoyed a nice fire and talked hiker talk (mainly about gear, as usual) until early in the evening. After that, no rain, no wind, and my tarp tent was a cozy home until morning. I dare say, even Happy had a good time.
Today’s hike was finally a good one in his book too. The terrain was almost all flat, and the trail nearly all an easy dirt path. Not too many rocks, not too many climbs, and don’t tell Happy … but I think I may have even seen a smile on his face once or twice. After a quick stroll, we finished today’s 5 miles by 2pm and walked up to the RPH Shelter.
And this shelter is quite impressive. It is an old cabin that was donated to the AT, opened up on one side, and converted to a hiker shelter. It has picnic tables, bunk beds, a water pump, CHAIRS, and more … it even gets pizza delivery. I dare say it is the best shelter I would have slept in.
I say would have, because Happy decided he was done smelling like a dirty hiker and wanted a shower, bad. Since the shelter is off a residential road, we called a cab and headed to nearby Fishkill for a motel. I can’t say I’m too upset myself, getting a bed, shower, and laundry is always a welcome treat. As I write this, we are digesting the largest chicken parmigiana dinners either of us have ever eaten, and laughing hysterically to a Marx Brothers movie on TV.
This was also a good time to stop in a town, as our food was running low and we both needed a few resupply items. Tomorrow we go back to the trail and head to the Morgan Stewart Shelter, then we’ll reach Pawling, just 1 day behind schedule. It sounds like we will stick to our plan of a motel that night as well, so once again I’m living the life of AT luxury.
It’s a really nice change of pace, to hike slow and do single digit miles, and it has allowed my to see more of the trail’s surroundings. I also don’t need to stare at my feet to avoid rocks anymore, which is of course nice. Today I witnessed a colony of giant beetles building a hive-like structure, a family of baby geese crossing the road, and a huge kingsnake slithering near the trail (Happy saw this too, I’ve never seen him jump that high nor run that fast). I don’t have the luxury of maintaining this pace forever, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts. Having my dad come join me out here is fantastic, even if he refuses to show it.
Actually, today he may finally admit it. After 4 days on he trail, he has finally enjoyed himself enough not to complain too much. However, complaining or not, there’s always a story …
Herein lies the official and verified memoirs of Tom Neiman on his Day 4 (my Day 90):
(From Happy): It has been said that adversity and hardship breeds character … right now I feel that I am overflowing with character. It’s not that yesterday’s trail was difficult, it was just near impossible by the end. Then we camped in an open field the size of a football stadium, and passed the evening pleasantly with some other section hikers. It’s true I was fairly exhausted, but I could not fall asleep as soon as I’d hoped … it was a night of bizarre dreams. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. But I had some of the most vivid technicolor dreams I’ve ever had. They involved long stories with me arguing with Mike about where we were going to go for breakfast. All I can remember is that we argued, it seemed, for days on end. And finally, I agreed to compromise and go to iHop.
I still can’t figure it out, but I somehow ended up exiting my tent … next thing I know, it’s 2:14 in the morning and I’m standing in my underwear in an open field, waiting for a car to pick us up and take us to iHop. I eventually realized I was not sleepwalking nor dreaming, and there was no car coming in the foreseeable future to get me.
I woke up this morning feeling the equivalent gastronomical disappointment, as I knew there was no chance of enjoying pancakes at iHop nor anywhere else anytime soon. They say that dreams are made of whimsical experiences, but I sure don’t know where this one came from.
By the way, I failed to mention that getting out of my petite 1-person tent is reminiscent of Jim Carry’s exit from the mechanical rhino in Ace Ventura When Nature Calls … it truly is a birthing experience, rivaling only my spiritual awakening.
Then today came. Today was a happier day. The hiking was excellent, the company was excellent, the trail was excellent … and the motel we are staying at tonight is excellent.
Please understand, we desperately needed to have a shower and do laundry. The motel staff insistent on giving us free car wash coupons. We told them we don’t have a car. They said, we know … trust us.
All is well in Fishkill tonight.
Hello Neimans (Sharkbait and Happy)
- Start Mile: 1425.1
- Start Time: 10:15
- End Mile: 1430.1
- End Time: 13:50
- Miles Hiked: 5.0
- Miles to Go: 760.8
- Lodging: Inn at Arbor Ridge (Fishkill, NY)