Epilogue Day 5: Harriman State Park

Epilogue Day 5. And with that, I’m done (again). Thanks to yesterday’s big day, I was able to easily close out the final 19 miles today and connect the dots of my thruhike. All 2190.2 miles are now officially complete. And it feels good … mostly because I don’t have to go out again tomorrow, but also because I stuck to my promise of finishing what I started. It was a long week in the woods, and a very very wet one, but it was peaceful and lovely all the same. But, oh that rain…

Seriously, weather dictates SO MUCH of one’s experience out here. It’s significantly harder to enjoy myself in the rain, and to enjoy the treasures of the trail while avoiding the wet. Today was supposed to be cloudy and dry all day, but of course it was the opposite. I steady stream of mist and rain from morning to night. It’s not that I dislike rain, it’s just that it makes the trail so frustrating and dangerous. I spend twice the effort desperately trying to avoid puddles, in order to avoid wet socks, in order to avoid blisters. I also take twice as long walking along ridges, rocks, and boulders to keep from slipping, falling, and seriously hurting myself. The moral is lower, the pace is slower, the stops are fewer, and the terrain is tougher. It’s just not as fun.

But, as I said yesterday, attitude is a powerful thing. So I thanked the AT gods for giving me light rain instead of a downpour, and fog instead of snow. I made the most of it, remembering why I’m out here, and wandered through today’s trail in peace. I stopped for a brief snack at Fitzgerald Falls, looked out at a foggy but quietly beautiful view atop Mombasa High Point. I scaled Buchanan Mountain and Arden Mountain, forded a creek, walked through a very well maintained Harriman State Park, and saw the infamous Lemon Squeezer (a tight squeeze between two enormous boulders).

All in all, I had a good day and a good end to the Appalachian Trail. I’m not sure I’ll come back to see 98% of it ever again, but I’ll remember the great moments and memories of the adventure all the same. I hope others were inspired by my story to fulfill some of their own dreams, and others encouraged to seek out this trail in the future. It is a spiritual and emotional walking path that is was a lifeline dream to complete, and I’m forever thankful to be able to experience it.

Side note, for those interested in logistics. From Harriman State Park, I took an Uber to the Tuxedo Train Station, from there the Port-Jervis Line train to Secaucus Junction, then a subway to Penn Station, and finally the Martz bus from Port Authority to Stroudsburg (Delaware Water Gap). All in all, that travel took about 4 hours.

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!

  • Start Mile: 1373.1
  • Start Time: 08:10
  • End Mile: 1392.7
  • End Time: 13:40
  • Miles Hiked: 19.6
  • Miles to Go: 0.0