James got up and hiked when we did, but told us he would be stopping at the first shelter to take a nap. He usually starts at nine, so our 6:30 start time may have been a bit early for him. We enjoyed getting caught up and hearing about his hike. He had met his parents in Washington DC for some sightseeing. Unfortunately, a lot of his equipment was breaking, so we did a lot of brainstorming trying to figure out how best to help him out.
The first thing we hit this morning was the Lemon Squeezer, which was so narrow we had to remove our packs and hand them through to each other. This was followed by some interesting rock climbing where we stowed poles and climbed hand over hand.
As we progressed, we were getting closer and closer to the Hudson River. We reached a shelter to stop for lunch, and a little brave chipmunk came pretty close to Keith. Keith made him some tiny peanut butter tacos using little pieces of flour tortillas. He really liked them! I later read in the shelter log that hikers were feeding chipmunks M&M's the day before!
We hiked on and soon reached a vista where you could actually see the New York City skyline on the horizon, even though we were 34 miles away (by road - I saw a mileage sign). I am putting the photo here, but I do not know if it will show up in the photo. I'll be anxious to see it on a big monitor to check for myself.
Soon we were treated to beautiful views of the Hudson River valley. The trail climbed up Bear Mountain, which also had an observation tower on top, but we were convinced you couldn't beat the views we'd had already, so didn't climb the tower. It was really hot, and so we sat at the top of the mountain and had cold drinks from the vending machines.
We didn't find any campsites, and were running out of daylight, so we ended up camping at the far end of a lake at a nice big park. I'm pretty sure camping was illegal, but we could not go on any further. There was unlocked bathrooms and some vending machines there, so we had ice cream after supper, and after breakfast the next morning! No one ever did harrass us for camping there.
- Steady and F100