Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 81: Boardwalk Empire

7/9: Unionville (Lott Rd) - Wildcat Shelter
Mile: 1344.5 - 1373.4 (28.9 miles)

It's still drizzling when I wake up but I was hoping to get out early so I pack up regardless of the damp. I thought the store didn't open until 8 but it's magically open already and I snag a hot breakfast and end up starting late after all.

Then it's farmland and rural New Jersey. I get to wait while a flock of turkeys and their babies run past me down the road. Have I mentioned how much I like this state?

The trail passes through Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge which means I get to see a million birds including giant great blue herons lifting off from the swamp and so many blackbirds in the reeds. More enjoyable than the typical swamp.

Blueberries and soda, this state has so much trail magic!

Then it's a few miles of boardwalk through more swamp, it's pretty quiet and way more stable than some of the other boards I've hopped along recently. Plus my feet stay dry and flat, always a win.

The rocks are certainly still around but they aren't bad, and they aren't constant which helps.

It's another damp day but it's also cooler than it has been which is perfect and helping me love this state even more.

The ever present orange salamanders always brighten my day.

The trail heads up onto open ledges, the view is really just misty cloud but it's fantastic to be under the open sky. The wide long ledges are great, although I'm awfully glad they're dry. I'm in a fantastic mood and having a great time goofing off and singing along to old Broadway music. I'm almost in New York and it just seems fitting. Plus it makes the rocks even more fun.

And then just like that my new favorite state is over and I'm singing You've Got Possibilities at the top of lungs and I'm in New York. Well done iTunes shuffle, that was a great song to push me into NY. I wait taking silly photos and grinning like a fool. I'm not sure why this border was so much fun but it really was. I press on when it starts to drizzle and immediately pass the NY high point. No one around to share my giddiness but I'm flying high and loving this trail.

It's more ledges and big rock scrambles, I'm still having fun but there are sure some steep rocky bits that occasionally make me pause and sweat, but I'm still having a great time and bouncing along.

The views may not look amazing but they really are. I'm thinking New York might be just as fun as New Jersey. Especially if this weather holds.

Water is still scarce and I have to press on to the shelter to find anything that's actually running. It seems extra dark in the trees and I have to use a headlamp even though the sun hasn't technically set. It's a very crowded area with over 30 people tented all around. I grab water and find one of the only semi flat spots left as thunder rumbles. It's starts pouring within 10 minutes. Not just raining but a torrential downpour with some very jarring thunder. I curl into a small ball trying not to touch the edges of my tent and inhale my dinner. What an awesome day, now I just need to manage to not wake up looking like a drowned cat or using my thermarest as a raft.

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