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July 29, 1983 Friday (797.6 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

I was up at 5 am this morning, but wondered if Marcel and Paul had gotten up earlier and hiked past us while we slept. I doubted that they had.

The trail dropped off Arden Mountain and then crossed NY 17. Immediately afterwards we encountered the toughest road crossing on the trail - the New York Thruway Crossing. Three lanes going in one direction and three lanes going in the opposite direction. No crossing guards, no crosswalks, just cars and trucks whizzing past in a blur one after the other. I now know how a squirrel feels when it crosses a busy road darting here and there in an attempt to reach the other side. There was no choice but to make a mad dash across the highway, pause in between and sprint across the next set of lanes.

Hikers successful at crossing enter Harriman State Park soon after the Thruway. There had been some recent relocations in the park and we all agreed that the trail was wandering here and there for no reason. Tim commented that the trail crew must have given a paint brush to a "retard" and given instructions to go make a trail. I described it as "mindless meandering."

The section we passed through in between huge boulders known as the Lemon Squeezer was fun. It reminded me of "Fat Man's Squeeze" at Giant City State Park in Illinois, although there is no way that anyone could go through Fat Man's Squeeze with a backpack. The park featured many deer that were rather tame. There was no water at any of the shelters. That included West Mountain Shelter. It had a great view of the Hudson River Valley, but the pond nearby was dry. While at the shelter I discovered two cans of corn and some marshmallows. I gave one can to Tim and ate the other.

I laid at the side trail entrance until almost 6 pm before deciding the heat had diminished enough, and moved on toward Bear Mountain in hopes of getting water for the morning. The ascent of Bear Mountain involved some steep climbs, but the worst section was not very long. We found the observation tower at the summit closed, but we spotted a water fountain nearby and were grateful we had chosen to move on. A slow drizzle of precipitation began so I set up my tarp off of the main summit where I hopefully would not be discovered, but provided a good view to the river below. Later, the rain subsided so I laid out exposed to the elements on a nearby rock outcropping until about 1 am when the drizzle returned and I ventured back under the tarp for the remainder of the night. For supper I had prepared a dish of Spanish rice that Terri had given me, boosted with a package of ramen noodles. I topped it all off with chocolate pudding for dessert. I managed to get stung by a bee today as well.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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