Greymore Monastery

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July 30, 1983 Saturday (778.4 mtg) From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

We got up early this morning and headed down, away from the summit to avoid being caught stealth camping. At the base of the mountain lies Bear Mountain Lodge. A fancy building that I did not feel comfortable visiting in my hiker-garb. Besides, it was too early for it to be "open" anyway. The lodge was an impressive structure, and I marveled at the architecture as I passed by. The trail soon crossed the highway and went through the entrance of a small zoo. However, I had arrived too early and it was not open yet. This is one place on the actual trail that you cannot walk through whenever you want.

I walked the road around the zoo, and found a sign nearby that reminded me of my hometown: Highland, IL. I posed next to the sign and covered the last "S" while Tim Platts took my photo for me. I had five miles to hike today to reach Greymore Monastery, my goal for the day. With that in mind, and the morning just beginning, I decided to walk down the road to the town of Fort Montgomery to utilize the post office (Tim may have accompanied me). I sent a few post cards to various people including Chuck Winchell, a hiker I had met in 1981, and one to Grandma and Grandpa Strackeljahn. Outside the post office there was a fund raiser bake sale. I bought some cookies for the road and unable to resist them, ate a few even before I hit the road back to the trail.

I crossed the Hudson River on the Bear Mountain Bridge, a toll bridge that used to cost hikers 10¢ to cross, but this year they had ceased collecting the fee from pedestrians. The crossing marked the lowest point along the Appalachian Trail, being 64 feet above sea level. Anthony's Nose rose abruptly on the opposite side of the river. I followed the trail up the side of the nose, but chose not to take the side trail to the tip for some reason. I am sure the view would have been magnificent. I was too excited about going to the monastery I suppose, and as a result, arrived at NY 9 and the entrance to the facility by noon. I had to wait until four o'clock before being allowed to check into a room. I spent two hours in a nearby Bavarian Inn to take up the time, which seems ridiculous - I could have hiked on and covered many miles that day, or at least spent some time on Anthoy's Nose and seen the view. But Greymore Monastery was an institution on the trail, a "don't miss" kind of place. It was the place where hikers were welcomed and allowed to spend the night in a private room, do laundry, shower, have dinner and breakfast, and not have to spend any money! How could I miss this?

Around two o'clock I walked up to the monastery and chatted with one of the friars for a while. Just before 4 pm, Tim, John, Marcel, and Paul arrived. We all selected our rooms and were able to get cleaned up before the 5:30 meal. Bruce, Terri, and Eric rolled in just as dinner was being served, and were unable to clean up for the meal. Every day of the week they have bountiful meals with various menus of home cooked items. One day of the week they feature cold cuts. Of course today was the day for cold cuts! I made the best of it by eating large amounts of the various cold cuts and cheese. One particular friar seemed to be in charge of the hikers, Father Boscoe I think was his name. He continued urging us to go back and have some more food. He did not want us to go hungry. I certainly was not hungry after all the sandwiches and desserts that I consumed.

I spent the remainder of the evening making phone calls to my parents, Jim, Glen, and Dave Szabo. While talking with Mom, I instructed her to send me two days worth of food to Tyringham, Massachusetts including granola bars and junk food. I proudly told her that I had traveled 1376 miles so far, and only had 767 miles to go!! We talked for twenty minutes (cost $5.06).

Back in my room, I moved my bed closer to the lone window, which I opened to allow the breeze to enter and blow over my body. The temperature was still in the 90's. (notes from Mom)

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983

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