And now it’s my turn…
This is Fielden Stream speaking – I let Linus write the first few posts but now I want to share my perspective on our backpacking adventures. Also so you can hear the differences of what it’s like to backpack as a woman.
As you may know we recently went hiking on the AT, section 3 of NY. What you might not know is that we almost didn’t make it and that was completely because of me! The day before our hike my knee started feeling stiff on me – this has happened before but only once a year or so – and it usually goes away if I stay off my feet and keep my knee elevated. Which I did. However the morning of our hike I woke to discover my knee the size of a grapefruit (a large grapefruit) and I was unable to walk without a cane. The first time that this had happened I had gone to a doctor and he had removed the excess fluid in there and I had been much much better. So this time I did not panic (although Linus was about to have a conniption fit) and I called the doctor, got an appointment at 9:20 AM, and was out of there at 11:00 AM walking perfectly fine. In an hour we were on the AT. I think this proves the point that I, and many women, can tolerate a whole lot of pain!!!!
As for the hike itself, we had a great day 1 as the weather was nice and a bit cool, but sunny. This section also has a lot of wildflowers growing alongside the trail as it goes through a few swampy areas and quite a few fields. I like wildflowers – in fact, you will see in upcoming posts from me a lot about all the flowers I find on the trail and my process in discovering what they are! I have posted a photo of some pink honeysuckles we saw that were just starting to bloom, but we also saw columbine, wild geraniums, wild violets (hundreds of those), and a few that I haven’t figured out yet.
We also walked by the biggest oak on the entire trail – it’s called the Dover Oak and it’s over 20 feet wide and at least 300 years old.
I took a photo of Linus being silly in front of it. We also ate a lovely sandwich here although I don’t suggest anyone else do that as the tree is right on a heavily trafficked road. Linus had a whole lot of road dust get blown on top of his lovely sandwich by a mack truck going 60 down the road. Let’s just say he was NOT happy, LOL.
I am also going to comment in these posts on the campsites a bit more than my husband Linus. The quality of the campsite is very important to me as I like to be a little bit comfortable in where I camp and also I like to enjoy our time at the campsite. That being said, Telephone Pioneers Shelter was only an ok shelter. I have stayed at much nicer ones. However, I have also stayed at much MUCH worse. ‘
This shelter has an enclosed mouldering privy. That is already a big step above than some other shelters! But it does not have very good tentsites as we could not find one that was actually flat. I think we got the best one but we were still slightly tilted all night. My only other comment on this campsite was that it was rather buggy – but a nice fire stopped the pesky critters from becoming too annoying.
We got to the shelter a little early in the afternoon so we went up about a half mile to the view on top of West Mountain which is called Cat Rocks. It’s quite a view up there – I recommend it to anyone and everyone! It would be nice to go up there in the morning and watch the sun come up – that is if you want to get up that early…
When we came back to the shelter, we were treated with guests! About 9 different hikers – all going various different distances, but mostly hiking for at least a month – arrived to camp at the shelter. Trail names were Phase 2, Shebeast, Meadowlark, Alabama, Puck, Nightcrawler, Better than Expected, Zack and Josh. Everyone was great and it made for a fun evening swapping hiking info and stories of life on the trail.
Rain came overnight, but we expected it so we were properly prepared. Had to wait it out a few hours in the tent though as the rain didn’t stop until around 8:30 or 9 AM. Then we packed up our stuff and off we went to climb back up to the top of West Mountain, see the view again, and then down about 4 1/2 miles to civilization.
A few other interesting landmarks on this section were Nuclear Lake – a nice big lake which looks very pretty for swimming and is supposedly cleared of radioactive activity although it used to have a research facility there in the 70s. Let’s just say I was not jumping in! Also there was a fun “lemon-squeezer” type rock that you had to walk through, although it is not as narrow as the actual lemon-squeezer which is farther south on the AT in NY.
All in all a nice hike, with medium to easy level of difficulty. I had a great time (as usual!) with my husband and I look forward to our next one, finishing the Connecticut AT! And it’s going to be quite a closer as this is the highest point in CT. Wish us luck and no-bum knees!