You squeeze them. Gently.
I woke up fairly rested at 7AM. We ate breakfast in our respective tents as the mosquitoes were still on the loose around us, waiting to strike. Albeit they have been lighter in number than in the previous few days. Again mosquitoes were the ‘rocks’ of New Jersey. Now that we’re in New York, I’m curious to find out what the ‘rocks’ of New York will be.
As it turns out, it might be boulders. We jumped, leaped, and bounded over many boulders. We even had the lemon juice squeezed from us in some rock formations (formations named “the lemon squeezer”). Many of these we had to (got to?) put away our trekking poles for.
We started the day around 8:30 when Hatcher and Stanley rolled into our camp. They had caught up that morning with an early start. After high fives and thumbs up we were off. We stopped at a water cache a few miles in. Chiquita caught up with us there as well.
I got a chance to hike with him for the first time since April. Similar to our experience in April (in Georgia back then), we encountered many pointless ups and downs on the trail. We had a good time catching up on all our respective trail happenings over the last couple months.
With the re-introduction of elevation gains and losses, joints are starting to hurt. Knees scream again on the downhill terrain, sometimes even on the ups. Yesterday, achilles flared up after our prolonged break at the creamery. Ibuprofen and Tylenol in the morning has become required rather than optional. The long rock scrambles have also been harder on my feet, as it’s harder to search out soft dirt for your foot to land on.
The terrain changes on the day were varied. Steep rock climbs, to rocky ridgelines, to narrow rock formations that required hand-over-hand bouldering. It took us passed ponds, through sprawling forests, and ultimately spilled us out at Lake Tiorati. The 12 miles to the lake took us slightly longer than anticipated.
We got in around 2PM. The water at the lake was refreshing. I haven’t waded that slowly, into water that cold in a while. The lake also served as a poor-hikers washing machine for my hiking clothes that day. Afterwards we sunbathed while our wet clothes sunbathed beside us. There were vending machines nearby, so snacks were had. The lake was so nice we decided to find a stealth site after more napping and water refills.
Hatcher and Kodiak never made it to the lake. We reached out and they both got off trail to stay at a hotel. Rabbit and I were a little confused why considering it was only 12 miles. But as they say; “hike your own hike.”
The stealth site we found was right next to the lake a short jaunt off the road. It even had a fire pit. I made a fire to chase off the bugs. It was a perfect night to camp. The sunset off the lake was magical. The camp fire was perfection in every way (and not just because I made it, as Rabbit would have you think). The temperature at night was cool enough to feel cozy in socks and long sleeves. The only thing missing were s’mores.
Luckily we had Pop tarts, Swedish fish, potato chips, beef jerky, and patent pending Chello. Chello is a food creation that I named, but learned the recipe from another hiker coincidentally named Chia. Chello = Chia seeds + Jello. It’s a revolutionary health drink featuring chia seeds, mixed with filtered river water and Mio concentrate flavoring. Chia Mio is another acceptable name. Chello and Chia Mio are also both very fun to say in an Italian accent (Try it, I dare you).
I decided to forgo the rain fly with the great view of the lake we had. Sleep came easy despite a full moon shinning through my tent. Temperature cool enough to fold my beanie down over my eyes for the first time north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
Stow away in my pack for day 109 of the Appalachian Trail.
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