8/4 Graymoor Spiritual Center (7)

August 18, 2013 at 3:40 pm

We woke up, clean, to good food and coffee from the place across the street and almost didn’t want to face the woods again.  We were strangely ready to hike the 20 miles, and excited about seeing the trail today, but we have been out for almost 4 months now and we’re beginning to really miss hygiene and coffee.  But, the little things restored our spirits and we got going early.  This morning our motel host was much cheerier and gladly drove us to the trail head, engaging in lively conversation the whole way.  It’s amazing what a difference a shower makes. 

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We spent an hour or so loitering at the Bear Mountain Inn area, since the zoo didn’t open until 10AM.  The AT actually goes straight through the zoo. 

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The world’s fattest Woodchuck.

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Saw this bear on the trail, tried banging our poles together to chase it away but it didn’t seem to work.

We walked in to find a lot of animals that we’re pretty familiar with seeing by now, and some hikers that we have the same relationship with.  Whisper, No Rush, and Stryder were there waiting for Mailman and trailmagic. 

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A couple from NY brought us a big bag of sugary salty snacks which we quickly devoured.  Then we saw a classic hair/beard combo from the distance and realized that Roadkill and DocSpice were walking our way!  We were really excited to see our old friends from the beginning and decided to take a short day and catch up. 

We almost didn’t recognize DocSpice because of all of his dark hair, which has earned him the nickname Arabian Spice. 

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We spent a little while too long sitting on the ground at the zoo and became another exhibit eventually.  We’re still close enough to NYC that people are having a hard time differentiating us from hobos and our presence tends to cause a scene.

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Your classic hiker train across a bridge.

We hiked on to the Appalachian Trail Market a few miles later and ordered a pile of food for everyone.  As we ate outside, thunderclouds gathered overhead.  We figured it didn’t matter since we were so close to shelter but when the sky went from zero to pouring in seconds it sent a half dozen hikers into a crazed frenzy.  A chaotic blur of goretex and bandanas inspired terror as it charged the tiny deli, dropping food and colorful dry sacks along the way.  Then a smelly horde of hikers took over the deli for several hours.  But, we missed the storm. 

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Fortunately, they were very patient at the Appalachian Market.  After way too long spent at the deli, we formed a hiker train and marched to the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center, which is ostensibly a monastery that lets people tent at it.  It was a great place for a hiker reunion and people kept showing up.  We finally met Smiley and LostnFound and several others.  Stryder spent some time looking good. 

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We all had a good night. 

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