All of us at the hostel arose early and ate breakfast in the hostel kitchen. At 6am, I walked a block to Highway 94 and immediately got a ride with a guy who went out of his way to deliver me to the Appalachian Trail. After a quarter-mile, the trail steepened and ascended 900 vertical feet mostly on stone stairs. Slow going. At the top, the trail improved, passing over a slow-moving stream (see photo). After 6 miles, the decent trail ended. For the next 5 miles, the AT ran across massive rock outcrops and climbed and descended steep rock faces. Why would any sane person route a trail through such a mess? Along the way, I passed into New York and ate lunch at Prospect Rock, the highest point on the AT in NY. About 2 pm, I reached Highway 17A and walked 200 yards west to a hot dog stand. I bought the two-dog specials. Trotter appeared and continued another 100 yards to the ice cream shop. I returned to the trail and walked two routine miles to the turnoff to the Wildcat shelter. I pressed on toward Fitzgerald Falls with water and campsites. At a road crossing just before the falls, a local guy advised me not to camp at the falls to avoid holiday parties. I walked 0.2 miles farther and camped on a fire road. Unconventional but so what? Trotter showed up and set up camp. A hard day but the air was delightfully cool. The next 28 miles are supposed to be hard. Today's miles - 19.1. Total miles - 1375.4.