Day 76 on the Appalachian Trail

Last night, I could hear fireworks from time to time. After I'd fallen asleep, a quartet of off-road vehicles roared past my camp site. By the time I realized what was happening, they were gone. The morning dawned clear and started with a climb to a ridge followed by numerous 100 to 200 vertical foot ups and downs. In 3 miles, I got water from a trail angel cache. About mile 8, the Appalachian Trail dropped 500 vertical feet so steeply that I could hardly negotiate the stone steps. The work of controlling my speed plus the shock of planting my feet on the rocks hammered my legs. After a 0.4-mile road walk into Harriman State Park, I dropped my pack and sat in the shade of a tree to recuperate. I called Betsy and learned that Mom needs help recovering from her recent back surgery. Brother John and sister-in-law Marilyn are shouldering most of the load and could use some help. This news coincided with my growing disenchantment with the AT. Today was particularly unenjoyable. I found myself wondering if the trail will stay this steep and rocky for the rest of the way. The attached photo shows a tame part of the trail with scrub oak and blueberry bushes and massive rock on which I walked. If the trail stays steep and rocky, I'd rather do something else. Tomorrow I'll gather more information. On the positive side, trail magic overwhelmed me today. Water, caches, goodies at the Harriman State Park parking lot, goodies from 2014 thru hiker Raven, and a giant burrito from Clint a mile from the William Brien shelter where I'm camping tonight. Today's miles - 17.6. Total miles - 1393.0.

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