Leaving the Appalachian Trail

Great sleeping weather last night, cool with a light breeze. I got an early start as usual. The elevation trace of the day's hike looked like the teeth of a saw. Lots of short ups and downs. I drank all of my water last night and appreciated getting water at Beechy Bottom Brook after 2.4 miles. Then on to a climb to West Mountain and the descent through forests of oak and beech trees. I began the 700-foot climb of Bear Mountain first on an old road then on steep stairs. At the tower at the summit, I encountered scads of people. On the descent to the Bear Mountain Recreation Area, my right knee complained mightily. I limped along slowly in a throng of day hikers. It's become apparent reason that my right knee isn't up to the steep descents on the Appalachian Trail. Thus, I decided to leave the trail and return to Colorado. I'll be able to help Mom with her recovery from back surgery plus I'll be able to carry my share of the load at home. At length, I arrived at the recreation area and walked to the Bear Mountain Inn for water and Internet service. I decided to fly to Denver tomorrow afternoon. I hiked on past thousands of weekenders cooking hot dogs and such by a lake then through the zoo then over the broad Hudson River on a busy bridge (see photo). Another steep climb that my knee disliked, then down for water,  then back up. About 3 pm, I arrived at a highway junction with US 9 and NY 403. The Appalachian Market  occupied a corner of the intersection. I bought a pint of Ben and Jerry's and a load of sausage and veggie stew. In a half hour, I reached the Graymoor Spiritual Center, where the friars let hikers camp at the ball field and take showers. A fitting last night on the trail. Today's miles -16.6. Total miles - 1409.6.

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