As expected we got a late start today. We slept in from our long trek the day prior. 10:30 am we stepped off.
Today, In about 4.5 miles we would also be leaving New Jersey for good and entering New York officially! And coming to the “Lemon Squeezer” Where apparently hikers need to take off their packs to fit between the rocks – we will see about that! An easy 4.5 miles later we came to the marker marking the state line. Small painted letters in white officiated the spot. Another state down, it always made us feel better as we seemed to be on the last stretch of our journey. A few miles later we came to Prospect Rock. Not too much to see expect for a distant lake and tree covered hills.
Hiking on the rocks we came across some metal rungs for the first time. Scrambling up distant turkey vultures circled overhead. Whether they sensed a dead animal nearby or maybe sensed our impending doom… If impending doom meant more rock scrambling, ridges, and heat – yes it was much of that. Mindless hiking now, as we went from one rock bald to another. Our shoes were barely holding together now, the tops of my shoes were shredded with holes and my feet stuck through the top. Clyde’s heel was collapsed and he had no traction whatsoever. The sun burned into our backs much like previous ridge walks. We were exposed and no breeze brought any relief.
The only relief came when we saw trail magic water. A dozen or so fresh jugs of water were laid about and we took the advantage of filling up our water bottles, drinking them and filling them up again. For the next few miles at every road crossing we came across these jugs of water. Some trail angel had left water at almost every road crossing, it was wonderful! As the water in NJ and NY was quite bad and spread far apart. We took a 25 minute break at one particular road crossing where a bunch of other hikers were enjoying the jugs of water and conversed about the trail. One guy, had his camper waiting for him at every gap. Apparently, he paid for someone to follow him along the trail so he could drive his camper to the gap and the person would shuttle him from the previous spot so he could hike to his camper at the end of the day and spend a night in his luxurious camper and then repeat the process the next day.
We entered the popular Harriman State Park where the parking lot was crowded with cars and we also saw the fellow thru hikers camper there. Harriman State Park is the second largest in the park system. It has 31 lakes and about 200 miles of hiking trails as well as beaches scenic roads and lots of wildlife to enjoy. For us though, it was just a bunch of puds one after another.
Arriving at the Lemon Squeezer, it was a tight fit but we manged to squeeze through without having to take off our packs – mission accomplished? I think we just didn’t want to have the hassle of taking off our packs. Throughout the park we passed many day hikers and people enjoying the spots along the lake. It was definitely a nice park to visit if you wanted to enjoy the water and do a few miles of trails. There was plenty of camping spots along the way and the nearby road gave the trails easy access.
Our day ended at a dirty shelter near the base of Black Mountain. The shelter was empty, and for good reason too. It was dirty and full of spiders. we sat and made our meal of ramen in there though. It was late too, almost 11:30pm. We really hated the night hiking lately, but somehow we managed to end up hiking in the dark these past few days.