July 11th - 16th
Miles: 1365.8 - 1462.9
Whenever I come across someone who's hiked the trail before, I always ask them about fun things up ahead. The answers normally vary but the common thread that everyone mentions is that the trail just keeps getting better the further north you go. And how right they are! New York is a tough state but definitely rewarding. I think this tiny note AWOL slipped in his guide book sums up NY pretty well. The note reads: 'Despite the unimposing profile, rocks, abrupt ups and downs make this section challenging.'
What makes it so challenging (and fun) are the many rock scrambles along the way. Twice in NY I had to take my pack off, chuck it and my poles up over a ledge and climb on up to get them. Another day, I came across a ladder that someone had bolted to a boulder to help hikers get up and down the section.
New York is also known as the deli tour on the trial because of the many food stands near the road crossings. My favorite was perhaps at NY17A. Just a quarter of a mile down the road was the self-proclaimed NY's best hotdog stand and Bellvale Farms Cremery, both which I visited. Hikers always joke that we lose all of our standards after being out in the woods for so long and maybe that's the case, but darn that was some of the best pineapple sorbet and sauerkraut hotdogs I've ever had.
NY brought one of my favorite nights on the trail this far, at West Mountain Shelter. AWOL promised views to NY City at various times of the day but the high humidity meant hazy sky's and thus no such views. Disappointed, I knew my only shot would be to hike the extra .6 of a mile to West Mt. Shelter and hope NYC's lights were bright enough against the night's sky. After a tough day of hills and rock scrambles I arrived to the shelter just before sunset and to my surprise was he only one there! I set up my hammock to the shelter rafters, using the overhang as my canopy for the night. As the sky darkened I was overjoyed when the skyline started to appear and only grew more stunning as the night went on, definitely a night to remember.