June 21, 1998

6/21/98 Fort Montgomery, NY

13.7 miles (1380.5 total)

Had a few sprinkles but that was all. Got up to another beautiful day. Left the shelter before the ladies tenting even got up. I was pleasantly surprised to find the trail today very nice. More like a trail we’re used to, with few blowdowns or swampy areas. Stopped by Lake Tiorati Circle, near the beach, for a coke. Talked to a few people about my hike, then took off.

I just can’t get over how many chipmunks there are here. All day they screamed their high-pitched bark at me. I must have seen a hundred. They’d look at me, bark, then run away. The shelters in this park are only a little better than the ones in the Smokies. They’re dirty, full of trash, just not inviting. Plus, none of them have water.

Walked down the Palisades Interstate Parkway to a rest area listed in the guidebook. A weird feeling walking in the median with cars whizzing by. But when I get there, New York has a very different idea of what is a rest area, compared to the Midwest. A few parking spots, a bookstore with vending machines and bathrooms. I couldn’t believe no tables or even a bench to sit on. Talked to a few scouts waiting to be picked up after 3 days on the trail. Because it wasn’t restful at all, I decided to push on. Instead of stopping at the West Mountain Shelter, I want to keep going all the way to Bear Mountain and camp somewhere. There is an observation tower on top with drinking fountains and bathrooms.

Turned out to be a long climb up. I couldn’t believe all the people. A few I saw on the trail but the tower was overflowing. A lot of motorcycles. Guess everyone comes up here for a Sunday drive. The ranger said camping wasn’t allowed anywhere in the park except at the shelters. So I guess I have to do some stealth camping. On to the Bear Mountain post office, get something to eat in Fort Montgomery, then its off to the Graymoor Friary tomorrow night.