July 31: mile 1462: cowboy camp on mountain top

We got up at 700 o’clock and broke camp wondering how we were going to get back to the trail.  As I was brushing my teeth in the park bathroom, Dancing Bear burst in and exclaimed: “you make hurry, I Yogi ride!”  I rushed out to find that he had chatted up a jogger who, thinking I was also German, greeted me with an enthusiastic “guten tag!”  I told her that I was from Missouri but that it was indeed a good day. She took us down town to the deli, waited while we ordered food, and then drove us back to the trail at the old oak tree.  Nice Yogiing Dancing Bear!

Weather wise, our luck ran out as temps rose to the high 80s.  We hiked about four miles through more wooden planked wet lands and came out in front of a plant nursery.  The nursery is a hiker friendly oasis that provides showers and refreshments to hikers.  We took showers and hung out in the gazebo siping lemonade.  We finally hiked out in the heat and humidity.  It really knocks the strength out of you– especially on the up hills.  After a few miles we hit the state line and left New York and into Connecticut.  

Not long after entering Connecticut we encountered the gnats that everyone warned us would be waiting for us.  After a while I had to deploy my head net for the first time on the trail.  These gnats are unbelievable– they go for your eyes.  The mosquitos are almost as bad.  We hiked in the heat and made slow progress.  Dancing Bear hiked ahead of me most of the day.  After tracking the Houscatana River for a ways I caught up with him at around eight o’clock at a real nice tenting area by the river.  He really wanted to hike on and said that we’d find something before the mountain.  I let him talk me into hiking on and set out again.  We did not find anything short of the mountain and were faced with a one mile climb at 845 with almost no light left.  We had no choice and hiked it in the dark.  At the top there were no places to tent so we were forced to sleep on the rock slabs of the overlook.  The mosquitos were ferocious so I wrapped myself in my collapsed tent with my face against the netting.  That kept them off of me but swarming where my face was against the netting.  It sounded like a generator in my face.  Not very much sleep to be sure.  I was awake for the spectacular sunrise on the rock slabs of the overlook.  Other than the sunrise, not a good night.  Happy trails.

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