Miles Today: 18.2
Mile Marker: 1,381.0
Last night I didn't sleep very well. The ground wasn't as even as I thought, and the temperature dropped more than expected. I sent my down quilt home and have been using a fleece blanket instead. I woke up in the middle of the night and had to clip my rain fly on to trap more heat. Then I woke up again to put on my jacket and pants. Needless to say I wasn't very motivated this morning. I started looking at my guide to see what the day was going to be like. I saw a creamery just off trail 9.5 miles in. I decided that was a perfect place for lunch.
Early in the morning I crossed the border into New York. I quickly realized I would be facing a late lunch. Immediately the quality of trail maintenance dropped. The blazes were hidden by overgrown trees and they were in terrible locations. Right out of the gate I moved into rock climbing and got disoriented several times due to a lack of blazes. Everyone else I talked to had the same problem. The trail clubs up here must still be Union, because nothing is getting done around here. I finally gave up on looking for blazes and started tracking human activity. By following the torn up moss, stepped on branches, and disturbed rocks, I was able to make my way through. The last two miles to the creamery were on an old forest service road and was much easier to follow.
When I got to the road crossing I ran into Cheese and Einstein who had camped South of me, but were more industrious this morning. They were stopped by Tentman who was providing Trail Magic. He gave me a Coke, some cliff bars, some candy, and a pair of Darn Tough socks. The socks normally retail for $20 a pair because they have a lifetime warranty. Incredible gift. Apparently he has some sort of sponsorship. He guarded our packs so we could walk the short distance to the creamery without them.
Otto and I headed down to find the rest of the hiker trash sitting outside eating their ice cream. Every single one of them was sitting on the ground because it was in the shade, and all the normal people were sitting at picnic tables in the sun. I got a milkshake and Cheese got a QUART of ice cream. He's been destroying ice cream ever since the half gallon challenge. Scoop and Goose showed up just as I was finishing up. I didn't realize until later, but Goose had to stop hiking due to an ankle injury. Their friend Andes also had to stop and find a job due to a restriction with her student work visa. It is really surprising and sad how many people have quit or had to stop this late in the game.
Around 2:00 I got going again; and Cheese, Einstein, and I leap frogged each other the rest of the day. I hiked ahead because I want to close the distance on the next town tomorrow. It turns out they are going to nearo the day I zero, so we'll see each other again.