28, 1983 Thursday (812.4 mtg) From
Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal
night we all decided that a breakfast time commencing at 7:30 am
would work for everyone, giving us all enough time to get where
we were headed that day. I strategically changed seats for breakfast,
which included cheese scrambled eggs, sausage, and tea.
planned on only traveling 13 miles to Little Dam Lake, where I intended
to set up camp along the shore somewhere. Breakfast took much longer
than expected so we got a late start, but with the little mileage
that I needed to do, we just lazed along the rest of the morning
and stopped for numerous breaks. The trail seemed to have a lot
of little ups and downs over exposed rock projections. The Eastern
Pinnacles, and Cat Rocks, both of which were 15 - 20 foot climbs
(part of the up and down area) provided good views over the Greenwood
Lake Valley. Everyone was in need of water by the time we reached
Little Dam Lake, and since I don't drink out of anything other than
a spring that I feel comfortable with, we all moved on to the Old
Orange Turnpike where there was good piped spring just down the
road a half mile - but it was worth it.
at the spring, a guy offered to take me, Tim Platts, Marcel Montville,
Paul Nichols, and John to Monroe, NY where there was a Pizza Hut
located. I had no idea how far off the trail we were going, but
we all had a craving for pizza so we piled in, and off we went.
It seemed like we went over ten miles or more just to get to the
town, and I began to wonder how we would ever get back. But our
first order of business was eating. I had the salad bar and ordered
a medium pan pizza for myself. The others did pretty much the same.
I ate two large helpings of salad, and all but two slices of the
everyone was finished I suggested that we go over to the nearby
gas station and see what kind of ride we could find. I figured we
could talk someone into a ride easier than flagging a moving vehicle
down. We begged a ride from a lady and her daughter in a pickup
truck with a camper shell, and she agreed to give us a ride. She
got directions from the attendant at the station; however, they
were not entirely correct. We started off in the right direction,
but soon missed a turnoff. We were now on our way somewhere else.
Tim, sitting up front, tried to tell her where to go, but she did
not take his advice until we knocked on the window from inside the
camper and indicated to turn around. We turned around and headed
began to arrive and the sky became darker. All of a sudden we noticed
a police car behind us and the lights began to flash. We all thought
that we were violating some law by being in the back of the truck,
but after stopping, found out that her license plate was unable
to be seen. The plate had previously fallen off and been placed
in the back window of the shell, but had fallen half way down obscuring
the majority of the letters. What a relief! No ticket or anything.
We continued toward the trail. I was really surprised at how well
the lady took the additional stress that we had imposed upon her.
Back at the spring where she dropped us off, she even offered us
a cup of goat's milk yogurt that she had made. I was willing to
try something new although the others did not seem too interested.
We thanked her for the ride and the yogurt and began the ascent
of Arden Mountain as dusk snuffed out the light of day.
and Paul chose to stay somewhere by the spring, but the "real
men" went for the evening ascent. The last section to the summit
was possible only with flashlights, and as soon as we hit a high
point near the summit, we picked out the flattest ground around
to lay our sleeping bags down. There were rocks projecting everywhere,
and the only spots we found were just big enough to lay on and nothing
else. I found a depression on a flat rock that looked inviting only
with the help of my two inch thick pad. Good thing we did not have
to set up our tents, there was just not enough flat area. Luckily
there was no rain this evening. I had enough water, I had carried
over one gallon of water from the spring where we had been dropped
adventure today, but scary thinking that we might have to hike all
the way back to the trail from Pizza Hut. (On February 25, 2012
Marcel Montville contacted me after almost 30 years and told me
that he never worried about getting a ride back to the trail because
his boyish charm always secured him a ride, and "real men"
are smart enough not to ascend a mountain in the dark. LoL! - Thanks,
Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983