Days 192 to 202, Great Barrington, MA, to Sunfish Pond NJ, 222.3 Miles, 2,183.8 Miles Total

The rest of Massachusetts and Connecticut went quickly (Connecticut’s only 52 miles). Easy hiking and numerous encounters with civilization, and I took advantage of it all, from places to eat to places to stay, to lighten the load and make some mileage. One difficulty has been the lack of water sources because of the drought, although the cool weather has helped the situation. Normally the water sources in the guide that are cited as reliable are now becoming barely reliable or totally dry, making water supply somewhat problematic but definitely manageable.

Hiking through New York and New Jersey were similar, although both have their rough spots for sure. Even though days are getting short, I’m still able to make some pretty substantial mileage, feel fortunate to still be in good shape and have the energy. Now that I’ve made firm travel plans for returning home, I’ve also upped the Yellow Blaze factor, skipping little sections here and there to make sure I keep pace with my plans. Even though my yellow blazing is a minimal proportion of the trail, I won’t claim the official ATC thru-hike in the end. I’ve known that for some time, and will leave that accomplishment to the few that actually can claim it in all honesty.

And don’t forget, every state has its “Little Maine.” There’s rugged spots here and there, but they don’t dominate the day, and they’re interconnected with stretches of open forest and soft trails that allow long episodes of daydreaming. New York defines the PUD (pointless up and down), a roller coaster affair interspersed with road crossings, and a particular rough spot reminiscent of Maine, all do-able but somewhat annoying. I can look back now to Southern Maine and New Hampshire as clearly being the most rugged part of the trail.

Civilization constantly beckons in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, just by the the traffic on the roads and the numerous places that are near the trail to stop. And I’ve took advantage of those places, to eat and stay, especially as it’s been raining through much of Connecticut and New York.

The forest has become yet even quieter, now being populated by day hikers and a few section hikers, with rare encounters of SOBOs. I saw Molasses on Bear Mountain, churning away mileage that I remember from Virginia and the Hundred Mile Wilderness. I thought my mileage was impressive! And what do you know, on my second to last day near Sunfish Pond, I hear behind me, “Big Horn?”. There, once again, was 2-Taps making his way down to Delaware Water Gap. I’ve been fortunate to see someone pretty much every day until the end. I also met Father Goose and a future thru-hiker, Second Chance, at Mohican Outdoor Center. Second Chance will be representing a rare bunch of cardiac patients, those who have essentially died from sudden cardiac arrest, and by his research will be the first with his medical history to do the AT next year. I wish you good luck!

I could have easily hiked into Delaware Water Gap, but decided instead to slow down the last three days, keep my schedule and at least camp the last night. I’m looking forward to the last hike and ending this journey!

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Housatonic River
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Connecticut Woodlands
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One of Many Stone Walls in Southern New England
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Valley Bottom near Kent, Connecticut
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Why High Mileage is Possible …
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But Wait, Every State Wants to be Like Maine! Trail to Jensen Cliffs
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Bridge Across Hudson River
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Another AT Shelter
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Two More States!
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Bear Cage at Bear Mountain State Park, Lowest Point on the AT
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Pondering at Hassian Lake
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Hudson River from Bear Mountain Ridge
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View from Bear Mountain (NYC Skyline is Visible!)
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New Jersey Forest
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Delaware River from Rocky Summit
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View from Rattlesnake Ridge
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Rock Sculptures at Sunfish Pond

 

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2-Taps Again? My Last Thru-Hike Encounter

4 thoughts on “Days 192 to 202, Great Barrington, MA, to Sunfish Pond NJ, 222.3 Miles, 2,183.8 Miles Total”

  1. Is that how a bear cage is supposed to work??? The open trails are beautiful and I’m sure you appreciate them at this point of your trek. A couple years ago someone made rock sculptures all along South Piney Trail. Around every bend there was another vignette. They were whimsical and utterly delightful. What a perfect impermanent way to say “I was here.” If you don’t feel you should claim the “ATC thru-hike” nomenclature, you should at least get your total mileage tattooed somewhere. (Just kidding!) Enjoy your last few days, Steve! You are accomplishing something a very small percentage of the population would even consider trying!

    1. Thanks, Renee, and thanks for following along! I was able to cruise through the last 500 miles without much drama, although the body is starting to revolt. I’ll have one more post for my last day, albeit a bit late!

  2. You may not be a “purist” (how many of us were?), but you’re definitely a “thru”. Send that paperwork in!
    Welcome to the club.

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