There are several reasons I take off-days. Now you know one reason that is
not so obvious!
It's a good idea, really. Our last campground (Beaver Hill, near Hamburg, NJ)
was nice but more pricey ($32 with hook-ups).
This morning we moved to the Round Pond Recreational Area campground, part of
the West Point Military Academy. It's the first military campground we've used
on this trip, but not the first time we've taken advantage of Jim's military
status to find great camping at a reasonable price ($21 with hook-ups).
Jim is a Viet Nam veteran in the U.S. Army and retired from the National
Guard. This is one perk that military families have. We had trouble finding any
suitable private or public campgrounds near the AT in New York, so we finally
looked in the military campground book we have. Viola! West Point is perfect for
the next few days, until we get into Connecticut.
We like our campsite, especially since it's near a lake, woods, and ripe
blackberries and red raspberries! Jim just brought in a dish full of berries
that we can snack on before bed. If you have military connections and need a
place to camp in this area (just north of Harriman and Bear Mountain state
parks), we highly recommend Pond Hill.
CATCHING MY BREATH
I was planning to take either today or tomorrow off to celebrate Jim's
birthday (August 1), get caught up on some things, and rest my body. I felt so
great yesterday on the Trail that I knew something else would go wrong soon! I'm
not pessimistic, just realistic. Every time I've had a wonderful day physically
on the Trail or run most of a section, I've developed a new problem.
It's ironic and maddening.
My most recent over-use injury is a sore tendon above my left foot (center
of leg) and now the left ankle is swollen. It hurt when I walked/ran on
Thursday and Friday, but wasn't debilitating. I iced it and continued to take Naproxen (I was already using it for the right knee/hamstring/sciatic nerve
problem, which is much better). It's probably a result of compensation for the
right leg problems. Although the ankle didn't hurt at all yesterday, it is still
Then this morning I got stung twice by an angry wasp (or two) whose nest I
apparently stepped on when taking the dogs to the woods behind our camper to
"potty." Double ouch! I always swell up a lot when stung by wasps, but haven't
had any other physical reaction. By this evening my right arm is swollen from
the elbow to the wrist and my right leg is swollen from my ankle to my knee. I
just hope it doesn't affect my run/walk tomorrow.
If it ain't one thing, it's another!!
CHANGED PERCEPTION OF NEW JERSEY
I must say, Jim and I have "done a 180" about New Jersey.
All we'd seen of the state before was closer to the coast - unattractive
industrial towns, congested cities and highways, and busy people who seemed
We both have a new respect for NJ after experiencing the beauty of the
"skylands" of the Kittatinny, Pochuck, Wawayanda, and Bearfort
mountains and the valleys in between that are full of lush wetlands and
farms and orchards.
Although some of the service people in stores and campgrounds - and drivers on
the road - still seem to lack some social graces, the local residents I have met
on the Trail were friendly and full of information about the area.
As the AT guide says, "If you have preconceptions about New Jersey, a hike on
the Appalachian Trail may change your mind." Indeed.
The drive this morning through New Jersey and New York to get from our last
campground to West Point was scenic and mountainous. You don't have to be out
West to a) slow 'way down pulling a camper up a long hill or b) slow 'way down
hauling your butt up a long hill on the AT! A thousand-foot climb or descent
pretty much feels the same here as anywhere else, especially if it's steep.
After settling into our campsite near a lake (Round Pond) high on a hill, we
decided to check out the military academy. Gosh, it's a large area, a small
city. Very hilly, very rocky, right above the wide Hudson River. We hoped to eat
dinner at the West Point Club but it was closed today. So we just drove around
through the academic (great old stone buildings!), residential, shopping,
recreational, and service areas.
Folks were assembling several hours early for a band concert on a breezy hill
overlooking the river, next to a memorial for Civil War heroes. We decided not
to attend, however; by the time we returned "home" for dinner, we'd be late for
the concert and late to bed. During this hot weather I need to get going early
in the morning on the Trail. I never have gotten out there as early as Horton or Traildawg are in their PCT and AT speed record attempts this summer, but then
I'm not putting in 50-mile days on the trail, either.
NEW WEB SERVER
For various reasons we are changing our web server this weekend. Jim spent
hours yesterday and today uploading all the photos and text on our website
(mostly this journal), then notified the new company. The site will be down for
about 24 hours sometime in the next five days. We don't know just when.
So if you read this and then can't find the topics or home page in a couple
days, just wait a day or two and check back. The URLs will be the same.
We hope we don't lose any readers because of this. Thanks so much for your
continuing interest and support in our little adventure!
If you have a minute, write and wish Jim a very happy birthday tomorrow
(August 1). Sometimes he doesn't read these entries right away, so he'll be
surprised to get some b.d. greetings!!