Hiking: Updates from Storm's Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike (7/26/16 thru 8/1/16) | New York and Massachusetts

Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Storm (Moe) is now making his way north through Massachusetts on the Appalachian Trail. He's over 1,500 miles into his Appalachian Trail thru-hike. He started hiking the Appalachian Trail on April 6, 2016 at Springer Mountain in Georgia and is now into his fifth month of his Appalachian Trail thru hike. Here's a look back at his last several days of hiking in his own words:

July 26, 2016 - Day of Slack Packing
I woke up in my own bed again and it felt wonderful. The alarm went off at 6:30 as I was getting picked up by Jeff's dad to be brought back to the trail around 7:30. I got up showered and packed my new pack. I got picked up and we stopped at the village market in Tannersville and I got the breakfast hero sandwich. Carb load up is necessary.

We headed down the thru way back to the Bear Mt area. I got driven into Fort Montgomery so I could pick up my package from the post office there. We drove back over the Bear Mt bridge across the Hudson and back to Manitou road where I had stopped on Sunday. Dragon head started his morning at Fort Montgomery and was about 3 miles ahead of me. I hoped to catch him today.

I started on trail with Jeff's dad driving ahead to meet me. There was one kind of steep climb up to the ridge and then relatively flat on top. 3 miles and the trail descends down to US 9 and the intersection of 403. There was a shell gas station at the intersection so I stopped and had a snack. Dragon head had just been there about 15 minutes earlier and had texted me he was moving on. After my snack I moved on with several ups and downs.

When I reached Old Albany Post rd Jeff's dad was there with several other hikers chatting and with Dragon Head. I stopped and at my lunch and hiked on with Dragon head still getting slack packed. Several other roads later I finally met Jeff's dad for the last time at Dennytown Road. I filled up on water and said my goodbyes and Dragon Head and I continued on. The plan was to make it to Fahnestock State Park. We had several steep ups and downs on our way and finally we reached and crossed NY 301 and saw the lake on the other side. The trail looped around the lake and on the far side there was a beach. On the service road to the beach we found a nice stealth spot and set up our tents. Near the beach there was an outdoor shower which was nice to use. The lake itself was so low water level wise it didn't look pleasant to swim in so we skipped that.

We both ate dinner and headed to bed at about 8:45. First big mile day in the heat in awhile and it took a toll on me. Tomorrow I walk through Stormville New York area and this is where Jeff grew up so I know the area well.

July 27, 2016 - Stormville, NY and Mountain Top Deli
Today was going to be the day I walk through my old stomping ground for a few summers. From Fahnestock State Park through Stormville New York. Jeff lived and grew up near the AT in Stormville New York. I spent much time in the area when visiting him for the 15 years his parents lived in the area after he moved to Massachusetts.

Dragon Head and I woke up around 7:30 and got up and made breakfast. I tried out the new VIA from Starbucks that my friend Heather sent me from Vermont. It was darn good. We both headed up to the concessions and bathroom area waiting for it to open so we could fill up on water. We got on trail about 9:30 and trucked the 5 miles to RPH shelter and rested for a bit. When we arrived Coach, Heavy-D, c-sharp,jack rabbit were all there. They had ordered Chinese food which apparently can be delivered to the shelter. Dragon head and I rested for about 20 minutes and trekked on.

We crossed under the Taconic State Parkway and it was very surreal for me to have walked from Georgia and be in an area I knew so well. I told Dragon Head how when I first started coming down to this part of New York the Taconic was very dangerous. As thru hikers you had to cross all 4 lanes of traffic in one shot. Many of the roads cross all 4 lanes and some exits were a right turn 90 degrees into a side street. There were no exit or entrance ramps and you did all of the above with traffic going 70. When the speed limit is 55. The lanes are not normal size highway lanes but skinny just about the width of your car. Driving it to date is still uncomfortable.

From the Taconic state parkway the trail begins a Steep climb up to Hosner Mountain road. The trail descends down to the road (again very surreal as this road was the back way to Jeff's parents house) and then it climbs steeply again up to route 52. When I was at RPH I told everyone at route 52 there was a deli Mountain Top and a Pizzeria only .40 away from trail. C-sharp caught up to us just before 52 and the 3 of us walked down to Mountain Top.

When we got there 5 other hikers had gone that way after hearing me talk about it. Dragon Head and I split a large pizza and a 2 liter bottle of Mt Dew. While sitting and eating pizza another 10 or so hikers showed up all from RPH shelter. I bought a bunch of drinks from the Deli and chugged those down. After eating we both felt like it was nap time. I took my foam pad and headed behind the building where they have a grassy area. Heavy-D was laying on the grass napping so we followed suit. Slowly one by one hikers came behind the building and laid down as well. It was a sea of napping hikers on the grass. A funny sight to be had. One memory I have from Jeff's parents house were they always had rolls from Mountain Top. I bought 4 to pack out with me and a Mt Dew. Dragon head and I packed up and headed out by 4.

We climbed out of route 52 and entered a field with views of the Catskills... Yay home. We continued on with some sharp little climbs up to small rock ledges finally arriving at Morgan Stewart Shelter. This shelter is one that both Jeff and his brother Doug maintained as kids. I ate a cold dinner of rolls and ready made rice. Both Dragon head and I headed to bed about 8:30. Tomorrow we plan on going 16 or 22 miles to one of the shelters. We may split a room in Wingdale if we end up with terrible stormy weather. That remains to be seen. For now off to bed.

July 28, 2016 - Into Connecticut
Woke up at 5:30am at Morgan Stewart shelter. Gosh way to early to get up so I rolled over and went back to sleep. I did finally get up at 6 and packed up and had breakfast. Dragon head had gotten up a bit earlier and was ready before me. The mosquitos were so bad he needed to push off before me as they were swarming him. I couldn't even finish my coffee as they were relentless.

I pushed off from Morgan Stewart at about 6:45. The trail this morning was mostly downhill we a few tiny climbs. I crossed over depot hill, a set of railroad tracks and across route 55. The trail then went 1/2 way around nuclear lake. I guess the lake had been contaminated many years ago and it was a superfund site and has since been cleaned up. I stopped at Telephone Pioneer Shelter for a snack and to sign in at the log book. The trail descended down to county road 20 where the Dover Oak is. This is the largest oak on the trail at 20 feet around and estimated to be 300 years old. In another mile or so the trail crossed NY 22 where there was a nursery on the left. The nursery lets hikers rest in their gazebo. They sell cold drinks, some resupply and they let you refill on water out back of the building where they also have a outside shower.

I met up with Dragon Head here and about 14 other hikers. I bought two cold drinks and sat on the gazebo. It was getting really hot so I also took my shoes and shirt off and rinsed off in the cold shower to cool off. We learned there was a food truck on the other side of the building and a bunch of us went over and bought lunch. I got a hot dog and a soda. After about 45 minutes DH and I continued on. The trail wound through a field for about a mile and it was hot. We had a steep climb after the field and up to a ridge. We followed for three miles.

I clunked my head on a dead branch overhanging the trail as my pack caught it and pulled it down on my head. I gave myself a god size bump and a scratch but nothing major. It was really the first blood I drew on the trail so not bad for 1450 miles. We stopped at Wiley Mt shelter and cameled up on water and refilled our bottles. From the shelter we only had 4 miles to go. We met up with Eagle who ended up walking with us to Ten Mile River Shelter. After two miles we reached the sign welcome to Connecticut the gateway to New England.

The shelter has the river next to the shelter snd we were able to jump in and cool off. It was nice but the water actually wasn't too cold. It goes to show how warm it really has been. We made dinner and settled in for the night. I had been dealing with a stomachache most of the day. I figured it out it's probably due to being dehydrated from the heat yesterday do it was most likely constipation. Which made sleeping uncomfortable adding in the mosquitoes.

DH and I decided to crash in the shelter as with the impending soaking rain we didn't want to deal with wet tents. Our plan is Kent tomorrow and Trooper is supposed to be coming to New York and Jeff is going to bring her to see me tomorrow. It's been since April 15 the day she left the trail that I have seen her.

July 29, 2016 - Deep Thoughts
Today was another great day on the trail. The day started off to rain though my terrible stomachache had improved as I drank lots of water through the night. Dragon Head and I shared the shelter together with another woman. It was a hot night of sleeping at first and buggy till the rain started and cooled off. The woman at the shelter was a character and was the oddest non hiker I have met on the trail. She was nice but very curt to us when we arrived. She was from New York City with very little food, 6 glass bottles of iced tea and a small backpack. She had no sleeping pad or bag and used a gossamer covering when she slept. I don't think she liked the way our clothes smelled and asked us to lay them on the grass. I said I can but when it rains I don't want them covered in mud. I felt bad but there is not much we can do out here mid hike. She lightened up when 10 more Thru hikers showed. She definitely was a character and talked a lot of split personality disorders.

DH and I (Dragon Head for short from here on out) headed out about 8:30 as the rain had stopped. It's nice when you get a spot in the shelter as it makes it so much easier to pack up. This is the third day DH and I have walked together and I really like him and get along with him. After the initial two days of talking about the basics like family, jobs, trail life we have moved into more philosophical conversations. We both come from very different backgrounds yet have very similar beliefs and attitudes towards life. What I have enjoyed about DH has been the company. 90% of my time on the trail has been hiking alone. Luigi and I hiked several days together but mostly at our own paces and met up for snacks, lunch and camped together for a few weeks. Ompi and I hiked together for two days fully and the rest of the time set our own pace and would have lunch together and usually camp together as did the royal couple. Otter and I hiked together for a total of 5 days. I spent lots of time with him off trail such as trail days, Waynesboro etc. Dragon Head I can see myself staying with all the way to Maine. We hike the same pace, seem to pick when to do town stops the same and are very similar. I'm not sure how long we will be together but I'm enjoying it.

The solo time on the trail has been wonderful and reflective and I've had lots of time to think. Hiking with someone after not for awhile has been really enjoyable, especially the conversation. We spent most of the morning deep in conversation covering a variety of topics. One thing I love about the AT is people are generally open to listen to one another and hear people's stories and thoughts. Not everyone is always going to agree but people out here are open and respect the difference in thought. We all have had different ideas about where we are headed as a society as we look at that society from the perspective of being cut off from it in small way. It's so interesting to hear people's thoughts on this. Anyway of tangent here.

Deep in coversation we went up and down several climbs without noticing really. We caught up to Hazel who walked with us. I enjoyed her company as I believe DH did as well. We exchanged stories of some of the eccentric people out here on the trail. Many funny stories were exchanged and we had some good laughs. Now with three of us talking the time just zoomed on by. We had 9 miles to get to the town of Kent and we were there by 12:30. We walked the .80 miles into town hopping for a ride. No such luck and the town of Kent was not that far off the trail but it's nice to not have to walk extra.

We arrived in Kent and DH went to the outfitter/ice cream place. I mean come on this is a hiker paradise. Soda, doughnuts, fudge, ice cream and resupply!!!! DH needed a new spork thing as his broke like mine did back in the Smokeys. They did not have titanium so he had to settle for a new same spork. I bought a soda and a doughnut as I could not resist. We the walked down main street looking for a bank for Hazel. Then headed to the laundry and Chinese food. The three of us put all of our clothes together and did one load. A dollar a person for to wash and a dollar to dry. Wohoo. We walked over to the Chinese place and a sign said closed for vacation till August 4th. Argh!!! So we walked Main Street looking for a place to eat. We found a pizza/pub and headed there. DH got the sin city burger and this thing was the height of a steak knife. It had 4 patties on it, it was huge. I went with the chicken bacon and ranch sandwich with extra ranch! Hazel had an apple walnut salad. Great food and good company. Hazel and I head back to the laundry while DH went to the library to apply for jobs for his unemployment. We all ended up at IGA for resupply. We then brought everything to the laundromat and repacked our packs got our clothes and were off.

The day got hot even though it was not supposed to be. Some guy on a bicycle asked us where he could buy Pot (marijuana). We we're like uhm yes we are thru hikers but no we have no idea. Try the ice cream shop I said. I dunno!?! I guess two guys in their 30's and a woman in her 40's look like the pot smoking type. We laughed pretty hard. I asked Hazel if she thought that this morning when she woke up that someone would be asking her where to buy pot.

We left the town and I'm typical town leaving fashion we had the big climb. My shoes were bothering me at this point. I had swapped out my boots when I went home for a pair of trail runners that Doug had that were brand new. Well after almost three days they were causing my heels to get blisters so I need to swap them back to boots. Trooper is coming down and Jeff is picking her up tonight in Springfield MA. I get to see her tomorrow. Jeff will also bring my new old boots with him. This is the pair of hiking boots I've had at home that are two years old but only have 100 miles on them at the max. They are well broken in.

We made it to the top of the ridge and after a few more ups and downs we had the steepest decent of the whole trail. I was in the lead and had to stop a few times to think ok how am I going to get past this. After some careful maneuvering we made it to a parking area. The trail followed a gravel road for about 2 miles. The black gnats suddenly were horrendous by this dirt road. I'm not sure if it was from the soaking rain we got last night but they were swarming.

We arrived at the shelter and DH and I immediately stripped down and went in the Housatonic River to cool off and then set up camp. The three of us cooked and ate together and all crashed at about 9:30. I very much enjoyed my day with these two. Both DH and Hazel are very intelligent, funny and nice people. I don't know how long my time with them will be but when I think back on my AT hike Kent, CT will always be the day I spent with these 2.

July 30, 2016 - Trooper
Today I get to see trooper and Jeff. I'm so excited for that and to have sometime with both of them. I had a hard time falling asleep last night but once I did fall asleep I slept well. I woke up originally at 5:30, fell back asleep and got up for good at 6:30. I got packed up and had breakfast. Hazel got out early and said see you when you catch up to me. Dragon head was also up at this time and we chatted while we drank coffee. I went down to the river to filter water and it was so peaceful and beautiful.

We both got on trail at around 8am. The trail was relentless this morning with many steep ups and downs. It was again another type of roller coaster and a part of the trail that no one seems to talk about. The new to me trail runners I was trying were killing my feet and causing lots of rubbing and small blisters had formed. Dragon head was ahead of me doing a good pave which usually I can keep. Not with these shoes.

We caught up to Hazel and rested, had a snack and filtered some water. The trail continued with its ups and downs. We had a total of 9 of them. We all rolled into Pine Swamp Branch Shelter and ate lunch and rested. Only 6 more miles to meet up with Trooper and Jeff. We continue on and surprise more ups and downs though not as tough. The morning climbs really tuckered us out.

We arrived at route 7 to where Jeff was parked and I got to finally see Trooper after many months apart. They brought Mt Dew, Gatorade, egg salad, rolls, bananas, oranges, cookies, brownies and so much more. I shared with Dragon Head and Hazel. The best part was we got to slack pack the 2 miles to town. We threw our packs inside the car and did the road walk and followed the river. The two miles felt like 10 minutes. We met Jeff and Trooper and continued to slack to the town where they met us at Toymakers Cafe where they allow tenting for free.

The three of us got our tents set up as the rain was starting to fall. Dragon Head and Hazel headed into town to find water, clean up and food. Trooper, Jeff and I went to get dinner so I could spend some time with them. We ended up getting Chinese in the town of Cannan. It was nice and relaxing to be with them both. I got dropped back off to my tent at around 8 and thankfully it was still dry on the inside. They will be back again tomorrow to support me before Trooper heads back home. The Catskills are only 1.5 hour drive from where I was so not to long. I was so happy to see them and now I'm ready to crash.

July 31, 2016 - Rain, rain, rain
Woke up to rather heavy rain at Toymakers Cafe. There were about 10 tents scattered on the grounds. The cafe opened at 7 so I headed over shortly after opening to get breakfast. Hazel was inside ordering when I went in. The place was small but had a great vibe to it. I ordered egg, bacon and cheese wrap and an iced coffee. Dragon Head, Tetris and joyride all wandered in and joined Hazel and I. The food was fantastic and the service exceptional. I would definitely come back here on a day trip.

The rain let up and we rushed out to break our tents down. Just as we started the rain started back up again. Argh!! Hazel headed out first and then Dragon Head and I did. Joyride and Tetris were still behind when we headed out. There was a light drizzle as we walked. We headed by the falls on the Housatonic River which were very pretty. We caught up to Hazel and all hiked together. We climbed up Mt Prospect and I fell slipping on a root which was wet. No serious damage done but my knees were sore. Jeff, Trooper and Doug were going to meet me near Salisbury.

We descended down Mt Prospect and reached US 44 where we had a road walk to town. Hazel left us and continued on the AT. Dragon Head was going to Nero and stay at Vanessa's where he has a package. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Slack pack with Doug? stay at the hostel? Once we reached town with how sore my knees were, with rain I the way, a big climb outta town on wet rocks and not a lot of roads for slack packing I decided to stay at the hostel. It was a really short day but I didn't want to over do it.

Jeff and the gang found me at the hostel. I took a quick shower and we headed out to eat and resupply me. The rain started back up as we made it back to the hostel. I said my goodbyes and got inside about 5:30. I spent the rest of the night relaxing watching Netflix. Tomorrow the climb up and over Bear Mt should be interesting, especially if it is raining.


Storm is posting regular updates from the AT on his Trail Journal

You can also follow him on his Facebook Page, Moe Hikes the Appalachian Trail

Storm is also working to raise money for charity as he hikes the Appalachian Trail. He currently has a GoFundMe campaign that is supporting the work of the Catskill Center to protect and preserve the Catskills and the Catskill Park, where Storm lives, enjoys the outdoors and volunteers!

Read all of Storm's posts on Adventures in the Outdoors.

For more information about the Appalachian Trail

You can visit the National Park Service's Appalachian Trail Park Page, which features a link to the AT brochure and map.  Guides and maps are produced and sold for the AT as it passes through each State between Georgia and Maine.  There are several books including the Thru-Hike Planner, the AT Guidebook, the AT Thru Hiker Companion and the Data Book to name just a few that can help hikers who are planning on hiking the entire AT or sections of it. We also maintain a section for Appalachian Trail Guides, Maps and Books at on Adventures in the Outdoors Online Shop.