Our last night in Jersey was spent at a free hiker hostel in Vernon. That place was great, free shower, laundry, and a ton of hiker supplies (first aid, snacks, etc.) - we took advantage of none of it since we spent the night before in a local bar celebrating our engagement with our hiker friend Face Jacket. He invited / was convincing us to go with him to Alabama for a beach vacation. The place was booked, we just had to get there. Whoa, that would have been awesome but we are too afraid to get off trail, besides - we had friends meeting us! We stayed out late for hikers, but it was great, and the hike from there into a new state was gonna be easy 'cause our friend Danny Maurice "Otis" Freedman was meeting us in Greenwood Lake, NY. Josh and Max of Musicwood were also gonna meet us but they ended up having to work that weekend - we missed them (side note - we saw them yesterday, more on that soon, damn it)!
We hitched a ride out of Vernon to the trailhead ready for the day. First thing of the morn, a big ol' hike up Wawayanda mountain. We went from 400 feet to 1300+ in less than a mile, a bit of a crusher.
Wait. I thought this post was about NY and meeting up with Danny?
It is. I am getting there. Patience.
So, not only were we meeting up with Danny, we also had to make it to the Greenwood Lake Post Office by 5pm to get a maildrop of food from Sus' parents (thanks Leslie and John) AND a new backpack for Sus. The one she was wearing broke so REI sent her a new one for free. She bought it 2 years ago after Mexico stole her last one. Mexico the country, not the man. She was excited, but that initial climb was tough, especially with a broken pack. We only had 12 short miles to a blue blaze (side trail) that leads right into Greenwood Lake. Most of the hike was easy, 'till the end which was spent on a rocky ridge. We were constantly going up and down boulders that were sharp, not so rounded. This slows us down, and tests our patience.
You're testing our patience with this story!
Ok, ok - lemme get to the point.
We get to the post office at with 15 minutes on the clock. Sus has to switch out her old pack, for new. Finally it felt like we were on the Amazing Race (we would win that show so hard). She did it, beat the clock - now we are beat. I failed to mention that when Danny gets in we are supposed to hike 2 more miles to a campsite, not long but Danny is notoriously late. Damn, called out one of my best friends.
Anyways, he was running late, BUT, that gave us the excuse to book a hotel room on the lake, with lakeside bar seating and eating. Danny got in around 7 or so and it was great to see him. So cool of our friend from DC to drive up for the weekend, rent hiking gear, and want to join us, put in some miles. We had to celebrate this by doing the opposite: drinks on the deck! It was awesome, we will hike tomorrow.
The next morning, feeling the sting from the night before, we gathered up our gear and headed for the trailhead. Since Danny drove we did not have to hitch though he would have loved to just do it. Regardless, we parked his car in a lot near where the hot dog stand was.
Wait, wait. Hot dog stand?
Yeah, there was one by the trail run by a real gentlemen.
I asked the guy manning the place if it was cool that my friend was parking his car here for the weekend.
"I don't give a shit."
He really said that. It was awesome. He had this great gruff voice. God, what an asshole. So, Danny's car stayed there and we set off to hike around 9 miles. We didn't have a real destination in mind, just gonna stop and camp when it felt right. Which we did after 9 1/2 miles. Great little site near a pond where we could hear bull frogs. We all set up our tents, Sus started an epic fire, and we cooked dinner and sipped whiskey that Danny brought. We convinced him to come up with a trail name, which he did: Otis.
For his love of Otis Reddenbocker popcorn. That's what he called it. Otis, instead of Orville.
Nah, just playin'. It's for his love of singers / musicians named Otis. Great trailname!
It was a great night and we had learned we were getting a surprise the next morning: Our friends from Brooklyn, James and Steph were renting a car and coming to hang. Oh sweet. We would only have to hike a bit over 2 miles to a road where they would pick us up and take us to Otis's car, then back to Greenwood Lake for lunch and drinks. Also, they brought doughnuts from a new joint in BK. They were amazing. I knew they were bringing treats but daydreamed of it being a pumpernickel bagel - mmmmm, bagel (drool) - the doughnuts were just as awesome. It was really great catching up with all of them. Otis, got to see a little bit of trail life. He was wiped Sunday though we still managed to keep him there 'till 6 or so, which was awesome. We spent the day with our three visitors that ended on the water and then with a ride to the Tuxedo Motel in Tuxedo, NY - the kind of place Hits happen - it was great.
That really was an awesome way to celebrate our engagement on the trail. Thanks all 3 of you!
Great count = 13