On Sunday, January 15, 2017 my son, Mike, and I hiked on another beautiful, blue sky morning. We section hiked New York Section #4 which is a 7.2 mile hike. After parking one car at the small trail head parking area off Rt. 55 near West Pawling, New York, we then drove around and parked our other car at the small trailhead parking area on the east side of Rt. 52 just a little ways south of I-84. We entered the woods by walking just a short way down Rt. 52 before turning left into the woods for our northbound hike.
As we had a little dusting of snow last night which I had to sweep off the car this morning, I decided to try out the pair of Kahtoola Microspikes which were sent to me by my other son Joel in Washington. Mike helped me out and took this photo while I posed. I was concerned the combination of some residual ice with a coating of snow on the surface would make for some slick areas.
I originally planned on just using the spikes for a little while but I ended up using them for the entire three hour and 15 minute hike. There were definite areas where having the spikes gave me enhanced traction. I just had to be a little careful on some of the rock scramble areas so that I did not slip with the spikes on the large boulders.
This hike meanders through the woods which were all ours to enjoy as noone passed us in either direction. We came to what appeared to be a big oak tree right along the trail so I took this photo. It was not as big as the Dover Oak I photographed about five days earlier on my Section #3 hike, but it was a large tree.
After going over a small bridge spanning a stream, the AT trail then enters a small, residential area where hikers walk along a well marked road before turning left to walk along Stormville Mountain Road whose crossed over I-84. I noticed a white blaze painted on the sidewalk. It was still visible despite the half inch of snow covering it. I just forgot to photograph it. After crossing the bridge, hikers head down some stone steps and cross a bridge back into the woods.
We passed a trail sign for the Indian Pass side trail on our left.
We noticed what appeared to be a small lake or pond to our right and my AT map lists this area as Camp Ludington. It is accessed via other local roads not the AT.
We then began a climb up toward Mt. Egbert. David “AWOL” Miller’s 2016 Northbound guide lists the elevation of Mt. Egbert as 1329 feet above sea level but my altimeter did not read that high an elevation. A little before the summit there was what appeared to be a scenic lookout just off the right side of the trail. I used my Camelbak hydration system more during this hike than previously but still need practice on sucking the water out of the mouthpiece, breathing and walking at the same time. An interesting thing always happened. The first sip of the water was a little cold from being in the loop of tube outside of the pack and that sensation was followed by warmer water which was coming from the bladder inside my pack. This pattern repeated several times.
Just about one tenth of a mile past Mt. Egbert we saw a very clear directional sign for the Morgan Stewart Shelter.
This shelter was the typical three sided affair. It had the same dovetail corners as we saw earlier this past week at the Telephone Pioneer Shelter. On the inside left were a couple of camp fire pots, a small first aid kit, a broom and a paperback book. On the inside right someone wrote their approach to life’s motto which is “I live my life like the Captain of a Sinking Ship”.
I wrote an entry in the trail journal which was inside a weather proof box on the front of the shelter. The ink in the pen in the box wouldn’t flow out so I use a spare pen I had with me.
There were good signs to locate the nearby privy and water source.
We continued northbound on the trail and I will note that the trail maintainers had a very clear sign on a tree showing the southbound direction and the northbound direction for anyone leaving the shelter so I did not make a mistake this time.
After crossing Depot Hill Road, the trail starts a pretty continuous descent until you reach a set of railroad tracks and the Whaley Lake Stream which had a nice bridge over it.
The hike ended with a short climb up across the Old Rt. 55 road crossing before we came to the new Rt. 55 road crossing. We turned left and walked a short distance up the road until we crossed to return to our car. The trail side parking area had about five other cars in the lot now. They must have all hiked northbound today.
I have now hiked 87.9 miles of the AT (78.8 miles in NY, 9.1 miles in NJ). I have just one more section, section #6, plus a few miles of section #7 and I will have covered the entire 88 mile long NY section of the AT.
As if my day could not get any better, the Green Bay Packers just beat the Dallas Cowboys with a game ending field goal which eliminated the ‘Boys from the playoffs. As a devoted Philadelphia Eagles fan, I could not have been happier.