Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to sit down and write and entry on the 10th. The final day on the trail is always tough to document. It seems I always get caught up with everything else waiting for me once I leave the trail. So, it is over a week later, but I will see what I can remember.
I remember having a great night sleep without the rain fly on and waking feeling pretty refreshed expect for pretty sore feet (next time I am using boots instead of trail runners!) We wanted to push ourselves to make it to our goal and we also had a little bit more of a timeline than we had on previous occasions as Anne was going to be picking us up.
Peter's knee was hurting him pretty badly so whether or not he was going to make it all the way or stop at another road and get picked up later was kind of hour by hour decision. In the end, we opted to just take things at a slower, more consistent pace, and that worked out for both of us. He was able to finish the hike and I have to say, I enjoyed the more leisurely pace quite a bit! For one thing, we needed less breaks and ended up maintaining a faster pace.
At one point during the first 4 miles on the trail, we almost double backed and started heading the wrong way. That was very nearly a big disaster. Luckily we realized our mistake after a 100 yards or so and were back on track. Eventually we arrived at the south end of Canopus lake and started the hike around it. We stopped for lunch around noon when we bumped into Big Country and Aaron eating lunch on the trail very near the north end of the lake. They had just scored a bunch of free food from another thru hiker (Tiger) who it seems they regularly hike with. As we were leaving at the end of the day, we off loaded our extra food as well. They were glad to receive it.
Additionally, we may have helped land Aaron his trail name. During lunch, Big Country started laughing about how Aaron accidentally had thrown his pot, which they had just bought, in the fire while cleaning up after dinner. The guy who had sold it to him had had a lot of varieties of the stuff and this particularly one had been called Reg or Reggie. After a few good laughs, the thought cam to me "That is your trail name. Reggie!" It is up to Big Country now but I am guessing this one is going to stick.... it comes with a painful/funny story and all.
After lunch, we pressed on passing a beautiful open summit at Shenandoah Mountain and rested a couple miles from the RPH shelter at a road crossing. Peter decided to press on at this last chance and we moved along.
Trail Magic! First of all, the RPH shelter is amazing. It is a cinder block structure, with nice bunks, and is well maintained. There is even a club of locals who have adopted the shelter as there own. As it turns out, they were having a trail work party that day and had coolers of ice cold drinks, BBQ, and salad which they were enjoying and sharing with the passers by. Although I was .25 miles from Anne and the boys, I had to stop for a while! 2 Sprites, some chips and pork chop later and I was feeling great. It is amazing to me the amount of effort so many people put into the trail and around the trail culture. I know I get a lot personally out of being out there but it is a whole other thing to invest so much of yourself back into it. Pretty awesome people....
Eventually I sprinted up the hill to the road and meet Anne under the Taconic State Parkway underpass. The boys were excited to see me but commented a few times how unexcited they were to smell me! After a drive to White Plains we all enjoyed a much deserved burger at a burger house before dropping Peter off at the train station.
It was a great trip. I am looking forward to duplicating the success as often as possible. Backpacking and banking may in fact be incompatible but I was pleased to have figured out this weekend at least!
Mileage: 11.0 miles