July 18th 2018
Warwick Turnpike – Elk Park (mile 1385.3)
21.8 miles
Total miles: 1405.5

I never sleep amazingly well in motels. Especially not in this shoddy one! I was keen to get going early but that never happens in town. I got a bagel for breakfast and nibbled at it. I toasted it with cream cheese but it tasted a bit stale to me. 


The Indian man running the joint was a funny character, and he loved to chat. Without knowing anything about me he said he thought I’d probably lost 20lb already on the trail. I wasn’t sure whether to take offence to that or take it as a compliment!

We were told there was a bus that goes back to the trail and I went to speak to the other two hikers sat there waiting for it. There were two older guys. One was a real negative nelly, saying he wanted to quit because everything is so expensive and it’s just going to get more expensive. And the other one asked everyone if they were famous before asking their names – really odd. I asked them where they were getting back on trail and it dawned on me that we weren’t going to the same place as them and maybe the bus wouldn’t take us where we wanted to go. 

Everyone was ready now, expecting to get the bus but after having to abandon that plan we tried to hitch. This town is in New York. Hitching is illegal in New York, actually I’m not sure it’s technically legal anywhere in the states. But we did it anyway. 

It didn’t take long and we got a ride. Jukebox had gone with Lynsey and got a hitch so Peaches, Bryce and I got a ride and picked up Professor on the way. The guy who picked us up was really nice and we asked him about the legal issue of hitching and he basically said – IDGAF about the cops. He does whatever he wants to do! 


It was going well until I realise that Peaches had given him the wrong directions and we weren’t near where we left the trail. The guy said no problem I can get you there via a shortcut. He couldn’t. We were about 5 miles behind where we needed to be and we didn’t want to re-hike 5 miles. He was so nice and took us to the right place, but our 10 minute journey took half an hour. Also on the way we kept getting diverted, apparently the storm we walked through yesterday hit Warwick pretty hard and there were a bunch of downed trees over the road. It really didn’t feel that bad while we were walking through it. 

We walked for 4 miles to the border of New Jersey and New York. Just a short 72 miles in NJ. Professor caught up to me and we ended up walking the last 6 miles to the road together. It was nice to get to know someone else, this was the first time I had been able to speak to him properly. There were some big rocks to negotiate. With every step I was grateful it wasn’t raining, these rocks would have been so treacherous in the wet. There were some big drops and big boulders. At one point there was a ladder to help you get up the rock face, but a lot of the time there were bits of scrambling and using hands. I am pretty sure Professor slowed down a lot to stick with me and make sure I didn’t slip to my death, which I appreciated.


It was tough going. I met Daisy the dog who belongs to the group of people who are slackpacking the trail and their wives are meeting them at road crossings and they stay in hotels at night. I didn’t take as many pictures or videos as I would have liked because I was busy trying to stay upright and not break my leg or neck. We saw Ballflap who we though was pretty far ahead, but he slipped on one of those we rocks this morning and he landed on his butt and was now having problems walking. 


Ballflap on the strugglebus


After 4 hours we arrived at the road crossing where Jukeboxe’s dad was meeting us with trial magic. We walked down the road to the creamery, where we would have gone anyway to get ice cream. As we approached it we could smell the ice cream! Her dad put on an amazing spread. Loads of fruit and vegetables. Sub sandwiches, chips, dips, drinks, candies…but the best part of the day was that he had brought 9 week old Sadie with him…


I played with the puppy a lot. It was jumping up and licking my ears and biting my hands and arms. I fell instantly in love with it and I wanted to smuggle her away in my pack. I ate my fair share of food and had a couple of Gatorades and also packed one out. Jukebox had a resupply package with too much in it and gave some stuff away to us. I really didn’t need to resupply! Her dad also gave me a toilet roll which was perfect because I was nearly out – the trail provided for me. Lynsey said goodbye and she got a ride with Papa Jukeboxe back to her car, and Ballflap got a ride into town with him so he could rest up. Some people went in and got ice creams but I was so full I passed up on that opportunity. Very unusual behaviour. 

At 2:30pm I decided I needed to move on or I would never make it. I stuck with Peaches for a few miles and we chatted a lot to make the time pass. We chatted about little annoyances in the group.


We crossed so many roads. Lots of little rocky ups and downs. Wasn’t as hot or as humid. Think my chafe is getting better. Shower and laundry really helped. We passed 3 or 4 water caches today. 


At one point the trail was clear either side around it and all the rocks were piled up on the trail. We had to sop and laugh. 

Parts of the trail were scrambling. The climb to Buchanan mountain was very steep and the blazes in NY so far have been terrible. We all spent a lot of time wondering if we were on the right trail. 

I fell over. It was a spectacular fall. I must have got a lot of technical points. I tripped and turned in mid air and landed on bum. No damage done. 

Peaches and I saw a bear, the first one we have seen since the Shenandoah. I didn’t get a picture but there is some video of it on YouTube.  

The last descent was a knee breaker. So steep. So rocky. So long! At the top of climb we could see and hear road, but it tool absolutely forever to get there. My knees were so sore and by the time I got to the bottom I felt like I might never be able to walk again. 

We walked across the road, over the interstate and to a parking area to get to the second trail magic of the day! A friend of Professor came to meet us and brought with her drinks, potato and kale salad, a massive homemade apple and blueberry pie with AT 2018 on the top. It was delicious. Enough for 2 pieces each. And we had cookies and candy. 

We have been so spoilt today. We knew this all this trail magic was coming, but there were some other hikers around who didn’t so it was nice to see the joy on their faces. 


We sat around and as we didn’t get there until after 7:30pm, it started to get dark. It was another two miles, uphill to the camp spot. It was getting chilly and I was envious of everyone’s warm layers. I put my sleep top on and that, mixed with the warm paved ground of the parking area, made me warm enough. 

We were full with so many goodies we didn’t want to hike any further. And then Shred arrive back to the trail so we decide to camp here at the parking area. He brought homemade cookies baked by his mum – more magic! 

I am struggling once more to keep my eyes open which is why the second part of the day is just notes. 

Pretty close to the interstate so this site is pretty loud. Inspected the legs. They look much better. Bit chilly tonight. First time in a long time. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 71






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