The Face Off

June 1, 2018

Destination: RPH Shelter Today's Miles: 18.90

Start Location: Graymoor Spiritual Life Center Trip Miles: 1430.10

Trail goes over a rock wall in NY
We had a full house at the field shelter at Graymoor last night. We were strewn about on the floor and woke up to a coating of mist.

Everything was wet - sleeping bags, shoes, socks. The fog and humidity ensured we would never forget the rain from the night before. Well, maybe not “never,” but not this morning!

I woke up early but was not the first to rise. I got up a little after five and went about my routine. I was hiking by 6:15. I decided I would at least hike to the RPH Shelter about 19 miles away. Depending on the trail, the weather, how I felt, etc, I might push another few miles, up to 9 to the next shelter. I headed off into the mist.

The mist turned to light rain, and then for a brief period to heavier rain. I broke out my rain jacket for about 10 minutes and then gratefully packed it away. I hardly use it, other than for downpours or sustained heavier rains where I worry about getting cold. Today was not cold at all; it was incredibly humid. I trucked on and No Excuse and Chimney caught up to me at a road crossing. I let them pass ahead as they are young and faster. It’s amazing when people stop and take smoke breaks and then pass me later! Some of these guys are fast. Eventually I passed the two again and did not see them until later at the RPH Shelter. I went through a long patch where I didn’t like the look of the water sources so kept hiking and hiking.... In the end, I ran on two liters of water until I got to the shelter. It made my pack light at least! 

On the hike up I passed some day hikers, then had an interesting nature encounter. I walked around a turn and managed to surprise a wild turkey. I have seen a lot of wild turkeys out here, and this one was huge. It was a big male and it decided that it didn’t like me being in its turf. Usually they just run away and hide from me, this one made a bunch of noise and then stepped into the trail and squared up to me, flapping its wings and gobbling. Oh boy.... was I seriously about to have to fight off a turkey??? I mean, I know they probably have spurs like roosters, and this one was massive, but still. I lifted up my poles to make myself look big and backed up a little to give it space. Thus began the dance, because Mr. Turkey took this as a sign of weakness and started coming towards me. I raised my polls and kind of roared at it. Gillian and I had a tiny cat named Hallie who passed away right before I started the trail. She would get riled up and run around the house roaring like a little lion. I tried to channel my inner Hallie. The turkey then moved off the trail to my left and into the bushes, so I pushed ahead, only to have it come back out of the bushes towards me. What?! I hereby give this turkey the trail name Michael Myers, since he always kept coming back in the Halloween series. So Michael Myers comes flapping back gobbling at me, so I waived my trekking poles around and knocked them together a bit and kept advancing. Michael Myers ran out into the trail in front of me and headed north, away. This was a good sign. He then picked up speed and took off flying towards the east, away. And that is the store of how Hungry Cat faced off with Michael Myers and lived to tell the tale.

I hiked on and saw a few deer, and then climbed up to a nice view of Canopus Lake. The day had cleared up, but the humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I actually made it to the shelter at 2pm, and when I found out i could have food delivered to the shelter, that sealed the deal for me that I would stay. The RPH Shelter is part shelter and part cabin. It’s basically an old cabin with the back removed. It’s a good setup with a few wooden bunks and lots of floor space. There is a rusty water pump outside. The water needs to be filtered, but it is great having the source so close. After a bit, No Excuse and Chimney showed up and we called and ordered food. I got Chinese food and they actually deliver it right to the shelter! The food was delicious! 

It was a good day of hiking and less wet than I expected. It was nice to get the miles in early and relax a bit. I was grateful for good legs today, the food, shelter, and some fun turkey time with Michael Myers. Tomorrow I will probably try and hike a bit farther.

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