Day 56

William Brien Memorial Shelter to RPH Shelter – 35.3 miles

There is much action today. I’m hiking at 5:30 AM. It rained last night and there is heavy fog and clouds to start the day. On a clear day it’s possible to see New York City from some sections of trail, but there’re no views; it’s too foggy. 

I get to Palisades Parkway, a busy four-lane divided highway, at 6:30 AM and it looks like Baltimore-Washington Parkway at rush hour. These cars are heading into NYC, about 30 miles away. How in the world am I going to crossing this road? It seems impossible to cross, but after a few minutes, a gap opens enough that I’m able to hurry across, up the wooded median embankment, and across the two travel lanes on the other side and back into the woods. 

The trail goes through Bear Mountain Zoo, but I get to the entrance before the zoo opens at 10 AM. It really annoys me that the trail goes through the zoo, which is only open 10 AM – 4 PM. Since it is closed, I must follow the official blue blazed trail around the zoo and rejoin the white blazes on the other side. Although I take the official alternate route, it still bothers me that this portion of the trail is ‘closed.’ 

Once I walk around the zoo, I cross Bear Mountain Bridge over the Hudson River. On a clear day, West Point is visible in the distance, but I’ve got nothing. 

Late morning a thunderstorm rolls in. At about 1 PM it looks like I’m not going to make the miles I want to, so I decide to just push the remainder of the day and see where I end up. By 4 PM, I have made up time and have only five miles to the shelter. At 5 PM the sky opens again with rain and thunder. I pick up the pace to get to the shelter as quickly as possible. 

I arrive at 6:30 PM to a nice cinder block structure. I open the front door and enter to see bunks and no back wall, it’s open. I feel kind of silly having gone in the front door (which faces the trail), when I could have walked around back. I didn’t know it was three-sided. It appears I’ll be here alone again (which is getting more normal and I don’t mind) until three women section hikers with a dog show up. The older ladies are chatty and very nice. They give me a bunch of food, since they are only out for a few days and have plenty: homemade cookies, banana, orange, salmon packet, among other things. 

I’m only 26.2 miles to the Connecticut line.

George Walbridge Perkins
Perkins Memorial Tower at the summit of Bear Mountain State Park.  Nothing to see here; no panoramic views of the Hudson River, Bear Mountain Bridge, West Point, and the NYC skyline. 
Nice piece of trail
Bear Mountain Bridge crossing the Hudson River. When completed in 1924, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world and is now a historic civil engineering landmark. 
Marathon from RPH Shelter to CT line
RPH (Ralph’s Peak Hikers’) Cabin

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