Sunday, July 28, 2013

Section 6: 9.4 Miles

Out for another trip in less than two weeks!  I think that's a record.  I'm always so busy it's hard to fit these overnights in.  It was another out and back which amounted to about 17 or so miles.  We parked at Lake Skannatiti and hiked south towards Mt. Ivy.  The section leading up to the shelter we would later stay in was great.  The Long Path Guide said this whole section was "gentle" so I wasn't surprised.  After the shelter, however, it wasn't so nice.  The next several miles were almost entirely descending, sometimes steeply.  All I could think was "Frick frick frick we have to hike the whole way back before the end of today."

After a few miles, the trail leaves Harriman and enters Letchworth Village Cemetery.  This place was utterly haunting.  It is a cemetery with graves marked only by numbers, because the occupants came from a nearby, now shut down, home for the mentally disabled.  The numbers are very representative of the way people with special needs were treated at the time - committed and then forgotten.  The whole hill had a sad aura around it.

After finishing the section in Cheesecote Mountain Park, the crappy section of the trail starts.  The trail follows the Palisades Parkway for a mile or two in the woods next to the freeway.  We were essentially bushwhacking while following faint blazes.  It was slow going and very tiring.  When we finally arrived at Mt. Ivy, we (thankfully) came out in town and bought some Gatorade from a Shell Station and filled our water bottles in the bathroom. (Yay no filtering!)

For most of the trail, we had pretty much been walking in a veritable cloud of gnats.  They were EVERYWHERE.  I ended up tripping over rocks because it was dim in the woods but if I didn't have my sunglasses on they got stuck in my eyelashes. We decided to take a road walk partway back because of the bushwhacking and the bugs.  We were offered a hitch, but Mike turned it down (much to my chagrin...I hardly thought the family of 4 looked like serial killers).

Big Hill Shelter

When we trudged (that was the only speed I had left at this point) back up to the shelter, we were greeted with a completely empty shelter with beautiful views and no bugs!  It was by far our best camping experience to date.  We could see the NYC skyline in the distance as we ate.  We even got a fireworks show.  (Why there were fireworks on July 27th I'll never know).

Making dinner at the shelter

I was sleeping peacefully until two guys trudged in at midnight, argued about where to camp, cooked food loudly, and ended up sleeping in the shelter.  The shelter's not on the AT or anything...I guess some people just like night hiking...  We woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 and were hiking out by 6:15.  Finished the 4 miles to the car by 7:45 and were home by 9am. :-)  Nature sightings - An entire family of turkeys and a coyote.


  1. ran across your journal and this about Letchworth,never heard of it until now.I googled,and 2 hours later,,, of the saddest things I've ever read.The Long Path is now on "the list".Thanks for sharing

    1. It's a good hike! The areas connecting the parks and road walks are...well... road walks but overall it's been a great experience. Can't wait to get out and do more this year.