On Thursday night I mapped out the route to include several destinations I had wanted to visit.
I parked my car and started the run at about 8:15 AM. I trotted my way across a small field and entered the woods on the Appalachian Trail (white) and the climb started immediately. The trail switched back and forth through the hardwoods as it made it's way up Green Pond Mountain.
|Climbing the Appalachian Trail|
Moments after crossing the crest I started a descent that switched back and forth along a trail soft with forest decomposition. Through the trees I could see the shimmering waters of Island Pond.
I followed the white blazes of the AT up and down the small ridges around the Island Pond. I crossed a small bridge and headed away from the waters and into the woods of Island Pond Mountain.
|The Lemon Squeezer|
After the Squeezer, there's scramble up a rock face that's harder than it appears, I had to spend a few minutes figuring out my ascent (there is an easier option). Once at the top, I took a brief look down through the squeezer and turned to finish the climb.
|Scramble after The Squeezer|
I passed over the summit and headed downward to the shadows of an evergreen forest. Entering the woods the temperature dropped and the morning sun beamed in like spotlights. The path meandered through the soft pine floor to a junction of trails that I had often seen in photos.
The Long Path transverses the border of two ecosystems a swampy marshland on my left and the evergreen forest on my right. The path rises and falls like a motocross course as it wraps its way around the marsh.
|The Long Path and Wetlands|
The Ramapo-Dunderberg climbs Black Rock Mountain across large stretches of barren rocks with sparsely populated evergreens. Blueberry bushes and seemingly misplaced boulders color the exposed landscape.
At about two-thirds of the way through my trek and at the southern most point of the route, I stopped on the top of Black Rock Mountain to check my map and to have a bite to eat.
After a quick rest I switched from the Ramapo-Dunderberg to The Nurian Trail (white) and headed north. I followed the white blazes mostly downhill and returning to the hardwood forest.
|Descending to the Valley of Boulders|
|Valley of Boulders|
The one mile trek through The Valley of the Boulders and across Stahahe Brook took over 40 minutes.
Now with the technical terrain and water crossings behind me, there's only one more mile between me and the parking lot.
|Crossing at Stahahe Brook|
Fortunately the path turns to a relatively level and grassy fire road that I'm able to hobble along with moderate success. Moving as best as I could I angled my way across the final stretch of path and reached the parking lot just as my Garmin chirped out 10 miles.
Who knew that I would only have 8 in me today?
I'm hoping hydration and rest will do the trick, but all I can say is we'll have to see how it goes.
Distance: 10 Miles
Time: 3hr 46min
Elevation Gain: 3,042 ft