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ChrisCotts - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2017

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Chris "Otter" Cotts
City: Alexandria
State: Virginia
Country: United States of America
Begins: Apr 10, 2017
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, Aug 7th, 2017
Start: Delaware Water Gap PA
End: Lee MA (MM 1549.7)
Daily Distance: 255.8
Trip Distance: 511.6

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 374
Journal Visits: 7,153
Guestbook Views: 427
Guestbook Entrys: 63

Journal Plan

Appalachian Trail Map

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(Click image for full size)

Moonrise over my camp at Canopus Lake NY in Fahnestock State Pk

101 - 118 - 21 Jul-7 Aug - Delaware Water Gap PA to Lee MA

It has been a long time since I have been able to update the blog. In part, that's because I have been hiking some really long days (though not necessarily more miles, just slower). In part, that's because I have been through towns that either have no library or on days that the local library is closed. Personally, I find it very difficult to "thumb-type" a blog entry on my phone, thus the sparse updates.


Since I last blogged, I have been through the states of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. I am currently in Lee MA (at the library, where, as usual, the librarians are very kind to hikers).


The rocks did not really abate much in New Jersey, although I did have one spectacular days of relatively flat, relatively rock-free hiking from High Point State Park (where they give thru-hikers a free Pepsi) to Vernon NJ. Unfortunately, the rocks returned soon after... I also met a wonderful hostel-owner, Mosey, who is a prior thru-hiker. She had a walking postal route for over 25 years, and she thru-hiked in 2015 (and much faster than I am hiking!). I also had an opportunity to double back to The Count's place in PA and zero with The Count, Tupelo Honey, and another hiker, Lex, who I have met a couple of times on the Trail. In a 5-day period, The Count ended up driving me around for a total of about 9 hours, just to make things work. I really appreciate his kindness.


Leaving New Jersey and entering New York, the Trail changes dramatically, and not for the easier! For the first time in a long time, we are not hiking along ridges. Rather, we are hiking up and down adjacent ridges for about 3 days. The climbs are steep (actually vertical in some spots) and very rocky. Unfortunately, like the last 2 states, there are few views to reward hikers for their efforts. Surprisingly, although the Trail does go through the Hudson Valley, it doesn't really take advantage of the area which inspired an entire generation of artists to paint its wild beauty--just a couple of views. Even the day I am at Perkins Memorial Tower on Bear Mountain was misty, and what would normally be great long-distance views were obscured. Such is hiking. I'm sure the hikers a day behind me had great views! As I pass through Bear Mountain Lake, I pass the lowest point on the Trail (121 feet above mean sea level) at the bear exhibit in the Trailside Museum and Zoo and then cross the Hudson on the Bear Mountain Bridge. Passing close to West Point reminded me of wonderful boyhood times when we were stationed there 1969-72. I don't know how it is now, but in those days, there was no better place to be a little boy, anywhere in the world.


The Trail does turn, once again, along ridgelines as it heads into CT, where, compared to the last 3 1/2 states, the hiking is a bit easier. The rocks do mitigate for several miles at a time, and, although there are some sharp ups and downs, there are also long, flat walks along the Housatonic, and walks through quaint (expensive) towns. I stayed in a nice inn in Kent, where I also spent $ 91 for dinner (three salads, two entrees, dessert, and a couple of beers)! Toward the end of CT, Skip picked me up in Salisbury and took me home to his house in Agawam MA for a day, where his girlfriend Lynn (also a hiker) filled me with good food. We went to the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield MA and to see the movie Dunkirk. I really enjoyed sitting in a cool movie theater for a couple of hours, and the movie was excellent!


Hiking into MA is very similar to hiking in CT, although, for the first time in a long time, the altitude is beginning to increase. By the time I get to Mt. Greylock (north of Cheshire MA), I'll be above 3,000 feet again for the first time since Virginia.


I have hiked almost 256 miles since my last blog entry and 520+ miles since Dad dropped me off at Harper's Ferry last month on 7 July. I am rather surprised at those numbers. If I could keep up that pace (which I can't), I would be done by mid-September, but my speed will slow down dramatically over the next few weeks. I still might be done by early October.


I can't tell you how much your messages of support buoy my spirits! Thank you for thinking about me.


[Am having trouble getting photos to post at the moment, but I will post some when I can]

Entry 77 of 78
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Journal Photo

A Procrastinator's Journey...

Once I start my hike, you can see my progress and location at any time by checking out my MapShare page at:

You can also e-mail me at or through the guestbook link on this page, and I'll reply when I have connectivity


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