Day One Hundred Fifty-Three

Chicken of the woods, or sulphur shelf

Chicken of the woods, or sulphur shelf

Grace and I both desperately needed to catch up on sleep, so we were very pleased to take our time getting up. I had my usual egg and cheese sandwich and a big cup of tea, and then brewed my thermos-full of tea and loaded my backpack. By the time we set out for Ward Pound Ridge Reservation it was nearly noon.

We paid our admission to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, parked at Michigan Hill Road, and hit the trail at about ten minutes after one. We took the trail east, and then, where the trail comes to a T, continued eastward by bushwhacking and following my compass. We went through some dramatically boulder-strewn country, threading our way through dense copses of mountain laurel and climbing up and down ravines. We came out on the ridge trail just about where we intended to, near the site of the former fire tower.

We continued on our usual loop, heading south on the B trail and then west along the new RT trail. The day was sunny and humid, which caused me to sweat quite a bit, but the cool breeze constantly refreshed me. I got quite a workout by running to include interesting features of the trail in my ten-minute videos.

Eventually we wound our way down through the rock outcroppings into the marshy lowlands in the shade of Spy Rock. I got quite out of breath hurrying up the steep stone steps and across the rolling top of the ravines to the Spy Rock lookout. I reached it with plenty of time to spare, but then the phone ran out of battery and the video I’d been shooting wasn’t saved. Oh well. Next time.

We continued west farther than we’d intended, because the park map didn’t include one of the trails radiating out from one intersection. We soon understood the error, but we decided to continue west and bushwhack up to the top of Joe’s Hill. Using the compass and the map, we made our way upward. The area around the top was idyllic: here and there was a dramatic rock outcropping or boulder, but mostly the woods were a thick layer of grass beneath sparse tree cover.

From the top of Joe’s Hill we followed a bearing slightly east of north, intending to come in near the base of the slope up to Leatherman’s Cave. I was extremely proud of my orienteering when we stepped over a stone fence and onto the trail — about twenty feet from the intersection I’d been aiming for!

We climbed north past the cave and then east through the notch. At the top we joined the trail and walked a few hundred feet north to the overlook. While we took our much-needed rest, I shot some video of a gigantic wasp that was apparently laying eggs in a tree trunk.

We got back to the car at around 6:30. During the five-hour-plus hike, I ate two Zone Bars, drank a thermos full of sweetened tea, and ate two oranges and an apple.

On the way back to Larchmont, we talked about how my body seemed to have responded well to the protein in the beef I roasted two nights ago. With all the exercise we’d gotten, getting another one seemed like a good idea, so we stopped at Trader Joe’s and did so. Or rather Grace did. With all the sweating I’d done, I was smelling a bit too ripe for public consumption.

While the roast roasted, I had a mug of tea with a biscotti to tide me over. The beef came out very well, and again paired up beautifully with a bit of red wine. Unfortunately, between the tea and the wine, I wasn’t slated for a good night’s sleep.

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