Count it!!!!

Moments ago I just had my first encounter with a black bear.

Had just taken this picture

Heard some loud rustling to the left – sounds like one of the many deer I’d seen. Walked past the sound and looked back. The bear was staring at me. My plan regarding bears is to photograph one if the situation permits (didn’t happen here). He grunted a couple times ( he was about 20 feet away). I knew that he was sending me a message. All I could think about was finding a big tree to hide behind if he approached (also not part of the bear reaction plan book). After about 10 seconds he walked laterally (not exactly away from me) and I took my show on the road.

I was reminded of the advice/wisdom my brother Tim gave me as he dropped me off for this section of the trip- “Junco, remember this – Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face”. Mike Tyson may have had a point.

Maybe I’ll be more poised at my next bear encounter.

Island Pond:

Interstate 87

Can’t get enough mountain laurels:

A cool toad

Enjoying NY but steering clear of NYC

What a day!!!


The Empire State

The trail here in New York is quite technical. Some of the climbs and descents require the use of your hands – good thing I spent some time in the climbing gym this past year:

The blue symbol below indicates danger ahead and if you follow the blue blazes, you are offered a safer route ( you can see that the white blazed option might be tricky)

There are lots of stone fences in the woods – a reminder of when this area was clear cut for farming:

Minute rice with beef jerky and rehydrated carrots, beets, and turnips (one of my regular meals)

A few more from today:

The Appalachian Trail in northern New Jersey 

I drove from Boston (with my brother Tim) to Unionville , NY – it took about 4 hours. The AT actually then dips back into New Jersey. 

I’d been on the trail no more than 10 minutes when I ran into “Recon” who I’d last seen in the Smokies. She covers 20-30 miles a day  – yikes!!!!

Got 10 miles in on a beautiful day. Camping tonight on a ridge at 1200 feet. 

A few shots from the beautiful scenery here.

Great to be back!!

Preparations for Round Two

I’m flying to Boston today and planning to catch a ride with my brother Tim to Unionville NY tomorrow. I’ve been busy preparing for this next section – anticipating warmer weather, more bugs.

I dried a whole lot of fruit and vegetables for the next few weeks:

The thought of being able to see the NYC skyline in a few days is intriguing. I’m very curious to see how the trail designers negotiated this part of the journey.

The fact that we have undeveloped and protected public lands that continue for over 2000 miles near some of the most densely populated areas of the US is impressive.

I read this interesting article on the plane:

While hiking the southern Appalachians I met several Germans who noted that  the US is known for its efforts to manage public lands as wilderness (Thanks, Teddy R!). This article reminds us how fragile the support is for that protection.

I am so thankful to be able walk in the wilderness once again.


Another big graduation 

Yesterday, my daughter, Emily, graduated from the UC San Diego School of Medicine. In addition to my wife and children, we were joined by my wife’s sister and her husband:

Emily will shortly be heading to Denver to begin  a 3 year residency in family practice – let’s hear it for primary care!!!

I plan to return to the AT on June 12 – with great anticipation (thanks to a lighter pack without cold weather gear).

Bring on the bugs and the heat…