Summary: 800 miles left and crossed 1400 mile mark!
Random campsite: 1380.5
Random campsite: 1400.5
Total miles: 20
We are going to get this early to leave down! We were hiking by 8:30 and even felt good about it. Waking up at 5 the day before probably helped shift us. We were even passing hikers in the morning before they were ready which has been rare before. We also passed Dirty Duck and Mishap reapplying bug spray in a parking lot at around 11.
On the trail itself we were going over a lot of ups and downs. Many were quite rocky, though some were just sort trail climbs somewhat reminiscent of Georgia. Emily's feet weren't feeling great but they were working better than they had been. After a few hours of ups and downs we passed a probable nobo (North Bound) slackpacker who told us we were "in for some fun." Which we assumed was sarcastic. However, he may have generally had a good time through the upcoming section known as the Lemon Squeezer. The first part was a narrow passage way that we somehow made it through without removing our packs. Afterwards, though, there was a sign for "easy way." The not easy way was a brief V0 boulder problem up a small cliff. We removed our packs to throw them up over the ledge before we managed to use some slabs of rock to climb up and over.
Shortly afterwards we met up with Yard Sale, our first familiar face, who we hadn't seen since Pearisburg, mile... 650? We caught up, talked about being ready to be finished, and aches and pains we had been having. She seemed in high spirits now. It's really refreshing to see someone we hadn't seen in a long time even if we hadn't hiked a particular long time with the person. We guess it was just nice to be suffering again with someone we had known in a previous time of suffering.
We took a long lunch at the lake coming up. There were vending machines, cold showers, and flush toilets. Luxury. We also saw Bear King, a LASH (Long Ass Section Hike(r)) we hadn't seen since the halfway point and met Lucky, a hiker we had heard a lot about from Grant and whose father, Papa Lucky, who had given us trail magic way back in the Shenandoahs. It was a grand ol' lunch.
*The lake had a lot of rules.
After lunch, feeling particularly jaded and powerful, we walked the road past some of the actual AT up to another trail crossing rather than backtracking 0.3 miles to the trail and hiking further. It was good for morale.
The hike to near Bear Mountain turned out to be well maintined, but, eventually, mostly made of stone steps, and steps, and steps which reminded us of the approach trail which is, to this day, still one of the hardest trail memories we have.
We finally made it to our campsite, a small spot at an overlook to the Hudson river and Peekskill which was gorgeous. We thought about hiking a half mile to the tower which apparently would yield a view of the 75 mile away NYC skyline, but figured we would cross it the next day all the same.
We didn't make it into camp until around 7:15, but it was still plenty enough of time to enjoy the evening and the wild blueberries growing all around our tent.