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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In Massachuuuusetts. In Massachuu-hu-setts. Hey everyone. Sorry it's been forever since we last blogged. It's just...well...there really isn't a good excuse. What tends to happen is this: something exciting and/or time-consuming happens that causes us to put off writing. The the longer we put off writing the more exciting and/or time-consuming stuff happens, and the more daunting a blog post becomes. Forgive us?

We passed mile 1,500 this morning and crossed into Massachusetts, our eleventh state. You may be saying "Hey! What happened to New York and Connecticut?" Don't fret, they're still there in all their stately glory. We had a great time traversing the AT through those states, and while I'd like to give you our typical play-by-play, it's already hiker midnight (9:00PM) and too many days have passed. Our typical format put aside, I offer you the highlight reel of the last two weeks...

Act 1: New Jersey Finito
After the heatwave, hospital visit, and subsequent three days in Branchville, NJ, we took to the trail again on a gray (and noticeably cooler) morning. Being the purists that we are, we insisted on backtracking to the exact point on the trail where our heat exhaustion episode went down. Going back to that spot before continuing northward again gave us some closure and allowed us to maintain the integrity of our thru-hike: no chance of us making it to Maine with a haunting feeling that we didn't really thru-hike because we skipped a 6-mile stint. The rest of New Jersey was gorgeous and included a few swamp-tromps through wildlife sanctuaries via long, beautiful boardwalks. In fact, we probably saw the greatest diversity of landscape to date in that state. If you're looking for a nice week-long hike along the AT with lakes, mountains, swamps, ridges, and dense forests, go to New Jersey. Great bagels to boot. They say the secret's in the water.

Act 2: New York
I'm no geologist, but it's obvious there was some serious glacier action in southern New York. One hiker pithily described the terrain as "God taking a comb through the earth." While in Pennsylvania and New Jersey we spent a good deal of time walking along ridges, we spent most of New York crossing over ridges in a perpendicular fashion. Lucky for us this yo-yo-ing was broken up by a fabulous trip to NYC with mis padres, time spent in numerous state parks, spectacular views of the Hudson River (which we crossed on a big bridge near Bear Mountain), and more bagels. Our two worlds collided as we went from the trail to Times Square and back to the trail in a weekend. We were eating trail mix in the morning and five-star Korean vegetarian food in the evening. One moment we were seeing wildlife in the wild, the next in a "trailside zoo" (yeah, that really does exist). We loved every minute of it (except for the zoo).

Act 3: Connecticut
The 52 miles in Connecticut went by in a flash. After a night at Mt. Algo, we met the parents again for a second rendezvous at Connecticut 4 near Cornwall Bridge, CT. From there we drove to visit the cousins Pear in the adorable town of Lenox, Mass, passing, en route, the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston (lord, the Berkshires they seemed dreamlike on account of that frostin'--anyone?). It would be an understatement to say we were wined an dined. In less than 24 hours we at three excellent meals, saw the BSO perform at Tanglewood amphitheater, and resupplied at not one, but two grocery stores. Hit the trail the very next day and finished the state the next evening. Aside from the intensely muggy air--which we know is no one's fault--we really have very few notable memories from CT. A blur, really. Still, hats off to the AMC-Connecticut chapter who, we now know, maintain something like 27 privies in this short section. Keep up the good work, friends.

Act 4: Back in Mass
So here we are, back at the cousin's place again after only 2.5 days. Happy to be inside tonight as the rain falls, and thankful for our perfect--I mean perfect--weather for the ascent up the spectacular Race and Everett mountains today. Lots to look forward too in this state. Still keeping our fingers crossed for a Harry Potter 7.2 somewhere along the way--we'll keep you posted.

Again, we'll be better about this whole blog thing. Promise.
Zack (and Lara)

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