We started the day with a walk across the Bear Mountain Bridge. We have done such bridge walks before- I should be used to them by now, but it's still a weird experience for me to have cars zooming by on one side and water far below on the other.
Across the bridge, we started out ascent into the ridge line. The climb looked intimidating from the bridge, but ended up being not so bad. The rocks were starting to give way to soil and we took frequent water breaks.
A little while later, the trail came to a road crossing with a convenience store and deli. We stopped for drinks and ice cream and to dry out our shirts in the sun. Suddenly, a taxi pulled up and out popped Flavor Saver and Hey Whitey ( who we had last seen at the hostel on Vernon). They had zeroed the day before, and were looking to pull a slow, easy day today with a night hike. We hung out for a while and the hit the trail.
Later on, the trail crossed through a neighborhood where we stopped to sit on a rock and have some water and snacks. A woman and her daughter drove by, stopping to ask if we were ok in the heat and if we needed anything. ( we were, and we didn't). A few minutes later, they returned with frozen water bottles, Popsicles, and granola bars. How nice was that?
In the later afternoon, the heat and humidity peaked, as did the BUGS! The gnats were back, swarming around our heads in a cloud and dive bombing our eyes, ears, noses, mouths. We had our sunglasses on for protection and I was wearing my buff Tzeidel style to protect my ears. When I waved my hand in front of my face to swat them away, they actually had weight, there were so many. It was truly disgusting.
We stopped in an open field near the state park that had a water faucet. And who was setting up camp there, but the professor! We hadn't seen him since Delaware Water Gap. He had had it with the heat and the bugs for the day. After a brief rest, however, we pushed on.
We ended up at our destination, the Clarence Fahnestock State Park 2 1/2 miles later. The trailhead is one mile from the park entrance, and we got a ride on from Steve, who was on his way home after setting out water jugs at AT road crossings. The day ended with a shower in the camp bathroom!