My plan had been to write a real blog entry yesterday from Fort Montgomery, N.Y. … until my college friend Jeff drove 175 miles — each way — from Westchester, Pa., to spend the day with this smelly old hiker. So I took the day off. (OK, it was a near-zero after hiking 8.5 miles — 6.5 on trail, 2 on road — to get here.) So instead I thought I would give a quick numerical update of my trip so far:
Miles I have hiked.
Miles left to go.
Percent of the trail I have finished.
Days I have been on the trail. (In my first 41 days, I hiked 375 miles, including 32 miles with broken ribs. I got off the trail Aug. 26 at Franconia Notch. After five weeks of zero physical activity as my five ribs healed, I returned to Franconia Notch on Oct. 1 and have hiked 410 since.)
Miles I have averaged in those 86 days. (This includes every zero day I have taken, including the five straight while sick in the Berkshires.)
The date I will finish if I average 9.13 miles the rest of the way.
My target date for finishing. (Something’s gotta give.)
Postcards I have sent to my children. (For those scoring at home, that’s 109 postcards to Forrest and 109 to Marlowe. Each has received an average of 1.27 a day.)
Times I was accosted for snoring. As a guy who snores, I am super self-conscious about being rude to others. So during the busy season on the trail (July and August), I spent most nights in my tent, even though most hikers bring earplugs if they plan to sleep in shelters. (Translation: Lots of hikers snore.) Now that there are so few hikers out for more than just day hikes, I sleep in shelters. A few nights ago, an unhappy hiker growled, “We need to do something about your snoring.” I felt like a jerk and told this fellow southbound hiker that it was too late for me to pitch my tent that night but I would the next time I saw him. (And the odds are I could be seeing him for months since we are both headed the same way.) I was sincere and felt like an inconsiderate jerk. That night, I awoke to the sound of a hurricane blowing from this guy’s bunk. His snoring — “This one goes to eleven!” as Nigel Tufnel so perfectly put it in “Spinal Tap” — peeled the paint off the shelter walls from 1 till 3 in the morning. He that is without sin among you — yeah, I’m talking to you, Mountain Man — let him cast the first stone.