Sunday, May 14, 2012, part B: (with apologies to the late Paul Harvey) You've heard the headline: how I was Lemon Squeezed ... now here's the rest of the story.
That single moment on the trail, just north of the Lemon Squeeze crevice, where the trail goes vertical for 8 feet, was a watershed. In horizontal trail length it was essentially zero distance covered. The time taken to travel that distance was half a minute. But the repercussions have lasted for days.
This little bit of trail woke me up. It sent me to the ATC web site where I'm ashamed to admit I had never paid attention to their difficulty rating. They have created a scale characterizing the terrain that ranges from 1 (flat and easy) to 10. Parts of the AT in New Hampshire and Maine are the only ones rated '10' and described thusly:
"10 = Use of hands required for extended periods of climbing, footing
precarious, and leaping may be required — not recommended for those with
fear of heights and not in good physical condition. Shorter hikers may
be at a disadvantage"
No part of New York is given a rating higher than 5. FIVE! What have I gotten myself into??? A few days ago I passed through a stretch of trail, just after entering New York, that was slow and strenuous and really wore me down. I don't think I've fully recovered from that yet - physically. And now comes this psychological blow.
If this a 5, how in the world am I going to make it through sections rated 10?
It turns out that Monday (May 15th), a day with serious Spiritual significance for me (won't go into any detail here) was going to be showery, and Tuesday was forecast to be even wetter. So I decided to use these days (and Wednesday as well) to go back home and take care of business, do laundry and ... yes, reassess this whole thing.
I'll have more to say about the consequences of reaching this watershed in a couple of upcoming zero-day posts.
When you come to a watershed, you reach a point where the landscape turns in a different direction, and where gravity takes you to an entirely new destination. What is this new destination? I have to figure that out.
Meanwhile, there's also 'The rest of the Story' in a more mundane sense - the story of Sunday's hike - specifically the part north of Island Pond Mountain. I've deliberately separated Sunday's hike into two posts, mostly because the first post took on its own direction (post-watershed) but the second part of the hike, though it came after the first, took me temporarily back onto the familiar old (psychological) ground.
Below is the track of the entire hike, parts A and B, taken Sunday. The title is a link that takes you to more photos and data.
AT Day 123 - The Lemon Squeezer at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking near New York, New York