When I attended junior high school, I ordered a copy of a book entitled “101 Elephant Jokes” from my English teacher’s book club. One of the riddles asked, “Why did the elephant wear blue tennis shoes?” Because his red ones were in the wash. So why is Don’s Brother wearing his blue shirt today? I’ll let my followers answer that one. So other than the possibility that I’m really losing it and may need those “men in their little white coats” soon, why am I talking about elephant jokes. Because today is my 101st day of hiking on the Appalachian Trail. By now I’m beginning to see as many correlations with the hike to jokes as I am with Odysseus. I’m trying to identify the humor involved in order to keep my sanity.
So after a bagel sandwich breakfast at a deli across the road from the Bear Mountain Bridge Motel, I rode the 1.8 miles back to the trail with Doug , the owner of the inn with his wife Ingrid for over forty years. A former soldier, Doug was at one time stationed at Ft. Benning. The light sprinkle that had fallen an hour earlier had subsided as I headed over the Hudson River via the Bear Mountain Bridge. Cars zoomed by me in both directions as I crossed. On the overcast, early Monday morning visibility was minimal. I did notice a large barge headed down the river.
On the eastern side of the Hudson I had to walk up the road a ways before heading back into the woods. Soon after I began the 500 foot climb, the rain commenced. At first it was a mere sprinkle; then it became a drizzle; finally, it poured. With only my slack pack, I didn’t even bother to apply my rain cover. I also walked without a rain jacket. At the top of the first incline I came across Pfeiffer and Lentil who were breaking camp. Pfeiffer was preparing for a short day on the trail before heading into New York for a few days. I found out that Lentil was going as well. After a short pause I hiked on.
Hiking carefully over the wet rocks, I still made good time. Eventually Pfeiffer and Lentil passed me. I decided to pick up my pace and try to keep with them for as long as I could. As the rain continued at first I was glad because it was cooler and kept the bugs at bay. Slogging along in wet shoes proved to be the downside. By the time we reached the Appalachian Market at US 9 I was soaked. I went inside with the others for cover. Funnybone also came into the store with us. Pfeiffer quickly talked a lady into a hitch into Peekskill, so she and Lentil were off to the train station.
While having a bite to eat I heard that a flash flood warning was in effect for the area. It was at this point that I decided that I really didn’t think it wise to continue the hike today. So with a 5.8 mile day completed by 10:00, I opted to go back to my room for the remainder of the day. Fortunately, after striking up a conversation with a store patron, I got a ride. The South Bronx fireman took me all the way to the motel. Once again, a trail angel was there when I needed one. For the remainder of the afternoon I have just been relaxing. My short day today means a longer one tomorrow as I continue the state of New York on the Appalachian Trail.