Jim, Sue, Cody, and Tater at Springer Mtn., start of the Appalachian Trail Adventure Run


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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
Previous          Journal Topics by Date            Next
Start: NY 52/Stormville                                        
End:  NY 22/Pawling
Today's Miles:                      14.7
Cumulative Miles:         1,444.3
"There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart's controls. There is advantage in the wisdom won from pain."
- Aeschylus

Ducks swimming in Nuclear Lake

Bridge across Swamp River/puncheon through the Great Swamp, a water source for NYC.  8-4-05

Oh, I hope I learned something from the pain I experienced today. Like be more careful on wet rocks . . .

Guess who slipped off a rock and fell into a swampy creek??

My butt landed on soft, mushy black stuff. That didn't hurt anything more than my pride. What hurt was my right arm, which slammed into a rock.

It's the same arm I usually land on when I take a trail dive. It's a wonder I haven't broken it yet.

I took a photo of the golf-ball sized knot that immediately arose on the outside of the arm below my elbow and almost posted it here, but I was afraid I'd gross out too many journal readers so I haven't included it. The good news is that most of the swelling is down tonight. My arm hurts (bloody from wrist to elbow) and will turn lovely shades of blue and purple in a day or two - but it's not broken.

So I'll be back out on the Trail tomorrow. I was hoping to finish New York today, but I'm still about six miles from Connecticut.


I fell two hours after starting today's run/hike. Another hour after that, I came up on the Over-Forty Club (Red Wolf, Pokey, and Gumby), three of my favorite thru-hikers, who were taking a break on a wooden bridge over a creek. When Red Wolf saw my bloody arm and got the details about how fast it swelled up, he immediately warned me I should see a doctor ASAP because of infection and the risk of a blood clot.

He's a nurse. The mere mention of "blood clot" got my attention.

I've had what I thought were hematomas before but never knew they could be so dangerous, so I called my sister-in-law, an M.D., to ask her opinion. She agreed that I should get to a doctor today. When I was able to reach Jim, he was in transit from our last campground in NY to our new one in CT. I told him I'd call when I got to the Hwy. 22 road crossing, the next place with good access to the Trail.

When Jim was setting up the camper he got into a conversation with a woman across the "road" who lives here long-term. Linda is a nurse and knew of a walk-in clinic in nearby Torrington, CT. She called them to see how long they were open and told them I'd be coming in. She even drew us a map. How helpful!

At the clinic I saw an amiable D.O., Tracey Wiles, who cleaned up my arm properly and bandaged it lightly to keep dirt out of the wounds. Most of the swelling was down by this time (late afternoon) and she could tell by my arm movements that nothing was broken. She gave me a prescription for antibiotics in case one of the wounds gets infected, so I don't have to stop at another clinic up the road.

Since I couldn't remember when my last tetanus shot was I got one for safety's sake. That's something obvious that I should have thought about before the trek, considering how clumsy I am. Lesson learned. The doc gave me a card with the information on it so I'll know next time.

I also asked her about Lyme disease, since there were numerous signs on the Trail today about it and some of the hikers have gotten it. Dr. Wiles said her clinic saw five clear cases of the disease on Monday alone (the classic bull's-eye rash). I showed her the bump on my neck where I pulled a tick out a month ago but she said it doesn't look like Lyme disease. She told me what symptoms to watch for, however, in case I'm one of the quarter of the folks who have the disease that don't have the usual initial symptoms.

Warning to others in the Northeast where Lyme disease is rampant: Dr. Wiles said you don't even need to be out in the woods or garden to have a tick bite you. One woman who hardly ever leaves her house was one of the victims Monday. So everyone in affected areas should check themselves for ticks on a regular basis.


Today's almost 15-mile section was varied and mostly pretty. I can recommend it for either a hike or run. There were more runnable miles than I've had in weeks, plus some rock scrambles into and out of ravines. There were only a couple steep climbs and descents, and they weren't long.

The woods were pretty again, mostly hardwoods with some nice hemlocks near the end on Corbin Hill. I passed two huge oak trees on the Trail today. The white oak on County Road 20 (West Dover Rd.) is probably the largest tree on the entire AT. It is called the Dover Oak and has a girth of twenty feet. Wow.

The Trail is very pretty for about half a mile around Nuclear Lake, a beautiful lake sorely in need of a nicer name! A nuclear fuel-processing research facility operated near here until 1972. Then the National Park Service acquired the land for the Trail corridor. Reportedly the site has been cleaned up such that it is suitable for unrestricted use.

The Trail wandered into and out of several swampy areas, including the wet spot where I fell early on. The largest wetland area was near the end of the section right before Hwy. 22, and is shown in the photo above. The flowers were very pretty here, but the last part of the "trail" was very overgrown with plants taller than me and the puncheon were rotted out so badly I got pretty wet feet going through. That's the single worst-maintained section of Trail I've seen this whole trek. Fortunately, what needs repairing is only about 200 feet long.

I was treated to the sight below when I got out of the muck near the highway - the cute little Appalachian Trail train station. Metro-North Railroad operates passenger train service on these tracks, but stops at the AT "station" only on weekends and holidays.

I walked down the road a few hundred yards to a parking area to wait for Jim to come get me. I found a large shade tree to sit under and watched the traffic go by. I laughed out loud when I saw a flatbed truck carrying four huge boulders chained down, bound for some residential or commercial property somewhere. To think that people pay good money to buy huge rocks, when I've been clamoring over thousands of them in the last nine states!

While I was waiting I watched the bee-hive of activity across the road in the other parking area. A vendor with a trailer had set up a hot dog stand and was doing a brisk lunch-time business with not only hikers but also truckers and other drivers who stopped. I'm guessing the vendor is there on a regular basis. Jim decided to get a couple chili dogs when he got there. (I don't do hot dogs unless I'm starving.)

Red Wolf stopped and got some lunch there and met Jim, but Pokey and Gumby didn't get there in time. They usually hike behind Red Wolf but they meet for breaks and stay in the same place at night. Red Wolf (Dwayne) was happy to see I'd taken his advice to get off the Trail and get medical attention.

The only other thru-hikers I talked with today were "Master Blaster," a SOBO who started at Katahdin June 5, and "Dandy," a NOBO that I haven't met before.

No "trail magic" again today, but there were lots of red raspberries and blackberries for the picking . . . that's magic enough for me!

Off to bed,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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2005 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil