Today, Day 3, my husband dropped me at the VT/NY border with Jasper, and we hiked across the bridge into Crown Point. It was a beautiful day, again, and my excitement was high to finally be in a spot where we had scoped out the trail markers. I was prepared for a lot of road walking, as that is what we found when driving around the previous day. My husband drove to Crown Point and walked to meet Jasper and me as we came across the bridge.
We then took the obligatory photos by the "eastern terminus" sign, and hiked through the park to the next blue blaze we found. It was odd that the route through Crown Point was not marked with blazes or markers, but we knew there was one after the park heading in the direction I needed to go. At this point, I had the National Geographic maps for Adirondack Park, which the NCTA website suggests using for this section of the NCT. So, I felt pretty confident in where I was headed.
At this point, I was still not eating a lot due to the pain in the roof of my mouth as well as just feeling nauseous. I WAS drinking more water than I usually do, though. So, that was good. Also, I had been able to hold down the raisin bran breakfast I had consumed.
As I hiked along the highway, I enjoyed the views. One yard had a pen with chickens, but there were 2 ducks having sex in the pen. I chuckled to myself as I passed. Along the way, I passed a road sign that said, "Badger Way," and I thought of my nephew. Some road cyclists passed me and asked where I was headed. "To North Dakota," I screamed. They mumbled about that being a long distance by foot. I had to agree with them on some level. It made me smile to think that I was headed to North Dakota from Vermont. That was the first time I had really said it out loud to strangers.
About 5 miles in, I came to where my map said I should go, but there were no blazes designating it as part of the NCT route. We had NOT driven this section the night before as we were happy with the number of blazes we had been seeing. I took a break on the side of the road to study my map further. Looking at the map, I could take the road I had turned onto and still basically make it to the same location as if I were to continue precariously following Hwy 9N to Hwy 2. So, I took off the way I had drawn on my map based on the interactive map on the NCTA website. The plan was to make it to Stony Lonesome B&B.
Continuing to walk along the backroads, I made my way to Crown Point Center. I assumed there would be something like a gas station or even a small market, but there was nothing other than a flag post in the middle of an intersection of roads. I took another break to look at my map and make sure I was choosing the right road out of the 5 choices, and continued along Hwy 2.
These highways are back mountain road highways, where there is no shoulder. So, at times, I feared for my life as trucks came screaming around curves. The nice thing along this route, though, was that it followed a river, and there were small turnouts occasionally. I used one of these turnouts to take another break, realizing that my break requirements were becoming closer and closer together.
The sun was getting higher in the sky and it was getting hotter. I was drinking plenty of water and was working on the leftover lemonade that I had attempted to water down, but then added caffeinated Nuun to it later in the day. My legs and brain were tired and not having eaten much in the past 3 days was taking its toll. Reviewing my map again, I would attempt to determine how far I had to certain locations. Instead, I ended up frustrated because the mileage was NOT working out right. The distance I had already come looked like the distance I had left to go, and yet it took me less time and it was shorter. Between not having any blazes and feeling like my map was off, I was beginning to get frustrated on top of the exhaustion of not having any food.
Finally, I made it to the Penfield Museum, where I had decided I would stop for the day and wait for my husband. I had made it 13.5miles that day by about 1300. Not bad mileage considering I was feeling awful. It was not long after my arrival that my husband appeared, once again rescuing me from another failed attempt.
When he found me, he mentioned he had been driving around trying to find the trail based on the maps on the NCTA website. He was not having any luck and getting frustrated himself. We drove the routes he had taken, veering off to drive the dirt road that based on my map I would have been hiking had I continued. There were residences scattered throughout the route, and still no NCT markers. We even stopped at the trailhead designated on the NCTA interactive map, and found no signs designating the NCT. Frustrated and defeated we headed to Ticonderoga, NY to stay for the night.
Check-in time for the hotel was 1500, and it was only 1330. So, we had time to spare and decided to find a place to walk the dog. There is a beautiful park near downtown Ticonderoga where my husband had attempted to walk the dog earlier, but dogs were not allowed. Further up the river from that park was a nice paved path, which we ended up walking along for a bit. Every so often, I would stop to catch my breath and stop my head from swirling. Eventually, we got to a spot where I simply needed to sit down or I was going to pass out, and my husband was able to take Jasper into the river to cool off and do what he loves best...swim. :-)
Once they had their fill of the river, we decided to head back to the car and look at maybe heading to the hotel to check in. As we walked back to the car, the city siren went off, and a couple of military helicopters circled the air. We joked about an air raid or something. Then the fire trucks started coming.
About a block from our car, we found where the action was happening. There was a fire in a building near a gas station. As we watched the fire trucks arrive, we saw trucks from 3 different locations show up to help out, along with I think the entire population of the city on that day. event was like the most exciting thing for many, it seemed. Admittedly, I have to say we stayed and watched for a quite a bit as well. I had a wild urge to get closer, but as I told my husband, I know how annoying it is when people crowd me at my job, so I stood back taking photos instead.