Morgan Stewart Shelter to Stormville, NY = 7 miles

At some point during the night, the storm that had been building up let loose. Rain & wind, and barely above freezing were the conditions that we awoke to.

While Young Dave attempted to make coffee in the shelter, I sat wrapped in my mummy bag, trying to figure out how I would extract myself from the (relative) warmth of the sleeping bag and face the day. The wind was whipping the rain into a mist that was spraying everything.

To say I was in denial would be an accurate read on the situation.

This would be when I smelled burning rubber and saw flames shooting out from under the stove. The JetBoil suffered a permanent injury. Luckily it was mostly cosmetic, and the adrenaline rush from seeing Young Dave’s sleeping bag almost go up in flames brought me quickly into the here-and-now.

Originally, our goal had been to hike into the now aptly-named Stormville and pick up a mail-drop of food at the post office. Then we would continue on to Fahenstock State Park and camp there for the night.

As we put on our raingear, I began to revise the itinerary. Depending on the weather report once we got to Stormville, we might have to spend the night elsewhere. The wind was blowing pretty hard, and every which way you turned, water would get sprayed in your face. Not good.

Right away, we had to negotiate a climb (Mt Egbert, elev. 1,329 feet) over slick, leaf covered boulders. At one point, Young Dave turned around and said (get ready for the Quote of the Day)

“Are we on the deck of a fishing boat in Alaska?”

Pretty much…

Luckily, Stormville was only about 4.5 miles up the trail, and after our ascent, it was mostly a woodland hike. From the trail crossing with NY 52, the Stormville Post Office is an additional 2 miles to the west. The wind had shifted, and luckily was at our backs as we walked the road into town. Hitchhiking is illegal in NY, and just as I contemplated maybe attempting it, I counted three NY State Police cars.

I had to remove my soaking gear in the lobby of the Post Office just to get in. The woman informed me that actually, the storm was supposed to worsen into the evening, with a chance of thunderstorms.

We hiked another mile to Stormville Pizza for some nourishment before attempting to find a place to stay. There are no motels in Stormville.

The employee at Stormville Pizza was exceedingly kind, and pointed us in the direction of East Fishkill, about 4.5 miles away. Sheets of rain were coming down now as he asked me “Are you guys going to hike there?”

“Not if I can help it,” I replied.

So began a series of incredibly expensive cab rides.

Ride to motel = $40

Once we got there, I decided to do laundry and dry out some gear. Young Dave went off in search of more fuel for the stove and Budweisers, probably. He ended up with Steve & Eydie driving him around, the wife acting as dispatcher from the front seat of their Chrysler New Yorker, the husband simultaneously driving and squinting at his iPod, which contained the Vegas standards songbook – in its entirety, it would seem. Young Dave came back with a new appreciation for the vocal stylings of Dionne Warwick.

Ride to Poughkeepsie Eastern Mountain Sports =$45 (this was a topic of debate between Steve & Eydie – “What should we charge him?” “I don’t know, what do you think?”)

Meanwhile, back at the motel, I was folding laundry, obsessively watching the weather channel, and trying to piece together an alternative itinerary. The forecast for the following morning was partly sunny with a high of 55, but the rest of the week was not so promising, especially Friday, the day we were supposed to climb Bear Mountain. Heavy rains were in the forecast. Also – all the night time lows were in the mid-30’s.

With dry gear and clothes, we decided to leave early the next morning and head for Fahenstock State Park.

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