Catching sunrise at Bear Mountain was spectacular. The sun and rose colors covering the waterside town below. Who knew such beauty could be seen here. It’s a shame that the park was open only after the sun was up. Staying here was the only way to catch the sunrise. It was almost as if this one event, was saved for thru hikers like myself. Thru hikers that had enough luck or realized how awesome it would be to stay the night out on the rocks.
The sunrise came and went and I packed up quickly, I wanted to be down the mountain and get on with the day. Still I was feeling off, even with that beautiful sight I didn’t want to hike. I called Kim and see talked about job opportunities for the both of us as I descended the mountain. The large amount of trail maintenance made it easy with all the steps they had placed. Hopefully the two of us could find a care taking position or a guiding one out west. I passed more southbounders on my way into the lodge. Still the feelings of dread had a hold of me. This wonderfully cool sunny day and all I wanted to do was to hang around and do nothing.
Mulling over my options for the day, I knew I wanted to see the zoo. So I decided to wait and catchup on the weeks worth of writing that needed to get done while I waited. I sat there for hours writing when I was finally greeted by another hiker. I didn’t know him, yet he had heard of me, good things I hoped. We talked for a bit about the dread and feelings of being stagnant. His thoughts were that if I could accept I felt that way I could reinvent my own thoughts and feel a different way. Push the bad thoughts out and create some good new ones. Easy as that sounded it was still hard to achieve. He also suggested I take a day and just relax, taking time to come back to my center. That was something I felt I needed but I couldn’t yet.
Finishing up my writing, he offered his room up to me and I gracefully declined, I still had miles to do that day. Leaving, I headed for the zoo and followed the sea of people in. For how small to was there were quite a bit of people. I took my time looking at the animals and felt depressed, sad, not for me but for them. It became very apparent what kind of zoo this was. The zoos primary focus was to rehabilitate injured animals and the ones that remained here could never survive on their own. Some of the animals had survived gunshots, car accidents, and infant abandonment. It was so sad for me, here I spent the past few months living in harmony with them, even the predators and we had caused their accidents. Not me specifically but we humans had done this and that depressed me.
The next few miles were a blur as I crossed the Hudson and reached the monastery. From the mountains to the retreat, what a day. I set up my stuff and waited. Zen was to return here and we could catch up for the night and head out together in the morning. Like true Zen fashion he came back with beer and we sat drinking and catching up on our journeys through New Jersey. He had been having some physical issues and wondered if he was coming down with Lyme disease. Reminding him that we had walked 1400 miles might have a bit to do with it. He laughed loud, because his family had said the same thing. 1400 miles and he was tired, I was tired, worn out, maybe I needed that day off or maybe I had Lyme’s. Just as I fell asleep I was awoken by a young man, he had brought us Chinese food for dinner. Truly a pick me up if I had ever had one.