Saw another newt this week - BONUS! Isn't it cute?? Another hiker we passed told us that type of newt is called a Red Eft. (Those are our 9yo DD's hands, to give you an idea of the size of a newt.)
So we continued hiking. The Appalachian Trail can be a "busy" trail, especially on a nice day, so we stopped the next people we saw coming the opposite way on the trail and asked them how far it was to the trailhead. They said it was about a mile or so. (Turns out it was a good thing we had filled up on pancakes!)
Now ordinarily we would not ever do a hike like this without our backpack because it's got a first aid kit, bug spray, rain ponchos, a whistle, etc. and we are big on safety on the trail. Also we only had two bottles of water with us, which is pretty skimpy for a hike this long. HOWEVER, the trail was now in the forest where it was quite cool, and I was pretty sure I knew of a way to refill our water bottles at the other trailhead, so I thought we would be ok on the water we had. And as far as not having our pack with safety supplies, as I mentioned, the AT can be a "busy" trail on a nice day and I felt confident that if something were to happen it would not be long until other hikers came along to provide aid. And I did have the cell phone AND a signal. So we decided to go for it.
The trail wound its way through the forest for awhile, then we descended down the mountain until we got to the edge of the forest where there was this bridge:
We walked over the bridge and we were on the planks again. This area was more than just a wetland, this was a marsh. There were some beautiful cattails. The planks went on for quite some time - in the picture above it's hard to see but the planks led us all the way across to the far treeline. The reeds at times were 6ft tall or higher, it was really cool and beautiful.
(This picture is looking back at the way we had come, that's the mountain we'd just come down.)
Did you know that the Appalachian Trail is a stop on the Metro North Railroad? Isn't that cool? There were some people there who had just gotten off the train when we first got there. Just a little further on is a major road and a parking area, which is where we had stopped one other time.
Very close by to this "train station" was a garden center, and the other time we had stopped here by car I had noticed that the garden center had an Appalachian Trail sticker on one of its doors, so I suspected they would be "hiker friendly". So we walked over and sure enough they we extremely friendly and happy to let us refill our water bottles. (I'm going to give them some linky love here for being a friend to hikers: Native Landscaping Inc. They actually have some info on the Appalachian Trail on their website - cool!) We sat on the bench of the "train station" for a bit and rested, then decided to make our way BACK over the mountain. DH set his GPS to track how far we were walking, and when we eventually made it back to our car we had walked 2.62 miles, so round trip it ended up being over 5 miles we hiked that day - on a whim.
Eh, I'm going to admit that before we reached our car we started talking about what we could get to eat - we were STARVING. (We did finally manage to walk off those pancakes.) If we were good hikers, we would've had some granola and fruit (or something equally as healthy) waiting for us at the car. Not us though. We decided to call for pizza from the trail, this way it would be ready when we got to the pizzaria. Gotta love modern technology.
So we finished up our lovely afternoon at our favorite pizzaria stuffing some slimey pizza down our pieholes.
Ahhhh. Good times, good times.