We woke up early, around 6:15, and decided that a zero day was in order. After having wet feet for four days and both of us in new shoes our feet have taken a pounding and we both had some pretty bad looking feet. We made a great decision because we ran into a big problem. We picked up our drop at the post office at 9 am after a huge breakfast at the Downsville Diner. We hit the market next door for some zero day provisions and then headed back to the hotel for some relaxation.
We sat down and sorted our box and I started making a game plan for tomorrow's hike. Here is where I hit the snag. If you're heading west out of Downsville there is a horse camp about 5 miles outside town. The map goes on for 12 miles to the next map, which is 25.2 miles. The only campsite for 35 miles is the one just outside of town. The entire map that is 25.2 miles is all land owned by New York City. There is absolutely no camping and they have their own environmental police to bust you for camping (the DEP). Their headquarters is also at the start of this 25.2 mile map. Now we have to figure out where to go. I called a car spotter and he recommended I call a place. That place recommended I drive 11 miles to a campground and didn't quite understand I was on foot and driving isn't possible. I called the Finger Lakes Trail Conference for an idea of what to do next.
The FLTC office turned out to be a dead end and a pretty bad experience. In fact, the woman who answered the phone, when I asked what they tell thru hikers to do in this long section, told me I should have planned weeks in advance and lined up my shuttles to hotels. I asked her if there was a town between Downsville and Bainbridge that I maybe couldn't see on their maps and she told me no in a very firm tone. She told me she couldn't help me and hung up. I was shocked at the treatment I received from the FLTC and I'm really upset that I called asking for help planning our day and they flat out told me they couldn't help me. We again walked back to the hotel.
We decided to blow off steam by taking some kayaks out onto the river. The Downsville Motel is right in the East Branch of the Delaware River and we took some kayaks out on the very small stream coming from the NYC-owned reservoir where you're actually allowed to boat. We had a beautiful view of the covered bridge and even saw a bald eagle flying around. It was a great way to end our long and frustrating day.
I won't tell you guys where or what we'll be doing tomorrow. I will say that this trail, so far, hasn't been the norm for us. We normally run into people who are full of information and very helpful. We've been lost, soaking wet, and now told to fend for ourselves. After nearly 3000 long-distance hiking miles to say we finally have hit a big snag is pretty impressive. I would like to say thank you to the people we talked to today who DID take the time to help us out on the phone - Richard, Tina, and Jim. Thank you! And also a big thanks goes out to Al and his employee at the sports shop/motel who sat down with us and looked at the map and tried to help out.