Oh the rocks. You know how your feet feel after standing or walking on concrete all day. Now imagine the concrete has been smashed and is a broken ruin of sharp, jagged rubble. Hiking 20 miles on it is hard on your feet, and legs, and back... it's just hard. The rocks are sometimes large car size boulders, sometimes basketball size, and always on the trail. Even the "road" we hiked down had rocks jutting up 2 or 3 inches waiting to bite your ankles, eat your boots, or just trip you. The rocks of Pennsylvania have earned their reputation, and I am glad to be leaving them behind when I cross into NJ tomorrow.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
7:30 Woke up. Went to privy. ate breakfast (granola), packed up, sewed hole in my pocket shut, got a q tip from Beowulf
9:05 started hiking, after I decided to start taging snacks (what we call day hikers) with clothespins.
9:12 Went up rocky hill.
9:20 took a picture.
9:45 tripped on a rock
10:00 stopped to tie my shoe, get a drink, and pee
10:12 another rocky hill, cleverly avoided a tree branch hanging in the middle of the trail
10:17 made it to the top of the hill
10:20 scrambled through a tree that blocked the trail, then saw a baby garder snake.
10:58 slid down a wet rock a few feet
11:16 passed snacks wearing hunter orange unnecessarily
11:30 got to road 6.7 miles from shelter, sat ate bars with glide and Beowulf, drank water.
11:55 got more water and started hiking again up hill
12:43 still hiking up hill
12:51 flattened out, stopped to drink. Noticed my boot has a pretty large hole in it (thanks pa rocks), and noticed I'm not wearing my thundercats sweatband! I really hope I just took it off in my sleep and it's in my sleeping bag.
1:55 swallowed bug
2:15 went 6.2 miles since road caught somersault (Mizzou grad) and pork steak, lunch time (pb on a bagel and crystal light strawberry lemonade).
3:14 back on the trail, 6 more miles to the shelter for the night
4:28 scared a falcon off it's kill, a squirrel.
4:35 made it to shelter! The lion killers were here already with a fire going. And gave me a riddle: the maker doesn't need it, the buyer doesn't want it, and the user is oblivious to it.
6:00 learned about anthrosite coal, which burns for a long time, a town called Centralia, pa is on fire underneath because of it and was evacuated.
6:05 rinsed off in spring.
6:08-6:50 played a word game called contact with everyone, and worked on my spoon.
7:15 glide showed up at the shelter, I checked my sleeping bag for my sweatband nothing :'-(
7:30 boiled water for dinner
8:10 made my clothespins to tag snacks this weekend
8:17 ate my awesome backpackers pantry dinner!!
8:26 answer to riddle, a tombstone.
8:39 read shelter log book, wrote a note asking if anyone finds my wristband to try to catch me.
8:39 burned trash, hung food
8:45 went pee
8:49 stoked fire
9:01-9:16 sat by fire only grabbing small twigs I could reach without getting up to feed it. I also learned that the shelter I'm staying at tomorrow can have pizza delivered to it! Score.
9:18 heard a large crash in the dark, probably just bigfoot
9:30 got into sleepingbag
9:39 wrote in journal about today's events drew a picture, checked book to see where I'm going tomorrow, 18 miles.
9:41 saved blog, turned off phone, went to sleep.
Today I tried my hardest to accurately record exactly what I did and when. It was kinda hard but fun to look back on. I hope you enjoyed it. This is a great example of a typical day for me.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
It's crazy how after 1 full day of not hiking how I get an itch to be back in the woods. Technically the Doyle hotel in Duncannon, PA is still on the trail, I'm serious, there is a white blaze on the sidewalk right by the front door. Another crazy thing I've noticed is my incredible knack for choosing to take a zero the day after, or before it actually rains! I'll check the weather, which has been scattered showers for the week, pick the day with the highest chance of rain, yesterday, and it will be beautiful. While the day I hiked into town I got drenched and today is a nice gray day, at least it will be cool though. Always positive.
The Doyle, and this town has probably been the most hiker friendly place we've been to yet. Not just friendly people, but prices as well. I have definitely enjoyed my stay here, thank you aunt Mary. The hotel is a dump, but it's our dump. The bar is small, and smells like hiker, but everyone is welcome, and treated like an old friend. The ladies entrance is no longer enforced, but it wouldn't have been hard to make the 3 women I've seen here use it. Apparently it came in handy to keep the women out of the pool hall, and bar back in the day, which makes no sense at all. What is ironic today is that the women's restroom is now in the pool hall, they can't avoid it. Vicky and Pat run the place and live on the second floor, they take pictures of all the hikers that stay here and have binders dating back as far as 2002, and Vicky's memory of the hikers is incredible. This would be a fun place to revisit a few years down the road.
Today, when I do get out of this comfy bed, I'll cross the street to Goodie's. Where I'll eat another amazing, filling breakfast before hitting the trail, or sidewalk in this case, and hiking out of another river valley to another ridge line outside another town. Every town is placed in a V topographically we clamber down a steep hill getting into towns, then climb out. Today is shorter than my average needs to be, but the next day is longer so it evens out pretty well. To be done July 25th, in Knoxville for the weekend, back to Denver and Bo Monday, and working the Sturgis Bike Rally in a booth selling goodies to bikers August 1st, I need to average 17 miles a day! I should fit right in with hairy, smelly bikers after this trip. 17 is a good number, it is definitely a full day hiking, but I can also take breaks to boulder, or swim if I come across any such fun. I look forward to the remaining states especially being in the state that brought us Snooky, the zoo at Bear Mt in NY, visiting anyone who wants to see me, Bean, Brian, Joe, Jean, and of course continuing my quest for 1lb burgers. Although I am sad to say I could not find one in Maryland guess I'll just have to eat 2 in PA, but that will not keep me from Katahdin.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Today was another "short" 15 mile day or so, and on these lower mile days I like to take my time. I camped with spice last night right outside a park your not allowed to camp in which is kind of annoying (different blog). Anyway we hit the trail around 9 30 which is kinda late but we were in no rush, stopped at a steam for a snack, then talked about bouldering and climbing as we clambered up and down a section known as the rock maze. About halfway through we noticed some climbing routes and chalk, then we saw a crash pad a people bouldering. I went immediately over and began talking and asking questions, where they were from, how long they'd been out, all the usual stuff. They then fired off all the usual questions we get, where did you start, what do you eat, all the usual stuff lol. After a while watching I couldn't stand it any longer and gave the boulder my best shot... in my hiking boots ha it was a sight I'm sure but felt great to actually use my arms! After leaving them we headed a few more miles to the shelter for lunch, then it was off 3 more miles to the campground we're staying at tonight. The last 2 mile were through the PA farm land, fields. Tomorrow we have 15 miles of flat ground and hot, buggy, sunny field hiking. I'm excited for a change of scenery, and can't wait to be at the Doyle in Duncannon on Tuesday! Literally everyone we pass tells us about it. I'm trying really hard not to build it up in my head, but my first day on the trail deeds was talking about it so I'm definitely excited.
In the words of Bon Jovi "whooa we're halfway there!" Never thought this day would come. I just finished my half gallon of moose tracks ice cream in 26 minutes.
When I first hiked 30 miles or so of the Smokey's in 2009 with Patrick Kimmons and we met a thru hiker, I never thought about what that entailed. 3 years later here I am thru hiking inspiring others to do the same. When I first started the trail on March 4th I thought 1 month would be enough time to have my adventure and want to go home. Boy was I wrong. As I started meeting other thru hikers I felt like one of them even though my plan was just to do a section hike. Eventually I just started telling people I was thru hiking because it was easier than explaining. I never imagined Maine, or even north of Virginia, it all seemed soo far away, it was just words, an idea. Even when I quit my job and decided to continue until I didn't want to be here I never really thought about anything north of VA. Actually from Daleville to the middle of the Shenandoahs I was pushing so hard to get multiple 20+ mile days that I would wake up, hike, eat, then go to bed. It was not fun. When the sun came back out and I started seeing bears and meeting the hikers behind me who were catching up, and I started shortening my days back down to 15s it became fun again. I am glad I pushed myself though because I know I can roll out huge miles if I need to, but like I said before 15 a day and I'll be done August 1st. So in the past week I have once again become enamored with the trail and catch myself frequently saying "I love the A.T.!" Hopefully the second half only brings more smiles and lifelong friends, I know the pictures will be good.
Friday, May 18, 2012
I woke up this morning at 7am, got out of my sleeping bag (it was a clear night so I just slept under the stars again) and dug a hole because there was no privy. I walked back to camp and put some leaves and sticks on the smoldering embers and brought the fire back to life. Sitting by the fire I ate about 6ozs of trail mix, and mixed some chocolate carnations breakfast essentials powder into my water that I got out of a hiker box. That is a box where hikers put things they don't want or need, they are mostly in towns and hostels. I hiked 2 miles to the next shelter where I got water from a creek and had a snack. I added electrolyte tablets and caffeinated crystal light to my water. The next shelter was 4 miles away and when I got there I was shocked to see yellowtail and sunroof, 2 people I had not seen since my first night or 2 out here, we talked for a bit then walked 2 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain while catching up. I also saw a guy painting white blazes which is what we follow and I excitedly asked if i could paint one and he let me! Ha so exciting :-) 8 miles later yellowtail and sunroof got picked up to take a zero tomorrow with yellowtails family, and I had lunch which was a bagel with crunchy pb and an apple I still had from Harper's Ferry 2 days ago. 2.5 more miles until I get to be done for the day! It's a short 15 mile day today, but I've figured out if I do 15s from here on out I'll be done August 1st which is good enough for me! Half way point tomorrow after 17, which means a half gallon of ice cream!!! Can't wait.
Harper's Ferry was amazing so much history. Shortly after it I passed the Washington monument, which I stood on top of! And am still walking a historic path that many civil war soldiers passed, it has been interesting walking in their shoes so to say. Although, my pack is lighter, my boots are way better and I'm not lugging a gun, nor ammo.
Oh ya and I'm in Pennsylvania! Still can't believe it.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I was the 118th NoBo (North bound) thru hiker to pass through Harper's Ferry yesterday. They took my picture, and put it in the official log book of 2012 thru hikers. It was great to see people's pictures who are only a week or so in front of me and know they are still on the trail going strong! Others who I had only read about in the shelter journals many times was great to finally put a face to the name. Well I hit the trail tomorrow, Waynesboro Thursday, halfway point a few days later meaning a half gallon of ice cream, and then the Doyle in Duncannon Wednesday the 23rd. You better be there Mellow Yellow!!