There was more rain predicted today, but somehow we escaped with only a few showers that really just cooled us off. Amazing how fast hiking gear can dry in the sunlight!
Past Port Clinton is where the rocks really kick in and we felt every step, but rocks do lead to rocky outcrops and views–below is the Pulpit and the Pinnacle.This afternoon I was able to spend some more quality time with the hikers I’ve met in the past few days at Eckeville Shelter. People are generally much more apt to chat when it’s not pouring rain, myself included. We’ve settled in for the night at Allentown shelter with the most adventurous dude I’ve ever met-he both teaches high school math and does high-altitude mountaineering…you can choose which you think is more brave, but I’d say it’s a tie.
Today was my Appalachian Trail baptism–the first day I was so soaked from head to toe that my skin felt like it was starting to peel off. Hey, the AT is in a temperate rainforest climate after all!
I’ve found over my years of backpacking that making light of the rain goes a long ways towards making miles pass less painfully. Exhibit 1: pretending to be a T-Rex in Jurassic Park fog all morning.I eventually arrived in the small town of Port Clinton and was desperate for a place to get out of the rain while I waited for the Cabela’s van to get me. I figured that as a tax-paying US citizen I couldn’t technically get kicked off of the US Post Office steps during business hours. After several hours of drying out/charging/washing socks in the sink (this is what we call being hiker trash) in the world’s largest outfitter (7 acres under roof!), it was back to the trail with an amazing trail angel named Eddie. Check out his 9 year old daughter’s website www.goalexandriago.com as she prepares to thru hike next season!I bid thee a very soggy goodnight…
If I had a dollar for every rock that I stepped on today, I would no longer need to take out loans for medical school next year.
Pennsylvania is legendary for being “Rocksylvania,” and until today I thought everyone was just whining about a few pebbles. My battered feet and legs tell me otherwise.
Nevertheless there are upsides to every day on the AT. Check out this shelter! It’s close enough to the road that you can even get pizza delivered!Today I also passed mile 1200 for my NOBO friends. The lingo for flip floppers like me is now BOBO, or “both bound.”Paul teaches in Philippians 2 not to complain about anything, but here’s what hikers look like at mile 17 on rocks. Thankfully, we did arrive at our shelter for the night where I’ve met a really interesting guy named Gnome. He is finishing a hike he started in 2015 that was cut short because of norovirus-a personal fear of mine as well.
Despite the storms of last night, today has been a very pleasant day weather-wise. Instead of via liquid, the misadventure began with a not only bear proof, but also Minta proof bear hang I did last night. I wish I had a picture, but getting my food down this morning took 4 people (thank goodness I’ve made friends-thanks J Beebs, Tripod, and Highlander!), some sitting on shoulders and eventually propping a branch against the tree to shimmy up. Nonetheless, my honey buns were rescued eventually!
The next shenanigan of the day involved a beaver dam that broke and flooded the whole trail for about 1/4 a mile with bog water-yuck!http://appalachiantrailchaplain.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/img_1940.movLunchtime thankfully brought some sunshine and the chance to dry out my gear-hikers frequently lay out all their earthly possessions on sunny days for this purpose.Altogether the walking wasn’t too bad today, but I should remind you that we are in Rocksylvania, rattlesnake USA. I haven’t seen one yet but have passed several southbound hikers warning of rattlers they’ve seen up the trail. Please pray for careful steps and early warning should I disrupt one. Oh, we crossed I-81 yet again today! Halfway through PA!
Today was a well-deserved day off after pushing some pretty big miles for my first week on the trail.
I slept in, ate Pringles for breakfast, did some more laundry, made friends with Nancy (the local pretzel maker) across the street and took about 3 naps.The afternoon was spent wandering around the small town of Duncannon and hitting not one but both of the town pizza places. We’re packing out cold pizza for the trail!The rest has been great but it’s back to the trail early tomorrow morning.