Saturday, June 20, 2009
I am procrastinating this morning; waiting for the ridiculously late and rather skimpy breakfast at this B&B that isn't served until 9:00AM. After breakfast, I will have to head out in spite of the rain, stopping at the post office on the way out of town to mail off my bounce box.
Needless to say, I am not a happy camper this morning!
Friday, June 19, 2009
AT Miles = 0 / 1111.6
Other Miles = 0 / 40.7
Total Miles = 0 / 1151.3
So, I slept in a soft bed with clean white saheets, in an air conditioned room last night. Nice. And I did very little walking today. I walked about a mile down the road to the grocery store to get just a couple of things to get me to Duncannon this weekend, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk to have for a mid-afternoon snack. Then I walked over to the ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional Office to get some denatured alcohol for my stove.
I stashed the groceries back at the B&B, then walked over to the tavern for lunch. Papa Kiwi and a few other hikers were there and I joined them for lunch. They were heading back out so when they left I came back to the B&B and watched a movie streamed from NetFlix on my laptop, while enjoying my Ben & Jerry's.
I did spend a couple of hours this morning processing and uploading photos. You can find them here:
This afternoon has been bright and sunny and hot, so I hung my sleeping bag and the down jacket I use as a pillow every night, out on the line to bake in the sun. Those UV rays go a long way towards killing odors in my gear.
I will be heading back out tomorrow. Breakfast isn't until 9:00AM here, which is terribly late, buit I only have 14 miles to go tomorrow so it should be fine. I will go to the post office to mail my bounce box ahead to Port Clinton when the PO opens at 8:00, then after breakfast I'll head on out of town. The forecast for tomorrow calls for hot and humid weather with a 60% chance of thunderstorms. That should make hot work of walking across the Cumberland Valley out in the sun. About 8 miles north of here the trail crosses PA 11 on a foot bridge, and there is supposed to be a good diner just there, so I'll probably stop there for lunch. Might as well take advantage of civilization while I can.
Here is what the trail map of the Cumberland Valley looks like. You can see that it looks more like a road map than a trail map. I expect to spend the day walking along the edges of farm fields:
And this is the elevation profile. I walked out of the hills on the left yesterday, and will walk across the dead flat Cumberland Valley tomorrow until I reach the hills over on the right tomorrow afternoon:
Some musings on being half way:
It was really exciting as I got closer and closer to Harpers Ferry, as a goal I had been working towards for nearly three months was within reach. Then I got there, enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment, and spent four more days getting to the actual half way point. That was kind of anti-climactic. And now, having reached the half way point, the full weight of the realization that I am only half way has descended upon me. I find myself contemplating the second half as a huge chunk of work ahead of me, and it's intimidating. This is only temporary, I know. I just have to go through the process of adjusting my thinking and start picking out intermediate goals. And that should be easy as the states go by pretty fast from here up to northern New England. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, where a friend has already offered me a meal and a warm bed for the night, New York, then Connecticut, where I have family and a lot of hiking friends. Then comes Massachusetts, my home state, and then I'll be in Vermont and hiking through the chunk of trail I have helped maintain for many years. Tehn will come New Hampshire and the mighty Whites, and finally the amazing wilderness of Maine. So much to look forward to.
And now, I am going to get ready to head back over to the tavern for another good meal, maybe accompanied by a very cold martini this time. Then I'll come back here and relax while watching another NetFlix movie tonight. Might as well enjoy life while I can, as I expect to be soaking wet and maybe dodging lightning sometime tomorrow.
AT Miles = 12.2 / 1111.6
Other Miles = 0.8 / 40.7
Total Miles = 13.0 / 1151.3
Not much to say about today. It rained all night, though it had
tapered off to the occasional drizzle by the time I got up a few
minutes before 6:00. I ate breakfast, packed up all my wet gear,
changed out of my dry clothes and put my wet hiking clothes back on,
and started off for Boiling Springs. The woods were wet, and the
section of trail between Tagg Run (where the shelter is located) and
the Cumberland Valley (where Boiling Springs is), contains a bit of up
and down; more so than I have become used to lately. The folks who
routed the trail through here also seem to like scrambling around on
rocks, and there was plenty of that this morning. Since wet rocks can
be quite slippery, this got old pretty fast.
I made a quick stop at the Alec Kennedy shelter, about 8 miles into
the day, to sit down in a dry spot and have a bit of lunch, then I
pushed on. A couple miles later I descended out of the hills and the
trail came out of the woods and into some farm fields in the
Cumberland Valley. There is a sign just before this warning hikers
that there is no camping for the next 17 miles, other than the
campsite on the outskirts of Boiling Springs, as the trail crosses the
Valley. This is because the trail threads its way across the valley
through farm fields. It is reputed to be an insufferably hot hike on a
hot, humid, sunny day. But I only had a couple more miles to cover
before I arrived in Boiling Springs.
What a pretty little town this is. The town is centered around Boiling
Springs Lake. The trail follows a gravel walking path along one side
of the lake, directly across from Front Street which is lined with
lovely old houses, many constructed of stone or brick. I am spending
two nights in one of these houses on Front Street, the Garmanhaus B&B.
I've showered, washed all my clothes, and spent an hour or two
watching old Adam 12 reruns streamed to my laptop from NetFlix. I
don't know why, but I just love that program! Such innocent times.
I am about to head over to the Boiling Springs Tavern for a beer or
two and some dinner. I hope it is as good as everyone tells me it is.
Allen F. Freeman
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
AT Miles = 17.1 / 1099.4
Other Miles = 0.2 / 39.9
Total Miles = 17.3 / 1138.3
Today reminded me of Georgia, hiking all day in a steady, cold rain. I've been pushing pretty hard since I left Front Royal Wednesday last, and I am fetting tired. When Iwoke up this morning my feet still hurt, and even my legs were still tired and a bit sore. This morning I called the B&B in Boiling Springs and reserved a room for tomorrow night and Friday night. It will be good to get clean and dry, and relax for a bit.
I passed the half-way point on the trail this morning. As near as I could figure it, I was at the half-way point at 10:20 this morning. That is based on figuring the distance from the last place I knew the exact mileage, and my normal hiking pace. I took a picture of the mud puddle that apparently sits at the half-way point.
A few miles later there is a big sign at what was the half-way point at the time it was erected. When I got there it was pouring down rain so I just stopped for a moment to read the sign, then continued on. It was much too wet to pull the camera out and take a photo.
"Home is where I hang my food bag"
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
AT Miles = 19.6 / 1082.3
Other Miles = 0 / 39.7
Total Miles = 19.6 / 1121.0
When I got up this morning I couldn't tell whether the sky was clear or overcast, but it was soon apparent that it was the latter, and it felt like it was going to rain. I rigged my pack for rain when I set off, but as it turned out it only rained a bit in the morning and most of the day it stayed dry, more or less.
Ten miles into the day I was at Caledonia State Park. It was about 10:45 and at 11:00 the snack bar there opens, so I joined several other hikers already there waiting. I spent about an hour and a half there eating a cheeseburger and fries, as well as some of the food I was carrying.
While I was there a hiker showed up that I haven't seen since Neels Gap, way back in Georgia at about day 4 of the hike. That was a nice moment. When I saw Papa Kiwi (his trail name) I said "Damn, you're skinny!" and almost at the same time he remarked on how much weight I had lost.
The afternoon was hard. My feet hurt, the weather was damp and sticky, I was feeling tired of being dirty, and I just didn 't feel like walking another ten miles, but eventually I got here and washed up and ate a hot meal, and my outlook has improved a lot.
Today while walking I was thinking some more about the responses I got to my post of a couple days ago where I mentioned how some thru-hikers behave somewhat rudely toward weekend and section hikers. I've been thinking that for some people thur-hiking is kind of like high school. They become part of the thru-hiking community, which is really a very small community, though it is spread out along the trail. They seem to like being part of a distinct group, and one of the ways a group is defined is by who is excluded; in this case those hikers who are not thru-hikers. What happens within the world of thru-hikers takes on exaggerated importance, just like when you were in high school and the world of school seemed to be the most important thing in the world.
Well, I never really fit in when I was in high school, and I don't fit in on the trail the same way I would if I were 24 years old, so it is easy to sit on the outskirts and practice my amateur analysis. In any case, I think it's a shame when some people behave in such a way as to make other hikers feel uncomfortable or out of place, and I choose not to do so.
It is starting to rain now. Hopefully it will rain tonight and be all done by morning, but I have heard rumors that this is a storm that is supposed to hang around tomorrow.
My plan is to hike 17 miles tomorrow, then 12 on Thursday which should get me to Boiling Springs around noon. Assuming I can get a place to stay, I will zero there on Friday and head back out on the trail on Saturday.
Monday, June 15, 2009
AT Miles = 18.1 / 1062.7
Other Miles = 0 / 39.7
Total Miles = 18.1 / 1101.4
Another really nice day. I hiked the ten miles to Pen Mar Park this morning, then when I got there Chance and I called and had pizzas delivered for our lunch. The park was really nice with great views down into the valley below., and I hung out there for over two hours, leaving about 1:00PM.
Right after leaving Pen Mar Park I crossed the Mason-Dixon line and entered Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the border is not marked, so I didn't know exactly when entered the North. At last. I am no longer hiking the Ap-pa-latch-in trail, and am now hiking the Ap-pa-lay-shun trail.
This shelter is actually two shelters, one is marked "SNORING" and the other "NON-SNORING". It is beautiful weather this evening and there is a mellow group of hikers enjoying a small campfire.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
AT Miles = 20.7 / 1044.6
Other Miles = 1.0 / 39.7
Total Miles = 21.7 / 1083.3
As I was going to bed last night I heard some thunder rumbling in the distance, but there were only a few drops of rain on the tarp. During the night it cooled off quite a bit and this morning it was breezyand relatively cool and dry.
Today was a really nice day. Other than one reasonably short rocky section, the hiking was easy, and therfe were interesting things to see along the way. I stopped at Washington Monument State Park to see the first Washington Monument, then later I took the side trail to Annapolis Rocks which offered great views and a pleasant place to sit and contemplate the world.
There were a lot of day hikers and weekenders about. I really enjoy meeting and talking to weekenders. Some thru-hikers don't like weekenders. I don't understand that. Maybe they think they're too cool to associate with mere weekenders or something, but I don't think that's really it. Maybe they just get tired of answering the usual questions, but I don't mind. I like talking to people that are still engaged in the outside world. They ask me about thru-hiking, and I ask them about the stories behind the bits of the headlines I see now and again.
The weather is warm and dry and I was planning to do laundry tonight, but the water source is way the heck down the hill and I would have to go get more water to do laundry, so it will have to wait. Hopefully I will pass a water source early tomorrow, and I can do laundry then and still have time for my socks to dry during the day.