Day 82 – PA

Eagles Nest Shelter to Eckville Shelter – 23.8 miles
1228.5 / 956.8

81.1 miles in 3 days, in northern Pennsylvania, my feet are sore! Arrived today at 8:30 pm, but Good news, caught up to Fresh again, glad to hear he’s been having a good time in my absence. At the shelter tonight there is a full bunk room plus another 15 tents, more people than I’ve seen in 3 weeks combined. Good to see guy on a buffalo again, and meet many new faces.

Today started off pretty miserably, I was too cold and tired to get up, it was still raining, so I slept in and finally got out of bed at 6:30. I put my wet rainfly away in my pack separately so not to get everything else wet. Started on the trail at 7:15 and soon enough I had to take an emergency crap. I left my pack on the trail and when I finished I got lost for over half an hour. It was real dense bushes and trees so you couldn’t see 10 ft on front of you. It was raining and I couldn’t tell which way the sun was coming from etc. I must have gone 100 ft in the wrong direction at one point, getting frantic. It ends well, after yelling for help and not staying in one place like I should. I found the trail. Being lost without a pack is WAY different. I had nothing except tp.

So I moved on and eventually ran into seymore and coco again, this time with their parents. It was 2 miles from port Clinton, and I had to resupply. I asked for a hitch to walmart and got treated to Chinese buffet by her parents! What a treat! Then they took us to Walmart and I got food and new batteries for my headlamp. I hiked with them some, and eventually was on my own. But thank you so much guys!

There were some extreme Ricky sections and great views today, all in all, another great day on the trail!

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Day 81 – PA

Campsite south of PA 72 to Eagles Nest Shelter – 27.9 miles
1204.7 / 980.6

Another long day! I tried to get out of camp early and set my alarm for 5:30 am. I made it out by 6:45. But having 1.5 miles less to travel and leaving 25 minutes earlier didn’t matter. The terrain was much tougher, and my feet are paying for it. It took me until 8 pm to travel this distance. And it seemed that the locals had come up, put butter on all the rocks, and planted poison ivy next to and in between them.

I was lethargic leaving camp, I managed a wopping 6 miles in 3 hours. Maybe from doing such a big day yesterday or maybe because there were rocks EVERYWHERE. I’m talking boulder fields. And if it wasn’t boulder fields it was just enough sharp rocks that if you looked up to see where the trail went, your next 3 steps would make you look like Bambi first learning to walk. So this is Pennsylvania! I probably should slow the mileage down and just might tomorrow.

Near the end of the day I was crashing and I finally got to the path of the shelter! It was 8 pm. I got to the shelter and it was a full house. Because I was so tired it didn’t want to talk to anyone, so I looked from shelter to people, back to shelter, and said ‘eh, screw it’ and dropped the mic and bounced! Set up my tent about 100 ft away at a nice camp ground, got some water, some nom noms and I am in bed!

Free shoes?

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Poison ivy trail!

Day 80 – PA

Clark’s ferry shelter to Campsite south of PA 72 – 29.4 miles
1176.8 / 1008.5

29 miles!! In exactly 12.5 hours. Not too shabby. Even with my toe basically falling off from another DRI (drinking related injury). I was up early at Clark’s ferry shelter, around 6 am. I bounced at 7:10 on the dot. I had met brickyard, a real nice thru hiker that also worked on fine dining. After the first 7 miles we got to a real nice shelter. It fit 16 ppl and had a porch and everything!

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That’s where brickyard decided to call it a day, but he’s in no rush. I saw fresh post there a couple days ago, so I decided to go more than my original 24.7 to Rausch gap shelter. I decided for about 29. I was making good time too, at noon I had about 11 miles done and 1 I had 14 done. I stopped for lunch at 1 after seeing the mountain men chilling and fishing by a river.

I forgot to mention, it was raining all day. Off and on but at least all morning, very slip-pay. I fell for my 10th time on a nice wet rock, this one stung a bit, but I live another day. The trail was destroyed from the storm yesterday, trees down everywhere. Pretty glad I was not in the mountains when it happened.

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When I was walking around 3 I heard fighter jets going overhead, looked up and they must have only been a couple hundred feet over the mountain. They were circling and doing spins right over me, they must have passed 12 times. It was loud! I coulda sworn it was all over and an alien invasion had begun in rural Pennsylvania, but I was wrong.

The trail is super green lately I love it! Bugs are starting to come out ugh!

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Day 79 – PA

Duncannon PA to Clark’s Ferry – 4.3 miles
1147.4 / 1037.9

A big day! Woke up late, probably because I didn’t sleep last night. Got breakfast and studied what I did to my toe. I pretty much ripped the tip off. Noice! Made a dr appointment for 11:30 that day and chillllllllled. The mountain men came by and I sat and talked with them. Everyone was waiting for Doyle hotel to open at 11 am. I had my appt for back pain, and she forced a tetanus shot on me, glued my toe back together and sent me on my way. Cool.

So! I met Gandalf at the hotel for a beer which turned into 2. My plan was to escape town at 2:30. Cheezit and ramen shamen, hyperbole and sassafras were planning on doing the 4 miles to the next shelter. Tv comes on and instant doom forecasted! I said screw it and went out. I looked up and immediately regretted my decision but was too stubborn to turn around.

I made it about a mile before all hell
broke loose. It started 40 mph winds, sideways rain and I ran under a bridge. It was nice there for about 5 minutes and then the bridge flooded and I started getting gallons of water splashed on me by cars. I made a break for it and realized everywhere was flooded and kept getting owned by cars and rain. I ran to the strip club the cabin and they were closed! Whaaaaat!!! I ended up just walking threw it without my rain jacket and eventually made it to this cozy shelter. What a crazy storm! No pics, because of rain.

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Day 78 – PA

Boiling Springs PA to Duncannon PA – 25.6 miles
1143.1 / 1042.2

This trip was easy enough and I crushed 14 miles by noon. I had lunch at darlington shelter and had just 11.3 miles to go to town. I made it to town by 5 pm and was at the store where I finally ran into 4 other thru hikers. I stayed with them at the Doyle hotel. It was super trashy just as we like it. They sell 12 packs and we got some room beers.

We went to serranos where I had 3 draft beers and 12 wings for $9. Went back to the hotel and across from our room was a previous thru hiker showing movies in his hotel room. Bag of tricks was his name. Watched a movie about the CDT and the App Trail and went to bed around 1. Well this hotel has no AC so I basically did not sleep. It was over 80 and I just used my bed sheet to cover my eyes from the hallway light. Woo!

Also, last night my toe met a curb.

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This will prove for an interesting day tomorrow. No sleep and new injuries! Holla back Duncannon!

The trail was super pretty however, even though it was 86 and humid!

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Day 77 – PA

Toms Run shelter to Boiling Springs, PA – 22.9 miles
1117.5 / 1067.8

I waited around at the shelter a little before leaving. I knew ahead of time I was doing the half gallon challenge for breakfast and the store didn’t open til 9. I eventually got there around 8:45 and checked out the museum for the AT. Yeah, they have one of those!

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On my way I passed the actual marked halfway point, yay for me!

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I then started the half gallon challenge. That is basically sitting down to eat an entire half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. It’s a celebration for reaching the halfway point and it’s celebrated ‘hiker style’ by giving yourself diabetes. I chose my flavor ‘neopolitan’ or vanilla chocolate and strawberry which had 1920 calories. I sat down and started to go to town! It was 9 am. The people passed me with looks ranging from interest to disgust. A bicycler sat down and talked to me for a full 20 minutes as I attempted suicide via ice cream. He didn’t even stop talking when I started breathing heavily, or got up and started walking and eating, wasn’t even phased. I let him talk himself tired and he eventually left me alone to my own gluttony. Well I finished! And I owe it all to Excali-spoon! I used the wooden spoon that barefoot carver gave me and I’m pretty sure it has special powers…

Well the rest of the day I was pretty lethargic, and it was all I could do to make it to boiling springs. Also, it was over 80 again and I was sweating bullets. I can see Pennsylvania getting pretty tough when you add the heat and rocks into the mix. It also has the feeling of being in the north so all that creepy friendliness of the South was gone, and replaced by the in your face attitude if the North. I miss the Northeast!

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Day 76 – Halfway done! -Pennsylvania

Tumbling Run shelter to Toms Run shelter – 25.8 miles
1094.6 / 1090.7

I’m officially halfway done! Which means the number on top left of miles hiked is finally larger than the number to the right, miles I have left!

I set my alarm for 6:15 and felt surprisingly good this morning. I was out at 7:20 am. I hit the trail hard, no pain, the 1000 ft climb flew by, and before I knew it I had gone 6.6 miles in just over 2 hours. I looked at the map and realized that at around 9.6 miles, there is an Italian restaurant that is .4 down the road. Nice! I sprinted and made it there by 11 am. Unfortunately the owners didn’t show up til 11:20. When they did, I let them have it! And also ordered 2 cokes and 2 subs, a steak and cheese with French fries (whaaaaat) and an Italian. So good! I ate paid and rushed out.

About 2 hours later I came across a road and saw (or heard) my first rattle snake. Thank goodness I wasn’t listening to music. It was all curled up as if to strike. So of course I got a cool picture of it. Right after that a guy rolled to a stop in his pickup truck, asked if I wanted his double cheeseburger from McDonald’s… Obviously! Gave me his diet coke too. Pffft. I told him about the rattlesnake, he said he’s lives here all his life and never saw one. I showed him where the snake was and absolutely made his day! Haha.

He ended up giving me a hand carved spoon, said his name was barefoot carver (yeah, my spoon is signed). He said he makes these spoons for hikers and would be elated if I were to bring this spoon to mt khatadin. I felt like a quest was bestowed upon me, and since I fucking love quests, I accepted. I shall bring the spoon of 1000 truths to the fires of khatadin!

So I saw 3 more rattle shakes, poking one to get that awesome menacing photo. I’m not going to listen to music anymore!

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Day 75 – made it to the north! MD-PA

Ensign Cowall shelter to Tumbling Run shelter – 18.1 miles
1068.8 / 1116.5

Today was probably one of the nicest days on the trail! Originally planned on doing 25 miles, however there are rocks already! I hit a whole section of boulders and slowed down immediately. I got to a lookout point just before noon and talked to some folks about my thru hike. They were asking questions like ‘have you seen any animals in there??’ In there meaning the woods apparently. I answered questions before getting bored and moving on.

I made it to a park around noon, pen mar I believe, and my book said I could order pizza!! Whaaaat?? I ordered it, medium with sausage and pepperoni, and a coke, and murdered it!! I sat there in the park just enjoying life before moving on.

I got to the shelter early around 5, and found a couple here for the weekend. They had set up their tent inside the shelter but I went over and offered them some whiskey. Wellllll they had way more vodka than I had whiskey and started being awesome. The shelter caretaker came and tried to kick them out, this dude almost punched the caretaker (I found out he just got out if prison) and the caretaker called the cops. My night got exponentially better.

The mountain men eventually came and we are all shacked up listening to the shenanigans next door. I partied with tear drop tattoo guy til he started passing out in his chair and made my escape. He kept offering me his car and to stay over his place for Memorial Day weekend and he’d buy fireworks. All in all an amazing night, hilarious.

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Day 74 – MD

Ed Garvey shelter to Ensign Cowall shelter – 24.8 miles
1050.7 / 1134.6

Today ended up being a long day. I wasn’t sure if I was going 16 or 24 miles. We all woke up at 4 am to raging storms and everyone in the shelter was wide awake at 6:30. A guy named Santa had sprained his ankle so bad getting water the night before he had to get off trail for a couple days. He gave me his cereal and I left at 7:30. I made pretty good time to start the day, 8 miles in 3 hours. However, somewhere around 11 I got lost for an entire hour, and that kinda screwed my day. After finding my way back, I made my way over to the Washington monument, checked it out, looked at the sky, realized I was in for it soon, and ran away.

I made it about 15 more minutes before it came down. It started pouring and hailing. I even put on my rain jacket! The rain went away after a half hour, and built another huge thunderstorm over me. This one was twice as big but as fate would have it, it moved passed before doing it’s damage. The rest of the day I was pretty much zombie walking, dreaming about food, and wishing I was at the shelter.

Finally made it, there were a couple southbounders at the shelter, they gave us food and we are calling it a night. Another potential big day tomorrow.

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Day 73 – WV-MD

Harpers Ferry to Ed Garvey Shelter – 6.6 miles
1025.9 / 1159.4

I rested well! Woke up at 6 am in the sweltering hostel and went to see what the ppl were up to. They were already at the breakfast table and the hostel lady made us waffles. Nice! She seemed snoopy so I was glad she was finally doing me a favor. I cleaned my plates and did my errands. Hit the post office, ATC and took my halfway picture, and the outfitter and got my new shoes! Whaaaaaaaaaaat new shoes?? Yeah, like a boss.

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Those things are dope. Then I went to a bar and stayed way too long before hiking the 6 miles to the shelter. It was both enjoyable/not enjoyable. It hurt. But here I am, met a couple girls that are scouting terrain for a camping trip for work or something from Cleveland. They’re a long way from the ghetto. :).

We had a giant storm that night,bigger than any we’ve had so far. We all wine up and just listened to the massive thunderclaps, knowing somewhere out there in those hostile woods, bears were lurking. A great night sleep! Time for real miles tomorrow!

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