Saturday, June 30, 2012

3.30.12 - Another Hot One and the Refreshments

Another hot day today. Cool in the morning, full of mosquitoes swarming to the point that I had to walk a little away from where we were camped next to the registration office to get somewhere with a breeze to keep the bugs down while I ate breakfast.

Stopped by the RPH Shelter in the morning and had a snack and refilled water. Hiked on to Stormville, NY and stopped at Danny's Pizzeria for lunch and to get out of the heat. I was dragging over the past days with the heat, and town food helped to bring my spirits up. Had a great chicken parmesan sandwich with fries, then went to the convenience store and got a quart of sherbet. That definitely cooled me down! Keeper and I hung around for a few hours and planned out next most likely resupply options. After that we went back to the trail when it was slightly cooler. We each packed out a few 24oz beers. Shockingly, they were cheaper than buying water! What the heck is up with that? We made sure to drink plenty of water today with the heat though, just didn't pay for it.

We hiked 4 more miles to the Morgan Srewart Shelter, where we ended up having the place to ourselves. Not a great shelter, but really nice tent sites, and plentiful. Made a fire to keep the bugs away, and ate dinner and enjoyed our cold refreshing beer.

Fireworks in the distance. Sounds like a big show going on somewhere. Looking forward to fireworks in NYC on the 4th!

Friday, June 29, 2012

6.29.12 - Hot Hot Day

Nothing much to say about today other than it was hot.

Lots of up and down finally got us to Clarence Fahnestock State Park. 16 miles.

Keeper and I camped right next to the registration office because the campground was full. At least got showers.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

6.28.12 - Dave and Laura Visit For a Hike

Woke up around 5:30am and got moving. Had some early breakfast, then hit the trail with Golden around 6 to head just shy of 4 miles to meet up with my friends Dave and Laura who had driven down from Saratoga Springs. These were two of my hiking buddies from when I lived in New York, as well as Dave being my volleyball, spelunking, ultimate frisbee, and beer drinking buddy. Before we met them at Tiorati Beach in Harriman State Park (which is beautiful by the way), we went through an area called the Lemon Squeezer. It was a section of large boulders that had a somewhat tight squeeze to get through. Even that early in the morning, Golden and I had a great time there and scrambling and bouldering up some of the rock sections! We made it to the beach earlier than expected and there were Dave and Laura. Last time I saw these two was when I took a trip over to Yosemite last September. Before leaving, we had some beer that they brought. Mmm...breakfast beer!

We hiked through the rest of Harriman State Park, then up to the top of bear Mountain and down near the Hudson River. It was a fairly tough day, especially with the heat. I had a great time catching up with them and getting to hike with them again. They brought me up to speed on what's been going on in Saratoga. They were super flexible and able to flow with my plans, which made it all work out really well. We hit a lot of uphill and downhill sections today, and worked hard to get the pizza that we ended the day with! At lunch we had some great cheeses, bread, and peanut butter they brought. When we hit the top of Bear Mountain, we ate some Magic Bars they brought from Saratoga. Amazing, dense, seven layer like bars. Definitely gave me what I needed to get down the mountain.

Keeper, Duke (the dog), and I still had two miles to go to get to the campsite we aimed for, and all in the dark. Tough uphill that made me sweat a lot right before getting to camp and having to go to bed sweaty.

Thanks to Dave and Laura for coming out to spend a great day on the AT with me and my fellow hikers! I really enjoyed it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6.27.12 - Sunrise Over New York City, and Getting Lost

Woke up early this morning to catch the sun rising. I could see in the distance, the rays hitting the towering buildings in NYC.

We hiked about 5.5 miles to a hotdog stand. Delicious food (at least for a hiker hunger) of 2 dogs, chips, and a soda for $5. We had to wait for the place to open, so we hung out for a while at a creamery that had tables but wasn't open yet.

After lunch we bid farewell to Shade. We hiked on another 14 or so and it was tough. Just lacked motivation and were tired. It was a day of many ups and downs. The final down was really steep and rocky. Took a toll on my legs for sure. Crossed over I-87 and into Herriman State Park. A mile or so in we found trail magic of chocolate, YooHoos, sodas, chips, oatmeal creme pies, fruit, fruit cups! This was awesome. As we were mowing down, three ladies came up and we found out they placed the trail magic there. We thanked them and enjoyed! Hike just a little further into the park and found a spot to camp overlooking the lake and island.

Tough day, but we got through it. Planned on making it about another 3 miles to the shelter, but once again, we took the spot with the view. Plus, we were all pretty worn out. At one point between all the ups and downs, Golden and I got lost for about 10 min. Finally we reconnected with the AT.

Looking forward to hiking with my friends Dave and Laura from Saratoga Springs. They're coming to hike around the Bear Mountain area with me!

6.26.12 - A State Change, and Great Views From Camp

Ran into Golden, Wildflower, and Coffee as we got to the trailhead. Perfect! We hiked along some swamps and over them on some long expanses of boardwalks. Around lunch time, we got to Heaven Hill Farm and got some fresh produce, blueberry milkshake, and a coffee. It was delicious and a great break for the day. Some people were trying to get 28 miles done, but later decided not to. Shade, a section hiker whose name I gave the other day because when the sun was shining right in my eyes while I was eating dinner, he stood up and blocked the light, met up with us and hiked the rest of the day.

We ended up getting to a spot just before the NJ/NY state line, where we could see the skyline of New York City! We crossed into New York and while I'm still a ways away from where I'd lived in Saratoga Springs, it was a great feeling! We hiked a little ways further and when we got to Prospect Rocks, we decided we didn't want to hike any further because the view was so good. We had a great shot of New York City from there and as the sun set and we enjoyed a fire, we could see the city light up!

Great ending to the day, stopping for the views!

6.25.12 - Hangin With the Locals

Keeper and I hiked in the 7 miles to Unionville, NY and went straight to Wit's End Tavern for lunch. Saw a few other hikers filter in and out.

Started talking to a local and he offered us a stay at his house. We went back to his place and did laundry, then he had us take his car to the general store and pizza place. The resupply was tough, as there was hardly any food. Met up with Golden, Wildflower, Coffee, Crush, and Foster, but then went back to Chris' for showers and to relax. On the way back, he showed us around the area. It's amazing how beautiful a lot of Jersey is, and many people have no idea. We even drove by Lou Dobbs' property.

Not many miles, but got a lot accomplished and had fun. Also, found out Keeper and I have the same exact birthday. A few people have referred to us as the bearded brothers.

Monday, June 25, 2012

6.24.12 - Day's End Lost Hiker Search

Hiked with Andy for a good portion of the day. Had some great talks and laughs. This guy is hilarious! If anyone out there reading knows my old manager in Saratoga, his humor reminds me of Don's.

For most of the morning I was hiking solo and really enjoyed the peace and quiet that NJ has to offer. Came across a fire tower and definitely went up to grab another view. Hadn't looked at my guidebook at all, so coming up to the top of a mountain and finding a big, nice pavilion was cool! After not seeing them for about 6 weeks or so, I ran into Huff and Puff, which was great seeing them again.

Ended up at High Point Shelter after a fairly easy 20 mile day. Will be able to cruise into Unionville, NY to resupply tomorrow.

After eating at the shelter, around 8:30pm, a lady came over to us and said her friend was in pain and she couldn't find her. There was mention of hurting shoulders and legs, and common high blood pressure with the lost hiker. She had left her friend on the trail to go find the shelter and then come back, but when she went to look, she couldn't find her. A group of us, including a few Boy Scouts, came up with a plan to go search. The lady called 911 to inform the rangers that her friend was lost. We set up a command central and collected phone numbers, got a description of the lost hiker, grabbed headlamps and water, and 7 people went out and split into three groups to search, while two others remained at the shelter as command central. The two scouts who had already come from the north took a section of trail that direction, while the 5 others of us who had covered the southern section already, headed that way. The group of 5 split into a group of 2 and 3 at a trail split. After hiking out about .7 mile, we started to hike back to the junction to meet the others who had split off. Got a call in the meantime to hang tight. Then after we got to the junction, we got a call that said to come back. The lost hiker was at that point in contact with the rangers and they actually had her download an app on her phone called Glimpse. From that, they were able to pinpoint where she was, and they sent someone to her. Back at camp, I went to get water, and I heard a helicopter. I found out it was due to this and that it's typical to run through a scenario so that the pilots can log hours they need to. As I lay here at 10:20pm, the chopper is nearby, the blades cutting the air and making it loud here. Glad she was found, and hopefully everything was ok.

It was really great to see a group of mostly strangers, come together to act as a team to help find this lost hiker. Made for an exciting evening!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6.23.12 - Goodbye Pennsylvania, Hello New Jersey!

About a mile out of town and I had completed Pennsylvania. Another state down, and a rocky one at that! New Jersey or the next few days. I've seen the city of NJ from the Staten Island Ferry and been to the Jersey coast, but never had I seen NJ in all it's beauty like this before. The weather was nice and cool and there were blue skies as I hikes along a large pond and up an over winding ridge tops with great views! The terrain was still pretty rocky even though we'd crossed into a different state and bid Pennsylvania farewell, but it got better as the miles progressed. The views were great all day!

As I was about 6 miles in, I met up with Keeper and his dog, Duke. Great day of hiking with these two and then Andy when he caught up with us at lunch.

Just like the past few days, it's been tick fest, so I removed a bunch more from me today. Not quite 20, but still annoying.

Hiked 24.7 miles to Brink Rd Shelter. Sore feet as I have blisters on the balls of my feet under the calluses again. Mosquitoes terrible tonight at shelter. Should be a cool night and a great one for catching some Z's. Unfortunately Golden, Wildflower, and Crush didn't do the same mileage like I thought they would. Will have to see them another day, but hopefully sooner rather than later.

6.22.12 - How's That for a Friday Morning?!

Headed out of camp around 6:20am for some solo hiking. Wanted to get an early jump because there was supposed to be storms, and walking over rocks is hard enough in good weather.

Along the way I saw 6 deer, including a little fawn. It was a really warm and humid morning, and it seemed like it was only going to get worse. Around 7:30am, I was hiking through an area with about waist to chest high vegetation, when I heard a rustling noise ahead. I stopped in my tracks as I looked ahead about 100 feet and saw a fairly large black bear. I looked to it's left and saw another one about the same size. I heard more rustling and saw another that was reaching up into a tree. I was outnumbered and didn't know if there were any others nearby, so without them knowing I was there, I backed up and got a ways away. I waited for Coffee to catch up, and then we moved back in. We only saw two of the three as we hiked through noisily, scaring them off by clanking our hiking pokes together.

I had also pulled about 6 ticks off at this point, and all this happened by about 7:30am! How's that for a Friday morning?!

Hiked 13 miles into Delaware Water Gap, and as we got to the town area, I could smell hotdogs on a grill. I told Coffee that I wanted to go to McDonalds in town, but if there was any chance I could get hotdogs, I would skip McDonalds. I quickly corrected myself and said I still would go to McD's either way. Sure enough, we turn the corner and right at the edge of a parking lot, is Boy Scouts from Troop 302, GRILLING HOTDOGS! As we walked up, they offered us dogs and cold sodas. Perfect! These were the boys we saw two days before, near a creek on the trail. They were planning on hiking more than they did, but due to the weather, they decided it wasn't worth the risk of over the Knife Edge. I think this was a pretty important lesson for the guys. As much as they probably wanted to hike, knowing your limitations and knowing when to stop is very important. It's proven to be important on the trail and in many things in life. So with their additional day, they decided to come out and treat other hikers. They had receivers some trail magic and wanted to pass it forward. Thanks to Boy Scout Troop 302 for the trail magic!

Had a short trip over to the Church of the Mountain hostel, where it was great meeting up with people I haven't seen in a while and grabbing another shower. Wildflower brought over an apple pie from the bakery which was delicious!

Section hiker Andy was there and it was good times horsing' around with him. Met Metric, Danish, Keeper, and Bad Dinner for the first time. Also staying there was Rocky, Sunshine, Skunkape, Steamer, Feivel, Beeker, Crush, Flash, Semper Fidelis and Dakota Dan.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6.20.12 - A Wrench in the Plans

Woke up early at 5am to get an early jump on the day. Wanted to get 22 miles done without getting affected by the heat of the day too much. Was ready to start hiking at 6am, but then Wildflower came over where I was and said Coffee wasn't feeling well. If you haven't read the last blog posting, he got sick on top of a mountain and started vomiting, which lead to dehydration. He was carried down by thru hikers, volunteer rescue folks, and medical personnel, and taken to a hospital. After his stay in the hospital recovering, he stayed at a hotel for a few nights and days before getting back to the trail. So back to the story... Coffee woke up and started to get ready, but wasn't feeling well. As badly as I wanted to hang with the group and get the mileage done I had prepared for, there was no way I was going to leave him there by himself, 8 miles out of a town. I decided to hang back and make sure he was alright. He set up his tent and went back to laying down. I checked my phone to make sure I had service just in case I should need to call for any help.

I laid around in the empty shelter and read the book I've been carrying for far too long. As the morning went on, it got warmer, but I stayed pretty cool in the shelter. Around 10:30 or 11, Coffee came over to the shelter and ate something. Shortly after, he said that he was fine when he was laying down, but felt dizzy when he sat or stood up. He went back to his tent to rest more. I was able to knock out over half of the book I had remaining, which was nice because I left it there for someone else to read, reducing my pack weight. Around 1pm, Coffee came back over to the shelter and said he was feeling better, so around 1:30, we headed out.

We hiked 8 miles into Palmerton, PA and got a hitch in the back of a pickup truck to the police station. There was some deliciously cold soda as trail magic as we came to the trail near town. We checked in at the police station and got directions to the Jailhouse Hostel in the borough's basement. It was nice and cool down there and the shower was refreshing after being without one for 10 days. We were able to do laundry and grab some Subway in the meantime. Jaws, Flash, Big Sky, and Diesel joined us at the hostel, and Dakota Dan and section hiker Andy were already there. After laundry, Jaws, Coffee, and I grabbed an ice cold beer. How refreshing after a hot day like today!

So even though a wrench was thrown into my plans, I'm glad Coffee felt alright in the end, and there is hope of catching up with the fun bubble I was hiking with!

6.21.12 - Heat, Stubbed Toes, and 20 Ticks

Woke up early again and this time Coffee was feeling good. Got headed out of the hostel around 6:30am and got a hitch back to the trail. Started up the large, boulder filled climb out of Palmerton, just before 7am. It was a lot cooler in the morning and I was stoked to be taking advantage of it! The 1000 foot climb up was a lot of fun and provided great views.

We hiked until just after 1pm and had done about 15.5 miles. We rested at the shelter and got some great cold water from the spring there. I took a nap and felt great when I woke up! Ended up leaving the shelter around 4:30pm when it had cooled down a little, but not much. Was around 95 as a high today, and humid. We hiked another 4.6 miles to Wind Gap and took a short detour over to the Gateway Motel to fill our water out of their hose. The guy who answered the office door was nice. Told us where we could find the hose. When we went around back, I turned the hose on and let the water run for a minute or so to let it cool down and let anything nasty that might be in the hose get out before filling my water bottles. A lady started saying something through tr window, but we couldn't figure out what she was saying. Finally she opened the window and asked why I was wasting water. I told her it was hot to start off and I was letting it cool. She said it's always hot. (FALSE). I told her I was sorry and I started to fill my bottles. She said "no sorry, why you wasting water? No waste water." (she was Indian and hard to understand). There was no winning this battle, so ever so politely, I ignored her and filled our bottles. I didn't even turn around to look at her when we finished. I thought about leaving the water running and just walk away, but decided to turn it off. After all, they were doing us a favor.

All day I was stubbing my toes for some reason. I had to slow down and pay attention to what I was doing more closely.

We hiked back to the trail and had a nasty climb back out of the gap. It wore me out big time. I think we ended up doing about 22 miles. Not bad for a hot day with uphills and a nap. By the end of the day, I had pulled 20 (that's TWENTY) ticks off of my legs. Most didn't make it past my socks, and only one had started to embed itself. Very annoying and ridiculous finding that many! 20 less ticks in the world. I killed them as I pulled them off.

About 13 miles left to get to Delaware Water Gap. Then we leave PA and enter NJ.

Still hot as I lay here in my tent. Hope it cools down tonight so I can sleep well. Chance of thunderstorms tomorrow, which should suck for walking over what some people say is the nastiest section of PA. Aiming for an early start and in town by noon or so.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6.19.12 - The Return of Coffee To Go, and Knife's Edge

Woke up this morning to a familiar laugh and voice. Laying in my bunk in the Eckville Shelter, I could hear what sounded like Coffee To Go's voice. When I got out of the shelter, sure enough, there he was. Even though I'd heard he had been in the hospital, I thought he would still be ahead of me. I walked out and talked with him. Turns out he got sick for some reason on Dan's Pulpit, started throwing up and couldn't even hold water down. This lead to him becoming very dehydrated. A few other hikers made a makeshift stretcher out of pine branches and a sleeping bag, an carried him part of the way down the mountain until a group of about 50 rescue volunteers and some medical personnel showed up to help in getting him down the mountain and to the hospital. He was taken to Allentown Hospital where he was treated and then spent a few days relaxing and recovering in a hotel. He was driven back to Eckville Shelter, and that's where we met up again. Glad to see he was doing well!

It was raining, so we decided to take our time and wait it out a little. It stopped shortly after and we decided to take off. Due to a later start and not feeling like pushing it too much, we did 17 miles to Bake Oven Knob Shelter, one of the oldest shelters in Pennsylvania. It was a pretty crappy area to camp and a very small, sort of dark and uninviting shelter.

About 14 miles into the hike, we hit an area called the Knife's Edge. I had been looking forward to it, as it sounded challenging and exciting! It was a really cool area where the rocks made a sharp ridge line that we had to go across. With steep drops on both sides, I was careful to move across, but really enjoyed it!

Tomorrow is supposed to be hot, and we will be hitting an area that is exposed to the sun for a while, without many water sources along the way. Heading to bed early so I can get an early start tomorrow to beat the heat. Planning to leave by 6am.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Next 2 Options for Care Packages to be Sent

Some of you have been asking again where care packages can be sent that I'll be able to receive on the trail. Based off my best estimations, here are two options.

Should be here by 6/26:

Bear Mountain Inn
Please hold for AT Thru Hiker Ryan Simko
PO Box 351
Bear Mountain, NY 10911

Should be here by 7/3:

Peter Becks Village Store
Please hold for AT Thru Hiker Ryan Simko
19 Main Street
Salisbury, CT 06068


Monday, June 18, 2012

6.18.12 - More Rock Hoppin', Pinnacles, and Some Unfortunate News

Rough night of sleep last night with traffic rolling nearby all through the night. Tossed and turned all night and didn't get a lot of solid sleep.

Got a later start out of camp this morning around 8:30am, then walked into town on the way to the trail and killed a little more time there. Jaws and I were going to go to the Yuengling brewery, but couldn't find a solid shuttle and didn't want to even bother trying to hitch 15 miles one way.

Had a considerable climb right out of town first thing this morning, but it wasn't too bad. Talking with Golden on the way up helped to pound it out quickly. Had some great conversations and some good laughs that made the time and miles fly by. Ran into Dakota Dan who I haven't seen since the Shenandoahs. Sometime down the trail, Wildflower told me that her husband was reading another hiker's blog and found out that Coffee To Go had to be carried down a mountain on the trail by some other hikers on a makeshift stretcher made from pine branches and a sleeping bag, to get him to some medical personnel. He was dehydrated and needed to be given fluids through IV at a hospital. Granted this is all hearsay from other hikers, but hopefully everything is alright. I haven't been able to get ahold of Coffee or anyone else I could think would have been around him.

Had a lot of rock hopping to do today again, but got a great view from an area called the Pinnacle. It looked out over the valley and a lot of PA farms. Up top along the rocks there was a timber rattler that someone let us know about. It was tucked under a rock and hard to see.

Hiked into Eckville Shelter, which only made for a 14 mile day, but most of us felt fine with that, as many of us needed a shorter day for our bodies to recover a little. My previously surgical foot was a little tender today, so resting it was good. Willie wanted to order pizza and have it delivered to the shelter, so we all chipped in for 3 pizzas with the Monday night $5.99 large pizza special. I had a few pieces, and my stomach was really hurting. Golden mentioned that she saw me eat a lot of raisins at lunch, and that thy have a lot of fiber. That, and I had. fiber bar today. I think I need to cut back if that's what it is.

Eckville Shelter is a fully enclosed shelter that has an outhouse with a shower in the building, and a caretaker that lives right next to the shelter. The shower was cold, but it felt good to be clean(er). We had some good laughs watching the Mr Rogers remix "garden of your mind" video on YouTube!

Looking forward to hiking the Knife Edge tomorrow!

6.17.12 - A Great New "Bubble", and Trail Friday into Port Clinton, PA

Had an uphill first thing this morning to start the day. Hiked with Golden and Wildflower to Eagle's Nest Shelter, 9 miles out. Had lunch there around 11 and worked on a rough plan for the next couple of weeks. Who knows whether I'll be with them during that whole time or not, but it was worth a look. Since I've gotten back on trail, I've been hiking and hanging out with a great group of other hikers. As Golden and a few others have referred to it, you have a "bubble" of people that you hike with and or around. Sometimes you may see them all day, or you may see them part of the day, then those people all meet up at the same shelter or campsite. Good term for it! So my new bubble is great! Really fun to be around, different personalities, different reasons for being out here, a lot of diversity, and it really makes for a great time.

Hikes another 9 into Port Clinton. The last mile or so was a crazy steep downhill. A few of us agreed it was probably the steepest section we've experienced on the AT so far. Sick as it might be, I actually thought it was fun! Better, in my opinion, to be going down it instead of up it! This was one of the rockiest days I remember on the trail thus far. Makes my feet sore by the end of the day. Today I was also battling sore balls of my feet that have developed blisters under the callouses. Haven't had that for a while, but they're back! Hoping to not be too tender tomorrow.

Got a hitch into Hamburg to eat HAMBURGers at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. After that, went to Walmart to resupply for 4 days. The larges Cabela's was a little ways away, at 250,000 square feet. The outside of the building looked huge. I've been in a few before that were smaller, and while I wanted to check it out, it didn't seem worth the walk there and back. Also, there was a trail angel that offered to take us back toward the trail so we could stay at a pavilion that the local church takes care of. Nice spot down by a river, but in earshot of a busy road. We will see how sleeping goes.

Jaws and Flint got dropped off as I was hanging my food bag, and Jaws mentioned possibly going to the Yuengling Brewery (America's oldest brewery) tomorrow for a tour. We're gonna figure it out tomorrow and decide. Sounds like a good idea to me :)

Really enjoying being out here since I've gotten back. I think my batteries were recharged from quality time with family and friends, and the new people I've met.

Also, need to include that Mom #2, aka Mrs Huber's homemade strawberry jam is absolutely delicious! Golden and Wildflower tried some at lunch ands loved it! Wildflower said it tastes like summer in a jar. Would definitely enjoy getting my hands on more of that. Glad my mom had a plastic jar to put it in so I could take it on the trail! Thanks Mom #2!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

6.16.12 - Double Trail Magic, Lunch Fun, and Pyrate Jack

Had fun last night hanging out around the campfire. Woke up today just before 6am, and decided I wanted to sleep a little later today. Decided to get up and moving around 6:35am. It was a nice cool morning. Roadside had cowboy camped and got out around 5:30am. I hiked by myself until about 11am when I reached William Penn shelter about 9 miles out. Roadside was there and also a father and son out for the weekend. The son, 12 year old Blake, was a funny kid an very outgoing. He played some Beatles for us on his iPod and talked to us about how he liked skateboarding and biking. Golden, Wildflower, and Crush showed up and we all played a card game that Blake brought called Blink. One time when he dealt the cards, there ended up being an extra on the table, and he said he would take it because he's so fast at the game. He wasn't kidding! He smoked us all! He learned all of our trail names and wanted one himself. Before we left, we gave him the trail name Pyrate Jack. He looked like a pirate with his bandana and ears pierced, we spelled it with a "y" since he's a pyro, and Jack because he seemed to be the jack of all trades. He was into so many different things and even showed us how he could bust a move to "Teach me How to Dougie". Great kid and he made today really feel like the weekend!

Hiked on and found some small bags of chips someone left as trail magic. We then moved on to the 501 shelter. Super nice shelter and it even had some pickles in jars on the table that Golden and I took our chances on. They were delicious! Hung my pack to get the weight. 2 day of food left, 1 liter of water, weighed in at 25 pounds. Not bad. As soon as I get rid of the book I'm reading it will be lighter. Plus, I'm carrying my water filter plus a steripen as backup. Not absolutely necessary, but the steripen is only 5oz. Fortunately my water filter has been working flawlessly lately!

Hiked on to the ending point I'd set out for today at Hertlein Campsite. Ended up with a 19 mile day. When we got into camp we passed by a large group of people camping. They gave us a gallon size ziplock bag with really good Mac and cheese with bacon in it! Shared that with Wildflower and Crush, and ate my own dinner. Looking forward to tomorrow. 18 miles (+1 mile off trail) to check out the 250,000 square foot Cabela's store and eat at their restaurant's weekend buffet! Then it's right next door to Walmart to resupply for the next 5 day out. There is also a pavilion in Port Clinton, PA that allows thru hikers to camp there. I think some of us are going to get food at Walmart for a potluck at the pavilion. Should be a fun day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

6.15.12 - Good Day of Hiking

Had a good day on the trail today. Woke up early and was out of camp about 6:50am. I really enjoy morning hiking more than any other part of the day. The water was down about 300 steps from the shelter and I heard it wasn't a pleasant trip, so I conserved my water and waited til I was 6 miles out of camp to a stream to get water.

Passed a few people along the way. Hiked a little while with Saunter and chatted. Then I took off for the stream and kept going uphill. Threw some music on the iPod to get me pumped up to get up those mountains. Caught up to Roadside who left real early this morning. Hiked with him for a little while. Willy caught up and hiked past us. I caught up to him taking a break by Rausch Gap Shelter trail, which was closed for maintenance. I went down to the creek to rinse my hair and face. Came back up to the trail and met Whistles, who was going south for a few days, but normally a NOBO. Sat around and talked for a while, and Roadside caught up. Left shortly after Crush showed up. Pretty rocky day today, yet I still think it's gonna get worse.

Hiked an additional 4.7 miles to a campsite near PA 443. Me, Willy, Crush, Golden, Wildflower, and Roadside set up camp and made a fire to control the bugs. They were bad today!

Might go into an all you can eat buffet tomorrow. Haven't decided yet.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

6.14.12 - Let the Rock Hoppin' Begin

Hiked 10 or 11 miles from Darlington Shelter to Duncannon, PA. Had a good time picking John's brain about being a business owner. Stopped at The Doyle Hotel with Mad Hat and John, and asked about how far the grocery store was. The bartender said it was a dangerous road to walk, and asked her husband if he needed to run to the grocery store to get anything for the kitchen. He did, so he gave me a ride there and back. Resupply was pretty quick and easy for the next 4 days ahead.

Got back to the Doyle and went outside to eat my lunch. It was tough passing up a good meal and beer on tap, but I managed to do it. Can't be spending money everywhere I want to, knowing I'm not bringing any in whole I'm on this hike.

Hit the trail around 2pm and hiked to Peters Mountain Shelter about 11 miles out of town. A nice lady sitting on her porch as I walked through town wished me luck and a safe, healthy rest of my journey, and asked for God's blessing for me. Some of the most random people I come across are the nicest people.

The trail really started to get more rockier than normal. Wasn't too bad though compared to how everyone talks about the rocks in PA. Maybe that part is yet to come. Helped that I had an iPod that was just reloaded with some new, great music! Had me hoppin' from rock to rock!

About a 21 or 22 mile day. Not bad with a resupply in the middle and for just coming back to the trail after about 6 or 7 days off trail!