Day 134

Tuesday 21st August

I was up. And out as I needed to get to north Compton Post office as I had stupidly sent a package there and hadn’t the cell service to change it.
The slog up the side trail that I went down last night was a struggle . How I walked down it in the dark last I don’t know.
It seemed to take me ages to get back to the Hut.

I went inside got my book stamped refilled with water  then re-joined the trail.
The start was a climb up Mt Monroe, and it was rock, and it was steep. The soles of my feet were sore from yesterday so ached as I walked hopefully, I can block that out .
As I climbed the views were amazing, but it was a tough climb. I was following the Cairns, but it was still hard trying to plot my route to the next cairn. I was soon puffing and panting . But the views were amaze g and typically Mt Washington was clear in the distance.

At last I reached the summit andd wow what a view . I stood on the top for several minutes just staring at the amazing views. But I was on a tight schedule as I needed to get go the post office.

I headed down or rather to the ridge. The views were stunning . and I was just amazed at their beauty. I stumbled and hesitated my way down to a flat surface.

As I began to reach the tree line, I met an Australian south bounder  called shield maiden that made me smile as it’s a term .from. Vikings that is one of my favourite tv programs.
at last I was off the rocks. and began to head down into the trees .
I hadn’t gone far until. I ran into Passenger, Sir mix lot, bleep and Ossie. We exchanged verbal insults as they were slackpacking south as we continued our way. Next it was the commander and Wander Woman Wander Woman gave me advice about the trail.

At last the trail.be and less rocky and I was able to get some speed up.or rather I thought I was faster.

come on snail I urged my way on as I wouldn’t be at the trail head until 1.30 then I had a double hitch .
I was still heading down, but I thought I was going good on time
I crossed several creeks as I continued down from. Monroe.
Then  crossed over a large creek via a suspension bridge

I was busy stomping down the trail when I came snagged on s branch stupidly, I wrenched free, only to find that it was my tent stuff sack that’s caught so it was now ripped in two and my tent fluttered out behind me. I was more concerned that in May of ripped my tent, so I had to stop to. I investigate. Luckily not . so, had to carry out a quick repair / bodge on my tent bag then I was on my way.
I shortly emerged onto a road. shall I hitch I pondered.
as forestry can appeared and stopped so I asked the driver for advice on how to get to the post office. He recommended continuing to Pickcom Notch. Do that’s what I did. I soon began to see people which meant that I was close.
Soon I was there . I went inside to grab a soda. Outside was pippin and Sparks

I gave the normal abuse then headed for the road and to hitch to North Compton
It was 10 minutes before I had a ride .the guy was an all-round dude. hiker, surfer, skier etc. he made me feel quite dull .as he was my age May be older. but a great car companion. He ended up dropping me at the post office. I grabbed my new Snozzel bag from Xped posted my tourist stuff up the trail , then headed back to the road. my driver suggested that I walk to the next set of lights then hitch.

It worked  a lady stopped, she was retired and had just been fishing
As we drove, she said bugger my golf has been cancelled so  I might as well take you to Gorham. As originally, she was going to drop me off at the road junction.
Where do you want to go, she asked…?
I wasn’t sure so got out my phone. The Hostel. I said.
It’s right there she said pointing to the right.
She dropped me right outside the hostel.

I thanked her and lugged my pack. Up the driveway.
I pushed the bell.
Do you have a bed I asked?
Sorry we are full.
Fuck.it I thought…….Do you have tenting?
Yes, I have tenting .
Okay then that would be good, do you have a bed for tomorrow ?
Yes, I do .
Great so I booked in and paid.
I quickly put up my tent and relaxed.
Once settled in  I then walked to the Post office and picked up my
On the way back I got some snacks for tea and beer.
Once back I sorted through my stuff. The relaxed in the barn with my fellow hikers and relaxed.

Start. 1864
Finish. 1871
Miles. 7
Miles left

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Day 91 zero in port Clinton

Monday 9th July
I heard several other hikers moving around at 6 am but I had chores to do so there was no hurry. at 8 am I got up for the customary see but as I was in public, I wandered over to the porta Potty.
I then returned to my bed. and was dozing when several ladies appeared bringing in food.
There’s going to be coffee and eggs one of the ladies announced.
so, I got up . and walked over to where they were setting up.
There was indeed bacon . boiled eggs and a sort of omelette that was so tasty. I also had coffee. then the ladies brought around juices . and bagels . then insisted that we have more .
Well that was unexpected and really nice .
Okay haircut time .I walked to the barber’s carrying my old poles and bits that I wanted to post.
I walked into the barber’s and was amazed it was like Aladdin’s cave. filled with memorabilia and brick a brack and all the chairs where rocking chairs
There was a man having his hair cut so good I will be next then I can get on
But No.
Once the man had paid .The barber began doing other stuff.
Then he looked at me . and asked do you want your hair cut?
Well yes, I do .

A few minutes he said and began to fill cases with silver coins and other trinkets .
Get yourself a coffee and pastry. there are cookies there and relax
Then the father and daughter hikers arrived but they just wanted a lift. One of my customers will take you. just relax.
Almost 40 minutes later he’s ready for me. but as he starts to cut my hair, he keeps having conversations with everyone as the shop gradually fills up.
Then 2 more members of staff arrive and again he starts to cut my hair then wanders off to chat to more customers .
I’m still sat in the chair when noproblama arrives . but only to charge his phone

omg a 45-minute hair cut but it did look good. I pay and go to retrieve my phone and noproblama laughs at the amount of time that it took .
Yes, I said as I need to get to the post office.
Snail.it doesn’t open untill.12.30 ,!!
Really, I say . bugger I was hoping to head straight back out well after tree hugger gets in
So, I grab a chair and continue to charge it whilst editing video
Then Tree hugger appears .
Snail is this yours .  he says passing me my puffy that I had left in the last motel
Well thank you so much . really appreciate it thanks again .

With us  all together I grab a photo if all if us and me in the chair.
Tree Hugger decides to get his hair cut .so I say my goodbyes as he is staying in a hotel in the next town .and it’s now 12.30.
I walk to the Post office and . hand over my I’d
there should be a couple of packages for me.
He comes Back with 4 ,my new poles, new tips, new socks and a case for my phone.
I box up my old poles and a few other bits then post them up the trail.

At last I wander back to the pavilion. I cut the new ends into my poles. then sort out my other bits . The case for my phone is good but the glass is the wrong size and it’s not worth returning it. oh well my mistake.

I decide to sort out some paperwork and drink a few beers from yesterday. Then I decide it’s not worth hiking out now and as my foot is still painful  so a longer rest wouldn’t hurt
In the Pavilion. several other hikers are resting ,it seems a good idea, so I decide to do the same and grab fourty winks with my foot elevated.

At 5pm Robin hood decides to go for food
Where are you going, I asked
To the Hotel snail?
I don’t think they open on a Monday, but the fire station club is, and they do snacks and cheap beer.

You fancy coming Snail?
Yeah why not .
On the way to town  we decide to check  on the Hotel., but  it as we approach a lady shouts out
“They are closed on a Monday”
Okay then.
So, we head to the fire station and push the bell. when the light goes orange, we can open the door.
We enter then ask several patrons if they would mind signing us in .
Then we can order some beer. The local ale is yinglang. and it is served in frosted glasses.
I then order some food . which I soon dispose of.
I manage to make the whole bar laugh by asking for a serviette. The barman is confused. Oh, sorry I say a Napkin.

Several of the locals buy me beer and I’m just about to leave when 2 more beers arrive
I must go after these I insist .
When at last I exit the fire station there is a nip in the air .and wished I had brought my puffy which I now have back.
I must admit I enjoy the walk back at dusk watching the fireflies dart about

once back at the Pavilion I pack up my gear so I’m ready to go first thing.
Then I swallow a couple of Pm to help me sleep then I’m gone

Start 1185
Finish 1185.
Miles. ZERO

Day 86 Heading to Duncannon

Heading to Duncannon

I lay awake staring at the sky as I hadn’t had to put my fly on.
To my right I could hear someone packing up and so it was time to do the same. Groggily I unzipped my tent walked a few paces and enjoyed my morning wee.
I quickly packed up and then. Lit my stove as my neighbour hoisted his pack said the customary see you up the trail as he walked back towards the trail. I enjoyed my cuppa before finishing my packing .I then walked down to the shelter dropped my pack and headed towards the loo.
The loo here is known as the Taj Mahal as it’s huge . Bigger than some shelters I’ve seen
I was soon back on the trail and I only had 11 miles to get me into town whoop
It was early but still warm as made my way along the trail, but I was heading down . At last a breeze. that’s oh so nice.
The down didn’t last long and soon I was puffing up the obligatory up, but at a rather good speed and was soon catching another hiker in front . who turned out to be my last night’s neighbour.
I soon was at the top and the trail began to level out? in fact it stayed like this for most of the Day. Then the rocks arrived, and I was soon tripping over them and swearing. okay I’ll take a break in a minute I said to myself. Then I noticed another hiker in front sitting on a low. He was at the shelter when I arrived last night but hiked out. We chatted for a while then I. Pushed on a little way along there was a clearing giving me a great view of the river and town. I must be near I thought. As I carried on, I could hear voices below okay I must be going down soon . I could then see 3 people sat on a large rock outcrop. But by the time I had reached their level they had gone. The trail now dived down nut was made of rock steps. I tried to speed up slipped kicked a rock killing my toe and decided that that was not clever. I then did it again almost rolling my ankle. a string of rude words filed the air and I began to descend even slower.

At last I was standing on a road. But the trail wasn’t very clear. so, I checked my phone.
okay this way . the trail crossed a bridge then eventually would snake its way through town.
A little way in the distance I could see a garage. and a smile appeared on my face.
Oh it’s so lovely walking from heat into air con. I grabbed a basket and put in 2 lilts , a peach Snapple, 2 oranges, an Apple, a fruit jelly a pint of strawberry ice cream and a bugspray. I then paid walked across the street sat at a picnic table and ate and drank the lot . I was just tidying up when a man stopped his truck and came over to chat . although I wanted to leave. I was still chatting when three other hikers who were at the shelter last night arrived. . This man was interested in hiking so was hitting us for information and tips.
At last I escaped and walked on heading to Town . by now it was hot . But after my picnic in the park I really needed the loo.
As in was passing Doyle’s hotel I noticed a lady sat outside , who I presumed worked there so I asked if I could use the loo.
You a hiker?
Well yes I am ( Can’t you tell)!!
Come inside leave your pack. need fresh water?

I did as I was told and entered the bar.
Do you serve beer I foolishly asked.
Yes, she said pointing at the pumps?

I ordered a beer then noticed some familiar faces at the other end of the pub It was Sunshine, Mousetrap and nonproblem I think’s his trail name.

Snailtrainer they all exclaimed
So I had hugs l round whist catching upon the gossip. They were playing pool. With some locals and were losing badly. it appeared that Mousetrap and myself were next up, so I grabbed myself another beer. We played well but still lost .

These guys were staying at the local church . But already had reservations at the motel ” Red Carpet”. so, I said goodbye to my friends as I needed beer to take with me.
The Beer shop was huge and was very busy well.it is July 4th. Sadly, all  the beers I fancied only came in huge packs that no way could I carry .I was still pondering when another hiker arrived .Do you want to spit a case I asked?

Yes, snail that’s a great idea

so, we  brought a case and split it  Result. Outside we carefully put the bottles into our packs. I waved goodbye then rang the motel to organise my ride.
He arrived within 10 minutes . I put in my pack then got in. The motel was several miles along the freeway. so not good to hitch.
I checked in got my quarters  for laundry then walked to.my room it was big and spacious.
I quickly transferred my beer to the fridge, Next was laundry so I rounded up all my smelly stuff and walked to the machine, I loaded it up then returned to my room.
I stripped off  and then I jumped into the shower and relaxed under the soothing spray for 20 minutes.
OMG that’s was so good. I walked back to the laundry and transferred my clothes to the dryer.
Now it was beer time. I exploded my pack all over the room and began to sort through my gear. I made a pile of items that I wanted to Post. ( tick).
Then I wrote a letter to exchange my socks ( tick).
I drank my beer as I did my chores.
I retrieved my clothes from the dryer, the two pairs of “Holey” socks I put in a Ziplock along with the letter. I will post tomorrow.

The motel said that they would run me to the restaurant and pick.me up so I walked to the reception . A young lad drove me, but it appeared closed ( July 4th) . Okay where next.
I was now getting a burger and fries it looked huge. I grabbed my food and walked back to the motel. On the way  back I passed a hardware store.(( I should have  got gas !!)).

Once back in my room I owned another beer and stuffed my face with burger and chips.
Once full I did more chores, ordered. Tyvek, and a phone case and then relaxed and watched Tv drinking more beer.

Start 1138.6
Finish 1147.9
Miles. 11 miles

Day 85 a Day of Magic

Tuesday 3rd July
After hitting the hiking wall, I was really looking forward to a good night’s sleep………
The train tracks were miles away but when these huge long locomotives pass by crossing, they toot their horns that seemed to echo around the mountain that I had thrown my tent up on . Then it seemed that airplanes high above me hit their turbo or afterburner setting . . At last it went quite .until the sky lit up with lightening. perfect I thought as I waited for the boom of the thunder.
I sleepily got out of my tent and put my fly on . pegged it down then got back into.my pit and closed my eyes and waited for the downpour…. Which never came.
After my poor day yesterday, I decided to get up. Early to beat the heat. so, my alarm went off at 4.30. although it seemed I had only just gone to bed. It’s a fairly good idea to get up early except it’s dark and you can’t find anything.
I hit the trail just before 6 and felt really pleased with myself. Although I was amazed on how warm it was. I pushed on finally escaping from this mountain. it was good trail apart from a few steep climbs to bitch about . I walked for 30 minutes .Then saw bumblebees’ tent, I was impressed that she had got this far as she too looked knackered when I saw her. I saw movement so shouted get up you lazy cow. As I walked, I passed by 4 more tents spread out in various places along the trail. The last tent barked. I recognised it as that annoying dog that I passed yesterday.
A little further along I passed a creek so decided I ought to top up my water as I believe it was a long stretch to the next. Typically, once I had the added weight of water it was time for another climb. Once at the top of course there was nothing to see , although there was a plaque.
I soon headed down then I was in farmland. and it stretched for miles. in the distance I could make out some one walking a dog. .Around the outside of the field there were a few very nice houses. Yes, I’d like that one. Once I was across my first field the trail took an immediate right and crossed another. Barley on one side and grass on the other I . followed this for a while until it promptly stopped by a road. I looked around for the next blaze. It was on a hidden post. I walked a little way up the road until the trail dived into another field. Maize this time and again it seemed to stretch out for miles.
I am so glad that I got up early as these fields would be murder in the sun
I followed around several headland until. the trail headed back into the forest. But it was more of a hedge and I emerged out the other side by a railway track.
I crossed over and in was in the town of springs xx I walked over the bridge and was greeted with a large boating lake. as I walked around it, I noticed a white blaze. oh, so this is the trail.
I asked a lady walking her dog if any shops were open to grab a cold drink ?
The cafe is open at the end if the lake turns left.
I thanked her and set off
It wasn’t far and soon arrived at the cafe which had a Mexican theme, I asked a man seated outside if they come out or do, I have to go.in ?
You go in if your ordering breakfast he said.
I dropped my pack and walked in the air con was lovely and cool I was trying to make up.my mind when a lady began to talk to me . and ask me about my journey and the trail. She then insisted on buying me breakfast. I thanked her so much. The waitress then gave me a number I poured myself coffee from one of the numerous flasks then went to sit outside.

Come join us the lady said. her name was Sandy and she was visiting her sister. we chatted while we ate, and I was so relaxed. but it was getting hot and I needed to push on .
So, I thanked them once again and began to leave. I had just put on my pack when bumble bee appeared .She looked exhausted and hot. zits got aircon if you want to sit inside, I said. but I need to go.
I walked back towards the lake and the AT Centre , outside was Tree Hugger hello you I said . He was interested in my mileage . but I was being coy. whilst here I got my passport stamped filled up with water then I was ready.

The trail follows the road for a while then it heads back into. The Forrest. Oh, and mud, but luckily not too bad to get over and aground. Then I was back into the countryside again . God it was hot and no shade as I pushed on down the trail I then past a lad a d his dad who were out for the weekend. I crossed over a road and into another field. At the next road a voice said do you need anything cold?
It was a lady sat by her car with a large ice box .
yes, please is always the answer.
Yes, passed me can ice cold peach tea Snapple. I hadn’t had one before and it’s taste really hit the spot. oh, she said I’ve ice pops
I devoured 3 before I left .thanking her .
I pushed on crossing maize field after field . the Sun trying to set me on fire.

I crossed another road then crossed a small footbridge and there was another ice chest full of coke, iced tea water and sandwiches .
I chugged some iced tea . which was really refreshing. Then grabbed a coke and sandwich. enjoyed the moment before hiking on .

I checked my watch I was on target, but this heat was relentless. I. Pushed on more farmland .more fields at last I dropped into the forest, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the varied scenery of today.

I walked around the boundary of a farm and chatted to the cows. who were mostly lying down  sheltering under trees ? which is where I would rather be.

After chatting to the cows, I emerged onto a main road the heat radiating from it was intense
I walked quickly to  try to get out of it and back into the cooler field. After 20 minutes I crossed over another road and began to drop. Down into the valley. as I crossed a large stile my water ran out .Mm that’s not good . I stopped and removed my back I carry a pint inn the side pocket.my back us. I poured that into my bladder and repacked. I then checked my map for where is the next water .

I was just leaving when a hiker came the other way.
There’s trail. Magic by the bridge.
Where is that I asked,
1/2 mile not far.
That news urged me on, and I was soon crossing the bridge.

To the left there were several ice chests . As I walked towards them a lovely lady said help yourself there is sodas on the red one Gatorade on the blue. and snacks take what you want. I removed my pack and set in the shade for a few minutes. Then walked a d grabbed a soda. There were 4 other hikers here. 2 were waiting out the heat . I had another soda. some chocolate and some crisps.

I checked my maps again . whoop only 5 miles to go . I was pleased with today’s progress.
But it’s up one of the hikers said and no water.
Bigger I thought so I decided to take water with me . and in the heat. But sensibly I did wait another 40 minutes before heading out.

The first few miles were nice and gentle then it was up and up and steep .Omg it was steep I was soon soaked and puffing and still it climbed and climbed. and the bastard flies began to attack. . I saw a rock chair and collapsed onto it. puffing and sweating. it was then I noticed the stunning view. I relaxed for 5 minutes. until I had the energy to carry on. At last I was at the summit and there was a sign pointing to the shelter.
I walked down the Blue blazed trail and there was the shelter.
I said hi to the occupants then went and put up.my tent.

I was pleased with my day but was tired so quickly cooked tea and went to bed

Start    1115.6
Finish 1138.6
Miles. 23

Day 84

I had switched off my alarm as there was no rush today as I had planned to call into the cafe on the park that was just over 2 miles away.
I eventually emerged around 6.30 and began to slowly pack up, retrieved my food bag.
I stripped down my tent then cooked breakfast washed down with a cuppa.
I hoisted up my pack and set off I hadn’t gone far when I crossed the 1100-mile marker.
Then a little further was the “Old ” halfway marker. I was taking photos when Bumble bee arrived .
We walked down the trail together until we came to some trail magic . Someone had left loads of Gatorade out for us totally amazing.

As we were drinking papa Smurf arrived wow he said as these bottles are about $3 each.
We moved off together, but he is fast and was soon out if sight.

As we hiked, we could hear a mower.  That  turned out to be a guy with a weed whacker trimming the trail we both thanked him and hiked on.
Bumble bee started to say
“The problem is when they do that is that it makes the trail slippy”
Then she fell over. then I did the same we both  laughed both got up and continued.
As we slowly spiralled down, we noticed several nice cabins. Some were nice.
We then came to a road it was a short road walk then we were in the park. As we walked up the drive, we could see the cafe and Papa Smurf sat outside. He was attempting the 1/2-gallon ice cream challenge. I fancied a go but didn’t want that limb sat in my tummy all afternoon, so sensibly went for a breakfast roll egg bacon and cheese & coffee.
After I grabbed a coke and an ice cream bar. As we sat chatting Curly turtle & Flex arrived . Curly Turtle also fancied the challenge so returned with her ice cream

Hurrah whoop Papa Smurf has done his.
I sat relaxing as a mother and her 3 daughters arrived. One of the girls offered to take our photos.
It’s no good I need to hike and need  that  shower so set off through the park. it’s a great picnic park with glorious lake with a beach and  showers etc.

The shower block was near the lake, I dropped my pack, grabbed my shampoo and walked in. found a cubicle. I took off my shoes and socks then walked under the shower with the rest of my clothes on.
I washed my hair then the rest of me the shower felt so good and  was lovely to be clean  if only for a few minutes
I walked out into the Sun to air dry as hikers don’t carry towels lol. As I was drying Bumble bee arrived.

See you up the trail I said hoisting my pack and setting off .
The trail, the trail wound its way  around the lake  so I could see the  families enjoying themselves .I was envious of all the kids playing.
Once out of the park, I began my first climb. so, head down and push . I seemed to make that easy so pushed on as the trail wound itself around the forest.
I was pushing when j met a friendly face coming the other way. It was Tree Hugger , followed by the father and daughter and another hiker whose name escapes me.
We wished  each other well , before  pushing  on.
It’s not long before Papa Smurf speeds past me . How does he do that!!.
I spent most of the afternoon in the forest, but it was still hot. Very hot my watch showed 90° and it was shady.
I began to feel a little dizzy .Maybe the Sun maybe I wasn’t drinking enough, So I decided to  take a break at the next water and eat lunch.
I rounded a corner and could hear water, Sat by the bridge was Papa Smurf.
“Great idea I said .
I found  a log to sit on then dropped my pack. I took my water bottles and filled them from the creek. I filtered 1 litre into my bladder then filtered another into the empty one which I then flavoured.
Lunch time, I opened up my lunch bag and slowly devoured my snacks before  glugging  down the litre of flavoured water.
I hoisted up my pack, crossed over the bridge and continued on my way
There was a shop in 2 miles . mmm  may get a cold soda.!
I pushed on melting on the  heat. Then  the flies arrived and  began to drive me mad.
Little midges that fly in front of you face and eventually into your eyes and slightly bigger ones that just buzz in your ears.
I pulled the bandana over my head to blank out the buzzing and put on my sunglasses to stop the others .
I began climbing and it was murder. Come on Snail you have got this .
I crossed over several. Roads then the railway line.
The shop was to.my right but I didn’t fancy walking down the road off trail especially .in this heat so turned left and continued.

Time for more climbing Omg omg fuck fuck fuck .Once again I had run into that  brick wall. I saw a mossy rock and just collapsed into it .Fuck this I said to myself struggling out of my pack . I then removed my shoes and socks and took a 20-minute power nap.
God that felt good and I felt almost revived. I got myself ready and hit the trail again.
There was water in 2 miles, okay I will fill up. Then find somewhere to camp. I pushed on feeling much better and most raced up the next two hills. Then I crossed a road and a small bridge over a stream. Sat  nearby was a couple and their dog who just barked at me. I filled up.my bottles then pushed on . Okay snail. You have got this go; you can hike to 5 pm. I blazed down the trail crossed. more road and then came the next climb and  no shade and it was steep and was mainly clambering over rocks . up and up I panted and puffed got it was horrid  the Rock maze I was close to bursting  into flames as it was so HOT.
I slurped water from.my bladder hoping that I had enough. eventually I was at the top. Omg it was just more rock huge chunks of rock .I just want to put up my tent!!!!

My face was the colour of a fire engine  as I looked for the  trail. Oh, course it went straight up and over this rock. After 30 minutes of clambering I had, had enough I just wanted to put up.my tent. I carried on for 20 minutes until I was spent

There that will do I shoehorned my tent into a small clearing
Once my tent was up , I felt I could relax  made tea then crashed .it was early 5pm but I was done.

As I lay dozing in my tent after I heard a familiar voice  of  Bumblebee.
“Snail is that you.?
Yes I crashed. I replied

I just need water then I will do the same she Replied

Start 1099.8
Finish 1115.6
Miles. 17

Day 81 Maryland day 2

I slept well considering and was up and on the trail by 6.30 I waved goodbye to bumble bee and then did the same to Dog whisperer . it was a cool morning as I stopped up. The trail at the road crossing there was a bag of fruit, so I grabbed an apple
I crossed the road and again there were many signs telling the history of the civil war.
I crossed through a field then began to climb again but it wasn’t a huge climb and so was soon st the top. the trail was graded well then signs began to appear telling you about the life of George Washington. st the top was a monument dedicated to him .

There were great views from here. I was just leaving when Bumble bee arrived. dis she fast today or me slow,
I took off again determined not to stop for 5 hours. I climbed I descended I avoided the bogs and sticky mud. I said morning to everyone who past and stopped to chat to others. then I came to rock and slowed to a crawl . I just can’t walk over it

At last I was back to nice soil, but it was now 11. Okay a break . I began to look for a suitable spot .Perfect
I dropped my pack plugged my phone into its charger as it was low. Then I brewed tea and ate lunch. I was still relaxing when Bumblebee arrived.
She was heading to the next shelter but would get there by 3. I may see you there. but I too wanted more miles even though that would be 18.
I watched her go then began to pack up as several more hikers came past.
I was soon back on the trail when I found a bandana, I picked it up and soon caught the last two hikers .
it was indeed hers. we chatted for a while . They were getting picked up at the road. When we arrived, their friend asked if I fancied a cold beer so joined them just off trail.

We chatted for ages drinking several cans of beer.
Then a ranger arrived he was chatty, and I told him about the inconsiderate hikers. he filled on a report and copied their photos. If they misbehave again, they could be banned from state parks.
I had one more beer .packed one out then headed back to the trail.
I was a little annoyed with myself for wasting so much time. but it was enjoyable.

I pushed on and on .But it was hot come on miles. But I was low on water so needed some . At last a creek I guzzled down a litre then topped up my bladder maybe too much. As the rest of the trail was up.
I checked the next shelter was near but dry so at the next creek I filled up again dreading the last climb.
It was steep it was long it was hot my pack creaked under the weight. Finally, a sign . SHELTER. I made my way down the side trail . The shelter was nice new. there were dad and daughter who were at the camp yesterday.
I paused for a while trying to decide whether to go on or not . then went and put my tent up.
I cooked dinner early then retreated to my tent as I needed my sleep
It was a good day, but I wanted more miles . Maybe tomorrow?

Start    1041.9
Finish 1060.8
Miles 19

My Video Blog And Written Blog are out of sync
here is the days Video

Day 83

I quickly packed up then began the slug back up the hill. What a stupid place to put a shelter.

It was almost 4 miles to the Road where I wanted to hitch to the store grab a few bits then hitch to the cafe for breakfast. The trail drops down onto the busy road, but I need to be on the other side.
I take my life into.my hands and make it across the sun seems even hotter here may e it’s the black tarmac.
I am lucky and soon I am standing outside the 5 and dime store . But it’s not open yet but it won’t be long .soon the staff began to shell out all the displays .ice boxes etc.
My watch pings 8 but I wait a few more minutes before entering. I hrB a basket and quickly tick things off my list as I drop them in. Phew all done. I buy a soda to drink while I hitch but as I cross the road to go back a car imeaditly stops.

“Are you hiking the trail.”
Yes, sir I am .
“Are you going the whole way ?”
Yes, sir I am !

On the Way back ,he then drops me at the cafe. There are several packs ready outside. I drop. my pack then quickly go through my shopping discarding the outers. Before going  inside
To my amazement Bumblebee and Papa Smurf are here.

Bumble bee moves over to make room for me.
Omg I say I thought you would be miles away. In fact, she stayed at the hostel a little way into town. We catch up gossip as I wait for my breakfast to arrive.
Bacon eggs fried potatoes and pancakes with coffee and orange juice. It looks amazing as the plate is put before me , it soon disappears into my tummy  and several coffees later I am  full.

I pay and leave, as a steady stream of other hikers arrive. Once outside I rearrange my new food into my pack and then I am ready.

We l walk up the road together Papa Smurf, Bumblebee and me. It a .4-mile road walk back to the trail. Once again, we must cross over.  Once across we  enter  Caledonian park . a very large campsite. The trail winds its way around the park before deciding to climb again.
It  was  now 10 am and it was hot, the trail was steep, and the first part exposed to  Sun and I began to melt

Papa Smurf bounded up like a goat . I puffed and panted like always. I let Bumblebee pass  then tried to follow. As we climbed numerous day walkers appeared going in the opposite direction. Up and up we climbed. I  thought that it would be easier on fresh legs. ha ha

At last the trail levelled out or rather the Incline was less steep allowing me to put in some spurts of speed. I soon arrived at  the next shelter and wow what a great shelter.
It had a swing. potted plants. games and was spotlessly clean. and had quirky decorations.
There were several hikers here.
one said to us .”only 400 feet to go, see you at the top.”

I groaned and walked on imeaditly it became steep , I zoned out and attacked it , keeping my head down, not daring to look up.
As I climbed the trail had logs cut into it, to stop flooding, which were sometimes too high to step over due to erosion.
At last the trail levelled out and I began to pull away from Bumble bee. I was cruising down the trail. Now and then there would  exit out into the sun  where a gas pipe was laid or the monster power lines crossed before diving back into the forest. But once out in the open the sun hit you like a furnace . Omg I would mutter and speed up to get back into the shade.
Then the shade would vanish completely, and I was walking between the blueberry bushes which will soon have fruit on

Then I saw him ……… Another Big bear

I stopped ,he looked at me I looked at him. I was a bit close, so I began to back up down the trail. I then began to video him . But then he charged. I retreated a bit further. Then I banged my poles together and then he retreated.
I was later to find out that tis was called a bluff charge  , but it was still pretty scary

I then  heard a “Caw Caw” behind me .
I turned and saw Bumble bee.
“BEAR!!! “I said
I bashed my poles again and the bear backed up then crossed the trail into the forest.

I waited a few minutes before continuing ,bashing my poles and saying. BEAR. please don’t eat us.
Once past I had. huge grin on my face and Bumble bee was very happy too.
We carried on together until we came across several  hikers sat around a stream.

There was Papa Smurf, Reggie Rocket, Juke box and ?

There’s trail. Magic. I grabbed a bottle of water and a cookie . There was no bin, so I stuffed the trash into my pack.  I ate a few snacks while I filtered more water then it was back to the trail

There were a few small climbs, but the trail was good. But HOT. I pushed on  my watch, counting down the hours.
I then came to the next shelter and the same guys were there taking lunch, so I joined them.

I dropped my pack then took off my shoes and socks then lay with my feet in the air as my feet ached. I put it down to the trail surface being so HOT.
After 15 minutes I  went to get water. I soaked my feet for a few minutes  which  felt so good. I then ate a few snacks
This was a lovely shelter, but I needed to hike on  as it was 7 more miles to the next shelter.

Yes, that will do me for today.
I set off down the trail still melting from this intense heat. I could see Bumblebee in the distance so began to chase her down. I crossed over a road then back into the forest just around one corner sat Blaze and Bumble bee.

What up I asked ?

HALFWAY !!!!!! Snail

on the ground in stones was I deed the halfway point. I took some photos wow halfway whoop.
I pushed on another smile on my face another bear and halfway this is a great day.
I spent the afternoon with Bumble bee, and we walked on chatting  until  finally the shelter came into view.

I walked through and grabbed a tent pad and quickly put up my tent. Then I got water, before  washing my socks and shirt.
I cooked tea whilst chatting to other hikers. We chatted about our  day, the bear and other nonsense
I was just packing up when the invisible man appeared. We chatted for a while trying to find out where others are on the trail then I headed back to my tent and. bed

Start 1080.8
Finish 1099.08
Miles. 19

 

Day 82

I set my alarm even earlier . but snoozed it when it went off.
Reluctantly I pulled the stopper from my mattress and herd the air escape. I then visited the loo.
One back I pulled the pegs and began to pack up .I retrieved my food bag and put on water as I finished packing. I quickly drank my tea then walked to the trail it was 6am.
I set off trying to may be catch my friend Bumble bee. but then thought she would possibly be up early.
I decided that I was right to stop last night as there wasn’t anywhere else after the first hour pinged by. Then the trail began to defend and its tough hard rock. You had to climb over most of it . and omg it just sapped my strength.
It was going to be a hot day so .I wanted to put on the miles early. but this rock made my progress so slow.
Eventually it stopped, and a nice path appeared I pushed on and soon came to the state park . it was a huge picnic area and great they had dustbin . so, I dumped my trash. I old guy came and asked if I needed help and proceeded to tell me all about the town called Waynesboro ( a different one) and I should go and resupply. and they had an all you can eat Chinese Buffet. Thanks, I said but I was looking at. different town. Do then he tell me all about Gettysburg. and that I should visit there.
I thanked him. And went and got water.

I was just sorting out my pack when a bunch of girls walked by and one was Sunshine who I hadn’t seen in a long while. We had a hug and our photos taken
She had been out with her girlfriends and was now getting back on trail
But would hike with her mates for about a mile. Then they took off I was still sorting my stuff but then took. Off after them.
I caught then all crowding around a stone pillar which was the Maryland/ Pennsylvania Border whoop whoop so more photos .

I pushed on and then met another of the big black snakes. I walked around him. And pushed on it was getting hotter and hotter.
Then sunshine appeared we walked for a while and chatted but she’s tall (Long legs) and so I had to. Let her go as her pace was killing me. But I may catch her at the last shelter unless she goes on .
I was making good progress  and it was soon 11 am
I will stop at the next shelter for lunch. I said to myself
When I got near, I filled up my water
It was so hot I was beginning to melt.

I filtered 2liters into my bladder then ate my lunch. I took a  30-minute break before  setting off again
I walked through a  lovely park before I  began to climb and climb and climb and it was oh so steep and hot bloody hot.

I began to struggle hitting that invisible brick wall.
Several  hikers  sped past me giving me words of encouragement
But I had no oomph. I dragged myself up for several hours before deciding that I needed another break.
Come on Snail I said to myself  willing me myself on, but I was done.
I sat on a large rock and took off my shoes and socks. I ate  a few snacks then set my timer for  20 minutes and lay back on the rock.

Once my time was up, I hit the trail again more refreshed and finally finished the climb. I shadowed Reggy Rocket for a while before she took a break .
I pushed on crossing road after road and then more climbs . A lot of the trail was open and exposed so  I was cooking.
I was drinking so much that my bladder was soon empty.Fuck …
That’s no good so decided to stop again . I found another rock to sit on
Yes, I was indeed out of water well almost. I adjusted my bladder in my pack. I had about 1/2 pint left
The next shelter was not far away  but the water was  .5 behind.
That’s not good so  I may as well stay here .
I was just packing up when Misty (optimist) came by, he too was out of water
The Shelter was off trail by .25 of a mile which is pants .but I needed water and typically, the trail to the  shelter was very steep.
When I arrived Misty’s, pack was lying in the shelter. I dropped mine grabbed my bladder a cup and my big bottle and set off to get water. 5 away . which is far, but the water was good. As I was coming back up, I met what I thought was another hiker coming down I tried to tell him about the water.
“I know came the reply!!!
Once back at the shelter I began to cook. Misty was finishing off then hiking out, but I was staying. Then the other hiker reappeared, and I noticed his badges. He was a ridge Runner.(Someone who is employed by the AT to. Look after the shelters and offer guidance to other hikers) and so that’s why he knew about the water

I cooked dinner and chatted to him as  other hikers came and went
The Dad and daughter turned up. Then Flex who I hadn’t seen in a while.
Finally, I took my pack and set up my tent. I left the fly half off as it’s been so hot. Hope it doesn’t rain .

Start 10460.8
Finish 1080.8
Miles 20

Day 75 Heading to Beard Den Hostel Mile 1004

The alarm went off at 5.30 I snoozed it. when it went off again, I let down my mat . Got up and went outside for a pee then let down my food bag. then began to remove my fly .

I put on my stove, as the water heated, I rolled up.my bag and pad. then stripped down . I eat breakfast drained my tea then I was ready.

I hoisted up.my pack and I was on the trail by 6.30.
The trail was even worse with this rain .I was sloshing through liquid mud and did for most of the morning .
This stuff really sapped my energy and it was a nice change when I entered the national park and was walking through some nice meadows., but it wasn’t long until the mud returned . It was like walking through tar , it was bloody hell., but I was still  making good time .

I eventually arrived at the start of the roller coaster. The  first climb was not too steep , but the humidity was a nightmare , and I was quickly soaked with sweat  that caused my hit belt to rub .making my waist sore
After my second  climb I decided to have an early lunch. At 11.30 I found a nice rock and relaxed for 40 mins , before returning  back to the climb. I headed up  which was shortly followed by a down    eventually   emerging  onto the road. Fantastic  there was trail magic
I had a cup of  juice and then was given a glass of wine and a banana. I sat chatting for  to my fellow hiker trash , for far too long.

Eventually I returned to the trail and my climbing  and continued  up, but it wasn’t long before ii began descending. As I began the next climb the thunder returned and loud . almost deafening. As I reached the summit  the thunder grew   louder and seemed much closer.
The rain now returned I lowered my head  and  pushed on.
I had four miles to go but I was tiring. and my pace became a plod.
The weather cant seem to make up its mind  as the  sun  now reappeared and  it soon became  hot , that was just perfect  for the  next climb, and it was steep.
I  then came to a  1000-mile marker whoop whoop.

Passing this large marker spurred me  on , until I came to another steep climb . The sun was  glaring down on my  , I was still melting, and this climb seemed endless. I pushed on and up and  kept climbing.
At last I was at the top and went in search of the hostel.
I walked in found a bunk then grabbed a shower OMG it was so good .
At last I could check in. The price was  $30  which included a soda. Pizza, ice cream and laundry. bargain .
I grabbed a pizza and put it in the oven. once cooked it was swiftly eaten . followed by a tub of ice cream and washed down with several lemonades
This was followed by several movies before  my bunk called

start 987
Finish 1004
Miles 17

Day 70 Leaving skyland resort

Day 72

I woke up early as my alarm was telling me to get up, so I quickly switched it off.
I eventually woke at 8 am got up put on the coffee and stepped into the shower .
After stepping out I watched garbage on the tv and then decided to write some postcards.
Eventually I managed to pack up and leave. I walked back to reception and checked out They also took my postcards so that was a result .
I was just about to hike out when
“Hey snail have you had the breakfast?
So about turn and  I headed to the restaurant .I dropped my pack and then I was shown to  a table.
What would you like to drink sir asked the server
Orange Juice and Coffee please  I replied .
I then made my way to the hot  counter and loaded my plate  before returning to my table.
I drained my  Coffee and juice before ordering more .
Time for seconds  so I headed back to the counter .Okay one more juice then I must go as it was  already 10am.
Omg it’s late and I want to visit the next town and post my tourist stuff to my friend in Texas.
At last I was leaving the Compound , I pushed on it was  7 miles to the road and then I need to hitch.
The morning seemed to whizz by,  maybe it was a good night’s sleep in a real bed .
Ping went my phone. cool I am  doing well, and the  miles were falling. occasionally I stopped to get a view of the countryside
Eventually I reached the road or rather the main entrance to the park. I walked out and to the Ranger booth to ask which way I needed to head.

I walked to the road and held out my thumb. Soon I was heading into Luray.
The couple dropped me at the post office. I thanked them as they drove off.

Once inside the post office I had to almost dismantle my pack as the stuff that I wanted to post was typically at the bottom. I choose a box then put all my excess gear into it and posted it up the trail.
Once done I really needed a pee so visited the  train museum as it was the nearest. It  was really interesting .
I asked if they had a AT  stamp but sadly not
Okay chores  done; I need to get back to the trail . As I  walked back to the. freeway  the rain returned   Bloody  great.
I walked to the on ramp and held out my thumb.
I was lucky as I was picked up by a Ridge runner and so I learnt a great deal on the journey back.

She was off to the first shelter to do some maintenance and had her saw and secateurs.
we walked together for a while, but  I was faster and  so said my goodbyes  and took off.
I was heading for  Elkwallow wayside . I was Hoping to get there by 4.Have supper and hike on .  As I pushed,  I began to hear the distant  rumbling of thunder occasionally I got a light sprinkle of rain even though the sun was shining with all its might.

I began to hear voices, but I couldn’t make out what direction they were coming from .Then two hikers appeared from  behind me . One was Bob Narley, but I  hadn’t seen  the other before
Hey man how are you doing .
See you at the wayside.
It was about an hour later that I arrived at Elkwallow wayside.
I dropped my pack and went inside . I ordered the chicken strips with fries, a lemon soda, milk shake and 2 beers .
I went outside to eat my dinner, I had just sat down when the sky turned black .I quickly devoured my  food  and just as I had finished  the heavens opened  and it threw it down.
I sheltered under the veranda., hoping it would soon stop .
It rained and it rained . and it just kept on raining

FUCK FUCK I can’t put my tent up.in this.
I sat in despair staring at the rain  Bob and his companion appeared
“This is not good Snail”
I totally agree, I wanted a few more miles I replied
They had planned on hiking to the  next shelter at least another 6 miles away. They are fast but it now so dark .
We watched as they shut up the shop and locked everything up .including the rest rooms (toilets)
So we cant stay in the loos  then, we all laughed .
I really wanted to camp right here but it’s prohibited (Naughty lol.)

The rain eased a little, so I left my pack with my fellow hikers  and went for a recce.
Just to the right was a picnic area  that’s perfect  for me .
I went back and retrieved my pack,
I’m going to crash just up there” I said ,
I then said my  good byes  and headed back to  my campsite

I found a good spot and managed to put up my tent quickly without everything getting too wet.
I hung my food bag, as I had eaten loads, there was no need to cook so straight to bed .

Mileage 17 miles .