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 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 42 Lost Mountain Shelter to wise Shelter Mile 504

Tues 22nd May

I woke around 5.30 and dozed until  6am, before getting up ,I let down my mat  before wandring off to the loo. on my way back I collected my food bag, then  I grabbed my pack and took it outside the shelter so as not to wake people . I  went back and grabbed  my mat and sleeping bag. once outside I stuffed my bag into its stuff sack then rolled up my mat.once done assembled my stove and put on a brew  before making breakfast.
I continued to pack as I sipped my tea. when I  was ready I slung my pack onto my back and headed out  it was 7. 30.
I knew it was going to be a day of climbing so  wanted to  have an early start .The trail started off nice ,  a lovely tread just how I like it but it wasnt long until  it  quickly began to climb  snd  become  knarly and rocky. My poorly foot didn’t like this as every knock sent painwaves up my leg with the odd swear word, but I continued on. later i came to a field of cows I was busy trying to photograph one that I did not hear the hiker approaching me and almost jumped out of my skin.
Sorry Snail didn’t mean to scare you!!
I left the cows and continued climbing, after about an hour I was  at the top with amazing views .
This is why we climb mountains.!!
I continued climbing until I met all the girls who were at the previous shelter. They had  camped on top of the mountain.
We’re you not cold I asked?
Bloody freezing came the reply.
I laughed and carried on
The trail snaked down then around  the mountain before climbing once more
As I walked I noticed a sign for water, so stopped and  filled up it looked and tasted good that i didnt bother to filter.

As i crossed over the road there were some bags of crisps and home made cakes (Trail magic) I grabbed a muffin and bag of crisps. thanks you x.
The trail today was horrid or rather horrid for me it was rocks and  roots or sludgy water. When it’s raining I would normally plough straight throughthis stuff.
Today seemed just hard work and my foot being fragile and tender was not helping.
The hours ticked by, I should be at the shelter by now ?
At last the trail  began to decend  and soon i entered  a  car park, with  toilets. Such a treat when your hiking  lol.
I decided to have a break and take lunch. I had almost finished when it began to rain.
I quickly put my food away , put on my pack cover before  visited the loo. INside the loo was a trash can ,so I quickly returned with my trash.
I pushed on , my  next climb was mount Robert’s,  which was  the mountain that i  thought that i had climbed earlier.! Once again it was more rock and slushy mud , I think I crossed about 50 streams,There was so much  water , water every where and I was still climbing.
I stopped an checked my map, the shelter was  still miles away . I must admit to becoming a bit angry with myself , my foot and the terrain as I had left early and still has miles to go.
Then I noticed horses, these are wild in Virginia. then a deer bounced out in front of me scarring me to death a d I sloped and fell into the boggy stream . dazed a d sho ked I picked myself up .luckily now damage. and walked o . sat on a rock I. fro t as toast surrounded by ponies and several very young foals. it waz lovey to see.

I moved on and eventually arrived at the shelter. it was o lyvwhen k began to look at my maps that i realized that this shelter was much further away than normal. in fact this one was almost twice the distance away .so that’s why I hadn’t reached it by 11.30 Doh Stupid Snail. I took off my shoes and had a proper break . ate some more snacks .

This was the shelter with the Bear issue. a bear had before rather clever and was managing to steal peoples food bags . he had broken off 8″ tree limbs yo steal the food and so the rangers had, had to install bear boxes (Big tool chests) for people to put their food into.

I studied my maps the next shelter was 6 more miles away ….. Yes I can do that so set off. passing several of the new bear boxes.

As I dropped down into the next meadow I could see more horses and longhorn cows

As I walked through the gate I noticed a very new foal lying in the grass oh bless.

But I needed to push on . again out of the meadow and back to rock and some crazy climbing unroll I came to

500 miles whoop whoop just under 1/4 walked I felt so good and began to.push on with a great smile on my face

I I dropped down I came to a stretch of tea that the trail guys have been working on Thank You so much . rocks had been flattened . steps installed the trail bed graded and filled with varying sizes of stone it was amazing and no easy feat.

So thank you so so every much as it was s joy to walk down . Toast had once again caught me up . well she’s younger and fitter. we chatted as we counted fown the miles to the next shelter. she asked me question on the PCT. the shelters the water a d I gladly answered. we were chatting so much the miles flew and soon we had arrived. it was all very near and tidy 2 privys but there was only room for one and no camping aroundcthe shelter….. Weird. I let toast have my spot and I decided to hike on . I had just left when booom went the thunder. oh dear I thought need to find somewhere quick.

I stopped by river and filled up my bottles. then headed out I ended up alking for about  2 miles before spotting a place.
I dropped my pack and my tent was soon up and tea was on

7pm and my day is done.

mile 504.5. miles hiked 18.5

Start 486
Finish 504.5
mileage 18.5 miles
Remaining 1686 Miles

Day 38 Zero in Damascus

friday 18th May

I slept so well on the sofa waking at 8.30 and dozing. Tank was in the armchair and whitey was on the other sofa. Beth was making coffee so I grabbed a cup.
Dan began to make breakfast, scrambled egg, hash and bacon  we  all dug  in  and  wow  so  tasty.
Once I had eaten I wandered down to the post office.
Sadly no sign of my bounce box , but new shoes whoop and another box which I then bounced to my friend in Texas.
I walked back to the house and tried to find the post office number. Beth lent me her phone to try and contact them .but after being on hold for ages I gave up I will retry tomorrow.
Every one else had walked down to the festival but as it was nice i quite  I began to edit some video  and  then uploaded,once  down i too headed off to  the festival.

I walked  through   mingling  with  the hundreds  of  other hikers . I  entered several competitions, looked at the kit, tents, hammocks. Osprey  the pack manufactures  should be  here but I couldn’t see them  as i wanted some  help  and  advice on my  pack  or  if  i could swap it out .
I kept meeting my hiker family which was great but now I was hungry so went and grabbed lunch and a soft drink as an Alcohol is banned from the town!!
Hundreds of  hikers and No beer     Great  idea

Whilst I ate lunch I listened to several bands that were playing.. As I sat there a hiker I met several days ago joined me and then so did Dan.
The other hiker was saying that Osprey and Big Agnes and several other venders were set up by the campsite.
I made my way back to the house , found my pack and began to empty every thing out.
I was going to walk to tent city when Beth offered to drive me.
Beth  drove  me  up to tent city    it was awash  with  hikers and  the smell of  food, Again there several competitions going  on and  there were  hordes of  hikers  surrounding  them.
I wandered through the vender part and found Osprey. I haggled on a pack for a while and got a 20% discount on a pack but I had to buy it  from town. But whilst  here I managed to get  my Hip belt replaced .
I wandered around looking at the other stalls  before getting a ride back to town. I found the outfitter , but unfortunately the store didn’t have either of the bags that I wanted . Oh well at least I  have a new hip belt.

I wandered back to the house and was pleased to see big Red had arrived. I gave him big hug then put my now dry tent away before joining the guys on the porch for a beer I am just about to sit  when Magic and Tentless arrive and it’s like a party .
We spent the whole evening sat  on the porch chatting and drinking beer untill the Pizza that we ordered earlier arrives . Its bloody  good pizza and we are soon all stuffed  but  can still manage more beer

But Omg it’s midnight

Start 469
Finish 469
mileage  ZERO
Remaining 1723 Miles

Day 37 Heading to Damascus and Trail days 2018

Thursday 17th May

The shelter was awake early , 3 socks and another hiker were almost packed.
I released the air out of my mat and climbed out of bed, put on my shoes and went to the loo.
Once back I quickly packed up then made tea .
Okay I was ready. I hoisted my pack and set off Damascus here I come.
As I left I passed a camp of university students morning guys i  said  as i  walked
The trail was similar to yesterday, a  few big climbs at first then a roller-costa trail
As  I pushed on my right toe began to  hurt, I blocked it out and pushed on . I was in no hurry as I did the miles yesterday so it should be an easy day. Ping went my watch informing me an hour had passed.  It was a glorious day and  warm all ready, i would  love a breeze please .
I pushed on for another 2 hours the pain in my foot not relenting, and  so when I came to an old disused shelter I decided to stop to do foot maintenance.

I taped the  toes on my left foot, my right foot was swollen,not a lot  I can do about that.
I ate some snacks before  putting  my socks and shoes back on and set off my shoes are now beginning to fail but hopefully there are new ones waiting for me in Damascus !!
I pushed on passing water, Should i stop  i said  to myself  but still pushed on . After an hour I checked my map., bugger the water at the shelter is far away oh well.
At last I arrived at the shelter, there was another hiker already here.
Where is the water I asked, and is it far ?
Yes it is he replied
I dropped my pack and headed down the  path .Water was .2 of a mile and  down a steep decent.
But the water was good. I filtered a litre and promptly guzzled it. I then grabbed another 2 litres and began the climb back.
I had just arrived back at the shelter when 3 socks turned up.
Yes it’s far and steep I said .
I ate more snacks and then made tea.
I was just beginning to pack up when Beth and Dan arrived  shortly  followed by captain Bob.
I stayed for a while then set off although it want long until Beth caught me.
I shadowed her for a while as we chatted but Beth’s too fast for me so let her go.
Dan was next to catch   me. and again, I shadowed him for a while as I was staying with them in Damascus.
We shortly caught up with Beth who was resting and waiting.
As Dan & Beth live here they were familiar with this part of the trail as they often run it together.
We are almost their snail trainer , Beth said.   and sure enough we were soon dropping down towards the town .
As we  got nearer    there  were  little pockets  of  tents  where hikers had  claimed their  spot .
The  trail actually  goes  through   the town  and  so we  were  soon in daylight and  could  see  the    Festival  in front  of  us.
Dan & Beth stopped by   a  house  which  belonged to friends to  pick up their keys .
Then  we  headed towards  trail days , Passing  through  the  arch, we posed  for  photos   then wandered  through  the  festival  pausing to look at  the  stalls and to see if there were any bargains  to get .
WE walked through and out the other side. At this end was a calaboose and a small train. WE turned right and headed up the main street that was packed with hikers and signs promoting free food hot showers. Beth & Dan lived at the far end of town, as we approached we noticed two figures sat in the doorstep one was whitely and the other tank.
Dan was a little miffed that  they were  there, as he  had only invite   close mates  to  his  house
Their house was really  lovely , I dropped my pack outside as BETH & Dan introduced me to their lodger a young girl who was    into canoeing .
Then beer  was opened , Later Big Red and  Magic arrived, I  had  bagged  the right  sofa  and  so  they had  the chair  and  other couch.
Once we were settled  we  retreated top  the porch to chill and  drink  more  beer , As  the afternoon wore  on a familiar stream  of familiar  faces  arrived  , turning into a great  party atmosphere

Start 451
Finish 469
mileage 16 miles
Remaining 1723 Miles