Monday, August 09, 2010

Day 21: Eckville Shelter

Had our first bear siting today up at the pinnacles overlook. A medium-sized bear that ambled around then turned and walked away. It didn't get too close which was good. Out at the overlook we saw a snake skin and enjoyed the views.

The rocks have definitely been picking up. The rocky sections are longer and getting pretty rough. The sandals are more comfortable to wear but they are old and are not sticking to the rocks so I am sliding around a bit. I am still waiting for that one last blister to heal up between my toes.

We have been sharing our last three campsites with a boy scout troop. They have been rather nice considering. This is the last night we will see them as we will be pressing on further then they will. We should be able to make our next town in two days.

We are a pretty full house here tonight. All the bunks are full plus there are a few camping out as well as all the boy scouts. The caretaker here is quite an ornery character. He sounded off about the boy scouts (their group size was apparently too big), and he didn't like anyone who was at the shelter. We pretty much thought that he had been a caretaker for too long. We did run into someone we thought was behind us but who jumped ahead. He was having a hard time on the rocks and was jumping ahead to avoid them. I didn't like him the first time I met him and still don't like him. Apparently he got into a fight with someone earlier about his "yellow blazing" ahead. He jumped ahead then wasn't sure he had made the right decision. Well it is a bit late for that. Everyone else was quite nice that night.

I remember stopping here back in '05 and the shelter is still using the same register. It was pretty cool to see my entry plus entries from other people who hiked in after me. Not much left in the register though.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Day 20: Pocahontas Spring

White a bit rocky and with a very steep downhill section, the trip to Port Clinton was somewhat uneventful. We did see our first rattle snake sitting in the middle of the trail. We sat for a while at one of the park picnic tables relaxing before getting teh maildrop. I was also waiting for a section hiker to arrive who had offered us a lift into town. We forgot to add TP to the maildrop. I did end up getting a lift from a trail angel (Rita from Reading) so we were food to go (literally and figuratively). We stopped in to see the pavilion and tape up my latest blister.

Heading down the trail, we ran into some trail magic in the form of 'Green Dog's' mom who was handing out cold coke's to passing thru's.

Our maildrop was for four days so we will be in good shape to get to our next resupply town of Palmerton. We are about 7 days from DWG and then we are on to NJ. It will be nice to move on and progress will feel like it is occurring. We are almost at 200 mi of trail under our feet.

Some boy scouts who were tenting at the shelter last night are here again tenting near the spring. Luckily the sites are far enough apart that they are not disturbing us.

Tomorrow we get a shower, yay!


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Day 19: Eagle's Nest Shelter

9.5 mi

Today was very hot and humid but at least the rocks were gentle on us. I did acquire a new blister between my toes. Not sure how I am getting them there but I am really looking forward to getting my sandals tomorrow.

Since we knew (from past experience and another thru-hiker) that the water here is almost non-existent, we stopped at the last spring 1 mile back to tank up. We also enjoyed some nice trail magic, sodas chilling in the spring. The spring water wasn't great but it was better than what we would have gotten at the shelter. Turns out that the water isn't the only think wrong here. For some reason the club maintaining this section is unable to get wood bark for the privy so they locked it. Several people have commented on it in the log. It it pretty ridiculous given that a handful of leaves or forest duff would do the same thing.

Still not impressed with boy scouts. The small group from last night denuded the area of wood for a big fire then they tossed a banana peel in the fire pit this morning intending on leaving it for the next person to burn in their fire. The boy scouts need to work on their social image and what they are teaching young people.


Friday, August 06, 2010

Day 18: Hertlein Campsite

9.7 mi

The trail is definitely taking a turn for the rocky. I feel like I spent part of the hike up on rocks rather than on any form of trail.

We stopped at 501 Shelter for a long break making good use of the solar shower. In spite of how cold the water was, we both managed to get in a shower. We were clean even if our clothes were not. We got lucky in that 'Labrat' was also at the shelter. So we got to order pizza for lunch and a couple of subs to take on the trail for supper. This is helping extend our food the one day we needed to make it to our resupply/maildrop in Port Clinton. I think we are both looking forward to the mail drop, both for the food and the replacement or forgotten gear. I'm looking forward to my sandals and the hope that they will help stop the blisters from forming any further. I finally managed to pop the one under the callus on my left foot. It was the last one that still had juice in it and while all the others no longer hurt, it still hurts. I hope popping it helps heal it up and stops the pain.


Thursday, August 05, 2010

Day 17: William Penn Shelter

13.4 mi

Today was a long day. The body is definitely aching in the feet and legs. The last few miles were a major push. We are getting in shape but we can't push too many miles yet without feeling the effects the next day. It took us the same amount of time to do 13.4 mi today as it did to do 18 mi yesterday. Tomorrow we have a lighter day planned.

Our first ~4 mi of the day went pretty well but it was hot and quite humid. Just as I was ready for a break, we rounded the bend to some trail magic. It was still cold, in fact some things were still frozen. It was well maintained, stocked and well placed.

We passed through an old village site and passed a cemetery. Later we crossed over Swatara Gap/s canal and a nice old canal bridge. The climb back up to the ridge was quite long and a bit steep. While the trails have been nicely maintained so far, the section (even though it was just trimmed) was overgrown on the sides by brambles and grassy patches hid rocks and snakes. I scared a black snake about as badly as I scared myself. Good thing it wasn't a rattler.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Day 16: Rausch Gap Shelter

18 mi

A long day mileage-wise and we got off to an early start. The first 10 mi were okay but they slowly became harder the longer we hiked. My blisters were slowly getting better so I hope we didn't push too hard too soon. The hard part is that the gaps between shelters are long and the water sources are infrequent or in places where it is hard to camp. We didn't hit too many rocky sections today which we were both thankful.

An odd sight on the trail today was a group of horsemen. The AT is for foot travel only and these guys somehow managed to take a very wrong turn. I'm not sure how they got their horses past some of those rocky sections but they did. We spent part of our time avoiding hose dung. Found out that a horse trail ends at the AT so they really have no choice but to travel down the AT or backtrack. They should have stopped at the road though rather than continue.

We passed some trail magic today, too bad it was empty. Always sad to pass an empty cooler. Although we had a long day, at least there was a cool breeze. We are expecting cool temperatures tonight.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Day 15: Peter's Mountain Shelter

6.7 mi

A somewhat longer day as we move onto the next shelter. This shelter, while very nice, it is a bear to get to the water which is down about 300 stone stairs (or so it feels). The shelter is also affectionately known as the Harrisburg Hilton due to its size and how nice it is. The terrain to get here wasn't too bad but my feet were still aching after a few miles. We have a long day tomorrow to get just to the next shelter. I hope my feet are well enough.

I nearly knocked myself out today walking into a fallen tree across the trail. The tree was just high enough that I didn't see it with my hat on. There I was walking along, the next thing I knew I was on the ground and my head hurt. Hope I don't do that again or I'll have a new trail name. I ended up laughing about it later but at the time, it really hurt. Brought a tear to my eyes.

We are a somewhat full house tonight. The shelter is plenty bug enough for all. We stopped pretty early and have been resting and trying to air out my feet. We are pretty much racing to Port Clinton. Me for my Keen's, and my husband for different clothes. Just a few more days.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Day 14: Clark's Ferry Shelter

4.5 mi

Still waylaid by blisters, we did a low mile day to at least keep moving and to avoid spending any more time in town. The road walk out sucked but the rocky trail hurt more. My little toes are quite sensitive and stepping on rocks with just the side of my foot hurts. The heels are also pretty sensitive. Walking downhill causes toe-jam too. We are trying to bide out time until Port Clinton where I will receive my Keen's which will hopefully help my feet. My husband is changing out a couple of things to hopefully help with his chaffing. Tomorrow will be another low mile day but I hope we are feeling and doing better than today. We will need to do about 18 mi the next day as the shelters are far apart.

We are no longer in the section with the nice shelters. The shelters are definitely older and not as well maintained. If it wasn't for the no tenting we would probably be tenting. If we manage to avoid rain, we will likely be tenting a little more often.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Day 13: The Doyle - Duncannon, PA

Zero day!

Spent most of the day resting and relaxing so we would be ready to move on tomorrow. It is funny how my knees and back were a problem on my first AT attempt, but this time it is blisters and footwear issues. Other then resting, we also took the free shuttle to the market and did a resupply. I managed to get some items out of the hiker box which cut down on the amount of stuff we had to buy. While the food at the Doyle was great (in contrast to the rooms), we opted to enjoy pizza at the pizza place up the road. They make a great Hawaiian style but the large was just a little too big for us. We couldn't eat the last two slices so we took them back with us. I suspect that the pizza didn't agree with me.

I was talking with one of the owners and she ended up looking me up in their year book/hiker book. It was pretty cool to see myself plus some of the others I had been hiking with off and on.