6/1 Bryant Ridge Shelter, 3:15PM
13.3 miles so far today. I made my dinner here early because we've been getting thundershowers. It was hot and sticky last night and this morning it's raining right now but still warm. If it stops before 5PM I will head up to the next shelter 2,200 foot climb in 5 miles. This is a very nice shelter, large and quite new, but the roof leaks in places. The sun is trying to shine through now.
7:30PM. Cornelius Creek Shelter.
In for the night, with Tuck, Biff and Weeper. Also about 20 high school kids from NJ camped behind the shelter. Saturday night. Wonder how much sleep we'll get? It looks like the rain has blown through for now.
6/2 Matt's Creek Shelter, 7:30PM
Looks like it will be just Biphph, Weeper and myself here tonight unless someone rolls in late. There's a pretty nice creek here, so I washed off a layer of dirt and did some laundry. I was off base with my preconceived notion about the high school kids last night. They were polite, well behaved, and quieted down at about 9PM. It was an interesting day weatherwise. Awoke at 5:30AM to the sound of thunder. The morning was very windy but it never quite rained. By noon it turned very hot and humid, and it's still warm this evening.
A bit after noon I met a couple at a road crossing. John "The Mechanical Man" was just starting to hike a trail section his wife Linda "Crayon Lady" was dropping him off at the trailhead. We got to talking. They live in PA near the trail and invite hikers to their home regularly. I have an invitation for dinner when I get up there. They also had an extra chef's salad and a cold Pepsi that they offered me for lunch! It was a lot tastier than the cheese and crackers I had planned. The trail crosses the James River tomorrow morning. It looks big from up on the ridgeline but there's a footbridge.
6/3 Brown Mountain Creek Shelter, 9PM
Just a short note now because it's getting dark. Did 21.4 miles today. That will shorten the hike tomorrow a bit. Hard climb in the morning. I want to get into Montebello early the next day, so it was worth putting out the extra effort today.
6/4 Seeley-Woodworth Shelter, 7:30PM
Hot day today, but I got an early start up that long hill, a 2,700-foot climb up Bald Knob and Cold Mountain. The bugs have made their appearance with the hot days. It's too hot to get inside the sleeping bag and the noseeums take advantage. Fortunately they go away after dark. Mosquitoes haven't been bad so far.
Biphph and Weeper, with whom I've been camping the past few days, will be leaving the trail tomorrow to attend a friend's wedding. They'll return in a week. Tonight we are sharing the campsite with 11 Sierra Club hikers on a Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure hike. They're out for a week and seem to be a good group. They carry a lot of equipment. I helped one fellow treat a bad heel blister.
This shelter is 801 miles from Springer Mountain, GA. It also has one of the best springs on the AT, a nice flow right out of the hillside. So, a nice place to spend the night. We're starting to hear some thunder. May be a good night to be in the shelter.
6/5 Camped along the Tye River, 9:15PM
Samaritan is camped here with me, and Rider, Hollywood & Dharma Bum are in another site nearby. It's hot and buggy, but I'm set up inside my bug cage. It's a complete success! I've even got my light on in here and the bugs can't get in. Only hiked 11.7 miles today but that included a stop in Montebello to pick up my box (a 3.8 mile road hike round trip) and a climb over Priest Mountain. Biphph and Weeper left the trail for a week at Montebello to attend a wedding. I probably won't see them again unless they catch up when I take some time off at Harper's Ferry.
I can see up the hill toward the trail. Earlier I saw lights from people's lamps. They were gathering firewood. There are still lights flashing up there from time to time and I just realized they are fireflies or lightning bugs, or whatever they're called here.
6/6 Maupin Field Shelter, 3PM.
Got in here as the skies darkened, so I cooked some soup and am waiting to see if this little storm blows through. If it does, I'll hike on. With another 10 miles or so I could get in to Waynesboro tomorrow and make up a day on the schedule. If I stay here, I won't get into Waynesboro 'till Saturday.
Camped near Laurel Spring. Near as I can tell, I'm about 12 miles from Rockfish Gap, from where I can hitch into Waynesboro tomorrow. Obviously I decided to go on, knowing I couldn't reach the next shelter tonight, in marginal weather. Sure enough, it started blowing and raining about the time I came to a 5-mile stretch of side-hill, rocky trail with absolutely no flat spots to camp This is the first reasonably flat area I came to. Things are pretty damp but at least the rain let up long enough for me to get set up under the tarp. Rather than fire up the stove, I had a supper of cheese and rye-crisp crackers and a granola bar. I did have a hot lunch, and would rather not cook in the dark. Saw two white-tailed deer this morning while climbing out of the Tye River valley. Some very nice views of the valleys from time to time. This Blue Ridge area is very pretty, and tomorrow we enter Shenandoah National Park.
6/7 Weasie's Kitchen, Waynesboro, 6PM
I hitched in about 3:30PM and am staying at the Comfort Inn. First, a long shower, then make my grocery list. Take everything I don't have on to the laundromat, then come over here to Weasie's for dinner while the clothes are washing. After I get the washing done, I'll shop for food for the next 5 days.
It rained most of the night last night but I was warm and cozy. In fact, I slept in until 7AM, and then had breakfast in bed before packing up. Then found out the 12-mile day was more like 14-15 miles because of a trail reroute that wasn't on my 1996 map.
Waynesboro seems like a nice town large enough so you can find everything you need, small enough so people are friendly Tomorrow morning I will visit the post office and probably Weasie's again for a power breakfast before heading back to the trail. If I had longer, I would visit the library to check my email. But that will have to wait.
Back at motel. Tonight we get the beautiful sunset and nearly clear skies. Oh well. By pushing the last couple days I have gained a day on my schedule and am now 4 days behind. While I was out doing my errands, all my damp gear poncho, sleeping bag, shoes, etc. dried out nicely in my room.
I have to get a permit to hike in Shenandoah N.P. Don't know quite what to expect with the hut system in the park. Capacity is limited in the huts and the regulations also seem to discourage stealth camping. We will just play it by ear. I understand the trail is pretty smooth and well maintained, so it should be possible to make good time.
My knee problem is under control and everything else is working just fine. This is fun again! Cindy "Mrs. Gorp" Miller is on the trail, about a week ahead of me. She is the one who came to Brian's rescue last year in Vermont when he lost all his gear on the Greyhound ride from Albuquerque. One of my goals is to meet her. If I catch up and I am gaining on her according to the trail registers I feel I owe her one more "Thank you!" and maybe a pie and coffee. We'll see.
6/8 Stealth camp south of Turk Gap, Shenandoah NP, 8:30PM
I was able to do a couple extra miles beyond what I planned today, due to perfect hiking weather and good trail. Probably 10.5 miles total, though I didn't get out of Waynesboro 'till almost 11AM. I'm sharing the campsite with one other hiker who I first met at the last shelter. "Maybe Muscle" is a 52 year old woman who is hiking alone since her companion left the trail. I had cooked my dinner at the last shelter, Calf Mountain, about 2PM, planning to hike on, and she came by while I was setting up camp here.
At about 7PM, "The Postman" came by. This has to be a unique story on the trail. Andy "The Postman" is a young guy, very strong hiker, who is hiking long miles, hiking at night, in short, going faster than anyone else. So people give him notes to deliver ahead to other hikers on the trail. And he had mail for me! A message from Boo (Buddha) with whom I had been hiking early on in GA and NC. I gave Andy a note to carry forward to Mrs. Gorp, telling her I was trying to catch up with her. I hope she gets my message. She's probably 5 or 6 days ahead of us. But there is no way other than The Postman to know what's happening with people who are following.
6/9 Camped adjacent to Pinefield Hut, Shenandoah NP, 8PM
Whew, a long day in all respects. 22.4 miles in about 11 hours. I stopped at Loft Mountain Campground to buy some lunch supplies for the next 3 days. Didn't expect any bargains at a campground store but this was really criminal. They're obviously not looking for any repeat business. Just sticking it to the hiker or camper who needs something.
The wildlife in the park is accustomed to seeing people, of course, so we see much more of them. A deer was practically within petting distance in our camp this morning. Later on the trail I saw two bucks with velvet knobs for antlers, and a beautiful wild turkey. It circled back around me through the undergrowth and then flew off as I got closer. These are big birds, probably a 4-foot wingspan, and a far cry from our domesticated variety.
The trail through the park is well graded and maintained. I may be able to make up another day if all continues to go well. It's been a warm day mid 80's and a warm evening. Thank goodness for the bug cage!
I left notes for Boo in this shelter register and the last one (where I stopped for lunch and water) telling her I had received her note from The Postman. She should see at least one of them when they reach this area. I wished her, JR and Wildflower well on their hike.
6/10 Camped just south of Lewis Mountain Campground, so I did another 20-mile day or close to it. I'm stealth camping by myself near the trail. It's 8:30PM so I don't think I'll bother anyone. I'm probably camped illegally but flat spots are hard to find.
Lots of hills to climb today, and it was pretty warm and humid. It was a 12-hour day and I expect to sleep well!
6/11 Rock Spring Hut, 7:30PM
I'm set up near the shelter. Got in here about 5:30PM after a big restaurant lunch (expensive) at Big Meadows Campground. Also saw my first bear of the trip today in the campground as "Muscles" and I were walking down to the restaurant. It ambled off before we could get pictures. Greg is to pick me up at noon on Friday at the Hwy 522 trail crossing, near Front Royal, VA. It will be great to see him and Meredith, and have a couple days off the trail on purpose!
Sly the Biker is here at the shelter! He took some zeroes because of an infected heel. He, Muscles and I are sitting here watching a mama bear and her 2 cubs foraging in the undergrowth about 50 feet from the shelter. Good thing they have bear poles here on which we can hang our food.
6/12 Pass Mountain Hut, Shenandoah NP, 6PM
A short but strenuous day today, 15.3 miles. It got pretty hot by mid-morning, then tried to rain in the afternoon. Just a few drops fell but the humidity is still high. I was hiking by 7AM to beat the heat. There were several spectacular overlooks, Stony Man Mountain, Jewell Hollow, Elder Ridge, but it was hazy. I'm staying in the shelter tonight because the weather is uncertain. It's actually clear now but rain is forecast for tomorrow. The next shelter is about 13 miles. If the weather is bad we'll stay there but we would like to get 4 or 5 miles further if we can. It's another 13.5 miles from that shelter to where Greg is to meet us, and we'll have trouble getting there by noon.
There are a lot of hikers in here tonight including Sly and Muscles. Most are camping out. We also have a resident box turtle that is trying to dig a pit about 15 feet in from of the hut. I assume it will lay eggs there. Not the best spot.
6/13 Gravel Springs Hut. (The last shelter in Shenandoah NP) 6:45PM
Rained hard today. We're sitting here right now in a cloud. Looks like there'll be 5 of us in the hut tonight unless there are late arrivals, plus a couple hikers in tents.
I was "Spider Man" this morning first on the trail, collecting all the cobwebs, at 6:30AM. A large group of hikers gathered at Elkwallow Gap just as the rain really started coming down. Everyone had lunch there. Then we all hit the trail again when the downpour eased a bit. We got here, a total of 13 miles, before it began raining hard again. That leaves 13.4 miles tomorrow to the Front Royal trailhead to meet Greg. We'll have to be on the tail early to get there by noon. That may be ambitious.
I got a good panorama of the valley through the rain clouds from an overlook on top of Hogback Mountain. Spectacular view if I was able to capture it.
About time to get into the sleeping bag. I'm really looking forward to seeing Greg, getting a hot shower and drying everything out.
6/15 Greg and Meredith's house, 3PM
Greg located me at dinner last night in Front Royal after a mix-up on which trailhead we were supposed to meet. Gear is being washed, dried out or replaced, and I expect to return to the trail tomorrow. In particular, my hiking poles were shot. After about 2,800 miles, internal corrosion had made them difficult to adjust which I must do when I use them to set up my poncho/tarp shelter. Can you believe that REI here gave me a full credit? We picked up my Linden resupply box this morning so I won't have to worry about that later. I still have to shop for some lunch stuff and plan to resupply or mail a box to Harpers Ferry. It's nice to have a rest day.
6/17 Bears Den Hostel, 8:45PM. This is indeed a "must stop" place on the trail. Big stone mansion, almost a castle, about 20 miles south of Harpers Ferry. They have a breakfast here so I won't get an early start. I'll probably get to Harpers Ferry about 7PM tomorrow, and find a motel.
My visit with Greg and Meredith was short as it turned out. When we got to their place about 10PM or Friday, Greg had a message to report to Pensacola, Florida for some training on Monday. He had a Sunday noon flight out. So I got all my essential things done Saturday, then Meredith drove me to the trailhead on Sunday. I hiked 16 miles on Sunday starting at 12:45PM, and another 20 miles today to get here. The hike today was strenuous. The last 10 miles (and the first 5 tomorrow) were on the "roller coaster," a series of steep ups and downs with very little level ground that require a lot of effort. Tomorrow morning I hike through Snickers Gap, where Julianne and I have actually walked on a few hundred feet of the AT. That was last year when we were visiting G&M and drove up here. There are some nice scenic overlooks along the trail with views of the Shenandoah valley to the west.
6/18 Hilltop House Hotel, Harpers Ferry, WV, 9:40PM
First, I should explain why I hiked so far on Sunday, getting into Dick's Dome Shelter after 9PM. I almost didn't find the place in the dark. You try to spot the hikers' lights but that didn't work very well because of all the fireflies. Anyway, I had arrived at the Manassas Gap Shelter at a decent hour, only to find no one staying there and a note warning of two copperheads in residence under the eaves. They were there all right! So I cooked my dinner, then walked on to the next shelter.
What a marvelous trail experience I had today! I felt as though I actually lived a bit of the Civil War. Evidence of the war has been a big part of my hike, of course the Sheldon graves down in Tennessee, passing Manassas Gap the other day but these are just signs along the trail. They didn't really move me. This afternoon I hiked over the top of Loudoun Heights, the hill that overlooks Harpers Ferry to the south of town. The area is a nation historic park, so I was looking for anything of interest. The hill is forested now, but 140 years ago it was not. It offered a good view of the strategically important river junction.
As I started down the hill, I first saw a very rough stone wall, in some ways similar to the stone walls marking property lines. But this was no homestead boundary. It followed the curve of the hill and was clearly a fortification protecting the hilltop. And it had been thrown up quickly, unlike most of the stone walls I've seen.
Further down the hill, I passed first one, then a second long trench. These were dug out along the side of the hill with earth and rock piled up on the downhill side to protect the soldiers from below. I stopped to take a picture of the second of these defense lines and suddenly saw and heard the roar of cannon fire! Yes, the lightning and thunder of our afternoon weather pattern had set in. It struck me so vividly that I could almost see the men in blue or gray? defending their fortifications. I could also hear cars below and knew that, with no trees blocking the view, they would have had a commanding view of the Shenandoah River just below. And across the river, where the Potomac River joins it from the west, was Harpers Ferry.
My throat was tight and I had trouble seeing for a moment. I was there watching a moving, very real scene from the 1860s. I'm glad I was hiking alone today. If I'd been with someone else, we probably wouldn't have even noticed most of this. I'm thankful for this small insight into the "war between US and US." In the next few days I'll be passing places with names like Antietam and Gettysburg. I've hiked 1,003 miles.
6/19 Dahlgren Backpackers Camp, 8:20PM
I set up my tarp here, along with about 8 other hikers in a very nice campground run by the state of Maryland. It's the only camp on the AT with free hot showers for hikers. Right after most of us set up, a Baptist church group showed up about 25 kids and leaders. They are on a one-night camping trip. The evening service is just starting.
I got out of Harpers Ferry this morning at about 9:30 after visiting the P.O. and the Appalachian Trail conference office. They (the ATC people) take your picture for their trail register. I'm the 377th northbound thruhiker to register there this year.
It was a pretty easy 17.9-mile day starting with a 3-mile flat hike along the C&O canal towpath, then a 1,000 foot climb up to the ridge top. I'd like to spend more time exploring Harpers Ferry. The historical park area looks interesting.
6/20 Devils Racecourse Shelter, 7PM
Looks like just me and the resident cat here tonight. Cat is welcome to stay under the shelter, not in it. Does this mean there will be no mice? 18.3 hard miles today. There was quite a bit of steep and rocky rail, which makes for slow going. I'll reach Pennsylvania tomorrow morning, the 7th of 14 states the AT runs through. After all those weeks in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland go very quickly.
The church group last night was no problem at all. They were just starting to dismantle their row of matching 4-person Eureka tents this morning when I left at 7AM.
6/21 Camped along the trail above Rocky Mountain shelter. 8PM
19.8 miles today, and I took time this morning to accept the offer of a ride into Blue Ridge Summit from Pen Mar Park to make a phone call and buy a little extra food. I couldn't find a phone in the park and a trail angel appeared. He even bought me a cup of coffee while I made the call!
This leaves me 23 miles to Ironmasters Mansion Hostel tomorrow. Barely doable if the trail and weather are decent. I have a resupply box there. If I make it there tomorrow I wouldn't have had to buy the extra food. If I hadn't gone into town I would have been closer to the hostel tonight. Such are the choices on the trail. It's better to play it safe, and I did have to make that phone call.
Why didn't I stay in the shelter? It's 0.3 miles downhill, off the trail, and back up here in the morning. The water supply there is poor, so I carried water with me for dinner. And the weather looks OK. (Hope I'm right about that.) Finally, when camping, I can use the bug cage, and it's pretty buggy tonight.
I seem to be between groups of northbound hikers right now. Haven't seen any all day. There may be some at the shelter, and others may have hiked further north. But no one has passed here since 5:30, when I got here. Odd. It'll be interesting to see how may are at the hostel tomorrow night.
6/23 Ironmasters Mansion Hostel, 7:45AM.
Arrived here last night at 5PM, 23 miles in a little over 10 hours of hiking! The day was warm but not humid, and the trail was pretty good most of the way. I've made up another day and am now just 2 days behind my schedule. Another sunny morning and I'm on my way.
7:30PM at Alex Kennedy Shelter.
Only 15.5 miles today and they were hard with temps up to about 90? I'm here with four other hikers, Jay, Brian, Moonshine and Trail Yeti, all new to these pages. We were all at Ironmasters Hostel last night. Jay got the Cat Stove and is sending his Peak One home tomorrow. He cooked with it for the first time tonight. Of the 5 of us here, only Brian is using a gas stove and he is talking about changing over.
Today I passed the sign marking the nominal halfway point of the trail. The actual midpoint is close to there but changes every time they reroute any part of the trail. Another hiker and I took each other's picture at the marker. Tomorrow will be an unusual hiking day. It's 18.2 miles across the flat Cumberland Valley. No camping is allowed 'till the shelter, so it's necessarily a long, sunny hike tomorrow.
6/24 Breakfast at the Lakeside Café in Boiling Springs, PA. 9:30AM
Got up early and walked into town for breakfast. What a nice town! It surrounds a spring-fed lake (not boiling) and every direction you look are streets, trees and buildings that would make a nice scene on a postcard. That includes boys in bib overalls fishing in the lake.
It's another 14 miles across the valley to Darlington Shelter. It's already hot and I don't think there'll be much shade, but I'm told there's plenty of water. Time to put this in the mail and do some walking through the farmlands.
6/24 Darlington Shelter, 8PM.
18.2 miles today, and the hike went well considering it was in the mid-90s. I took it easy, carried and drank plenty of water, and got here about 5:30PM, just before the thundershowers hit. One other hiker is here SlimFast. He's a section hiker, retiree from a pharmaceutical company, who lives in New Jersey. We cooked our dinners in the shelter to avoid the on and off rain showers. The thunder and wind continues and the temperature has dropped probably 30 degrees in the past hour. A real cold front blowing through. A dead tree blew down a while ago, far enough away so we heard it fall but couldn't see it.
There were several hikers hanging around the AT office in Boiling Springs this morning waiting for the weather to cool. I wonder if any of them will show up here tonight? This is a very small shelter with room for maybe six people, but there are level campsites nearby. It is surprising this shelter is so small considering that it is the only one for the last 18 miles and no camping is allowed crossing Cumberland Valley.
The hike across the valley from Boiling Springs provided a nice change of scenery. Lots of farmland, dairies and small creeks. Surprisingly thankfully! there was quite a bit of shade.
6/25 Hotel Doyle in Duncannon, PA, 9:40PM
Interesting place, the Doyle. Got into Duncannon about 12:30PM after a morning hike of 11 miles with morning fog in all the low spots and temperature in the 80s. In other words, a steam bath. My glasses were fogging up sweating just made my clothes heavier. I was pretty much worn out by the time I got here. Got a good room (for the Doyle,) top floor with windows on two sides for cross-ventilation. No air-conditioning, but no breeze either. All the spiders I could see were dead and the wasp left as soon as I arrived. Now the Doyle has a rowdy reputation but the new owners seem nice and are trying hard to make it all work. They have bitten off a big challenge here but are really enthusiastic. The shower and restroom down the hall (one per floor) was spotless. The room is clean. There are a lot of hikers staying here tonight and the bar (air-conditioned) is doing good business with both hikers and locals. The owners just got their permit and reopened the bar last Thursday. I made use of the free shuttle service to the supermarket to resupply. It leaves at 3PM. This is a wonderful benefit for hikers since the store is a good one-half mile out of town, and a long, hot walk.
I'm writing this in a 2nd floor room that is air-conditioned. It's a kind of meeting/recreation room. I don't think anyone else knows about it. I'm tempted to bring my sleeping bag down here and camp on the floor! According to the TV, the high today was 101 degrees. That was probably in nearby Harrisburg. My room is still about 90, but I'll have to get up there soon and get some sleep. There's a nice breakfast place, Jodi's, just across the street.
There is a chance of thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon, so I'll try to get to a shelter 11.3 miles from here. I may go further but only if the weather looks good. The next shelter is another 17.5 miles, a full day's hike. I'm to meet Art and Barbara Krause next Sunday in Port Clinton, so all I have to do is keep up with the schedule, that is, get there by Sunday noon. Then I must stay over to pick up my resupply box from the P.O. Monday morning.
6/26 Peter's Mt. Shelter, 5PM
A nice walk today and a nice large shelter. I arrived here about 1PM after an 11.3-mile hike in warm, humid but overcast weather. It sprinkled briefly around 10AM. No point in going any further today. The P.O. at Port Clinton closes at 11AM on Saturday. It would be a very hard push to get there in time almost 60 miles from here. So I'll take my time and get into Port Clinton either Saturday night or more likely Sunday morning. Right now we've got hazy sun, high humidity and no thunderstorm threat. No air movement, temp maybe 80? Time to cook dinner.
6/27 Rausch Gap Shelter, 6PM.
Can't believe our good fortune! The torrential downpour started not 10 minutes after Slim-fast and I arrived here. It has been a pretty good day for hiking, 17.5 miles, with warm, humid weather, but dry. The thunder began booming about 2PM and the race was on. We arrived about 4PM with one other section hiker, C-Lion. Since then, 3 other soaked-to-the-skin hikers have struggled in Quiet Man Morris, Tigger and Prairie. The shelter is now full, but there are several level campsites close by. Dinner is cooked and eaten. The late-comers are hanging things up and firing up stoves. After 2 hours, the rain seems to be slowing. Hopefully this will blow through quickly and leave us with a good hiking day tomorrow.
6/28 510 Shelter, 7:20PM Rained off and on through the night, then cleared in time for a good hiking day. The ridge we were on most of today, Blue Mountain, was as straight and level as any I've seen on the AT. Once on top, I don't think the elevation varied more than 200 feet in 10 miles. Parts of the trail were kind of rocky but it was a very pleasant hike today. I don't understand why the AT is routed the way it is along these ridges. By moving it a few yards to either side, hikers could enjoy an abundance of views of the valleys below. Instead, we walk through a tunnel of trees and brush for miles. I passed four good viewpoints today. One was where a power line crossed the ridge, two were on blue-blazed side trails, and the last was actually viewable from the trail.
The dreaded Pennsylvania rocky trail has not so far been as terrible as we were lead to believe. There have been some bad sections but no worse than in other parts of the trail.
This is a very unusual shelter, a hostel really, except that it's free. It's on private property and the caretakers, George and Joan Shollenberger, live here. The place has all four walls, bunks, a solar shower, and good water from a spigot! Our usual shelters have none of these luxuries. Not knocking those other shelters, you understand. It was very nice last night being under a roof that didn't leak!
6/29 Camped along the trial above Phillips Canyon Spring. 7:30PM
I stretched a 15-mile day into 19+ miles to get closer to Port Clinton. It's just a 4-mile walk into town tomorrow. That way I can get some laundry done and shower before Art and Barbara Krause show up. It will be great to visit with them. They're driving all the way from the Pittsburgh area.
Slim-fast, the section hiker I've been traveling with the past few days, gave me his phone number and asked that I call him when I reach Massachusetts. If things work out he and his wife, who live in Stockbridge MA, may invite me to dinner.
Another hiker, Disco, may come this far as well to camp for the night. If not, I've got the place to myself. Looks like a nice evening, but buggy. The bug cage is up. The trail today was pretty rough and rocky in places, living up to Pennsylvania's reputation. You have to watch every step. It's very tiring. I'm looking forward to an almost day off tomorrow. 1,193 miles hiked. Just 975 to go!
6/30 The Port Clinton Hotel, 8:40PM.
I did well to get in here by 9:30AM over trail that was both rocky and steep, then waited on the porch 'till 11AM for someone to open the door! The person who would normally be here by 8 or 9AM had gone fishing, it being Sunday. The restaurant and bar opened at 11. The bartender went to work on the phone and tried to get someone in to clean the rooms. I was given a key to room #6 about 12:30PM only to find another hiker's gear in it. Turned out to be C-lion's, who had checked in yesterday in #4, found the room next to #5 which happened to be #6, (the key to #4 opens #6 and vice versa) and slept there last night. She stayed in that room, I ended up in #4. Security is a little lax in these small towns. Nobody needs door locks anyway.
The hotel, restaurant and bar are all closed on Monday. We pay a $10 towel deposit and can't get it back until we turn in our room key. The bartender is the last to leave around 9PM Sunday night, so we have to turn in the room key before then, which I did. I must now be very careful not to lock my door if I go down the hall to the bathroom, or something. When I leave tomorrow morning I'd better have everything with me. I can't get back into the hotel until Tuesday without a key.
Port Clinton has no pay phones. There are no phones in the hotel that occupants can use. How can I call home? Simple. I walked down the street until I found someone sitting on their front porch (people do that a lot in places like Port Clinton) and asked if I could use their phone to make a credit card call. The first one I asked actually had her cordless phone with her on the porch! Problem solved. By the time I got away there were 6 people on the porch asking me questions about my hike and telling me about a big craft fair that was going on in a nearby town. Another great trail experience!
Barbara Krause (friend Kathi's mom,) Eleanor Patton and Gemma Haas found me here this afternoon and we had a super visit. Went to the Hawk Mountain bird sanctuary, then back here to the hotel for dinner. The restaurant in the Port Clinton Hotel is excellent. Good prices for good food and lots of it. We then drove out and toured a bit of the countryside and stopped at a farm for ice cream. How's that for a great day? Oh, and Logan, Barbara's grandson, sent me some of his homemade oatmeal raisin cookies! Thanks, Logan!
The P.O. opens tomorrow morning at 7:30AM. I'll pick up my resupply box and head north. Should reach Delaware Water Gap either July 4th or 5th.