Trail Journal

Date: September 14 2000
Trail Day: 106
Miles Today: 23
Location: Near Little Gap
Section Mile: AT 906
ECT Mile: 1598

A very unincidental day today. Met 4 hikers. Got water at Wind Gap. This area is very dry. Saw a journal entry by Mr. Clean stating he was very sick - vomitting, loss of concentration, joint aches etc. Doesn't sound good. If he takes more than a week off, I will definitely miss him. One of the hikers said she saw me somewhere in Maine/New Hampshire - a very long section.

I am very confused about the Pennsylvania rocks. Am I in it or is it yet to come ? I don't know. I have also been playing a game to keep the average at 20 miles per day since Suriyan left. I keep a score of the surplus or deficit from 20 every day. So, say its at +5 today, that means I have got 5 miles over the 20 average. If I were to to do 15 today the average would become exactly 20. At its best it was +9. Yesterday it was at -8 and today at -5. I want to get to 0 and stop playing. It has become tiresome. On the bright side I have covered 400 miles in the past 20 days - quite fast.

Well I am a little short of water tonight with almost no hopes of getting any more till at about 10 AM tomorrow. I am also sleeping in the open, so I hope it doesn't rain.

Date: September 15 2000
Trail Day: 107
Miles Today: 1
Location: Near Allentown shelter
Section Mile: AT 907
ECT Mile: 1599

Late last night it started raining. I used the light that Playfoot gave me in Kent and set up my tarp. The light is quite bright. I had sent back my thermal underwear and flash light to Vivek in Delaware Water Gap. I have been hoping to meet other so bo's but I keep missing them when they go into towns. I've already missed Matt. Its interesting - during the planning phases thru-hikers talk about wanting solitude and how to avoid "the crowds". The reality turns out to be very different. They spend a lot of time in towns.

Walked over "The Knife Edge" - there's nothing knife edgy about it. The view however was spectacular - took shots : scenic 1 scenic 2. The 'Pennsylvania rocks' are way over blown. Rainbow 6's advice which sounded naive at the time, is accurate - "Dont worry about every rock - just go". Here's a little rhyme that I came up with :

Pennsylvania rocks,
What a crock,
Honey, Roots was right,
Never listen to hype.

Stopped at a restaurant and B+B almost on the trail. Excellent food. The B+B portion, they told me was 95$ - I almost choked. It was getting dark by the time I left the B+B. Filled up from the faucet outside and took 3 tomatoes from the garden. Started hiking fast so I could make it to the shelter before dark. It followed a logging road, so it was easy. My map fell out of my pocket somewhere and I was quite angry at myself. Another 100 or so miles to go before I have a map again. Finally it got too dark and I decided to sleep in the open. Ate the tomatoes - delicious and juicy.

Date: September 16 2000
Trail Day: 108
Miles Today: 22
Location: Pavillion, Port Clinton
Section Mile: AT 929
ECT Mile: 1621

Got up in the morning and saw a guy heading north. He is Sweet Cicily's husband slack packing. He said I was about 500 yards from the shelter but that it was packed. Ate a good breakfast and started hiking. Met Doc Marten and Straight A at the shelter. They are doing a section hike from New York to Georgia. Straight A is of Indian descent - born and brought up here. We call them ABCD's - American born confused Desi's (Desi means - fellow counrty man). They call us FOB's (Fresh off the boats). A similar dynamic to North bounder vs South bounder. The level of hostility is also about the same. I am not saying Straight A was hostile - she was in fact a very nice person - an ABCD exception :-)

The miles just flew by today. Met Fire Breather, Fall Girl and Sweet Cicily on the way. It rained a little towards the end. Got to Port Clinton - a very small town with almost nothing. Did laundry, got take out food at the Port Clinton hotel. This hotel used to be hiker friendly but with a change in ownership things have changed. Now in the pavillion ready to sleep.

Date: September 17 2000
Trail Day: 109
Miles Today: 24
Location: 501 Shelter
Section Mile: AT 953
ECT Mile: 1645

Last night one of the locals came by at about 3:00 AM and asked us if we wanted to smoke some pot. We were sound asleep when he came in. The group hung around for quite a while and I could not get much sleep. I woke up quite late (maybe 10:00 AM). Fall Girl and Fire Breather were gone. I tried to get breakfast in town but there was no place. Started hiking - wasn't feeling very good. I decided to take a O in Shartlesville. Decided to hike to Cross-Mountain , which runs to Shartlesville. I was looking for a black top road, which it wasn't and completely missed it. Talked with a nice day hiking couple about my options to bail out further down. None of those sounded very good. So, I decided to hike on to Duncannon, 3 days, about 70 miles away. Composed a poem :

Destination Duncannon

Gather round ye young and grown,
And listen to me bitch and moan.

Twenty five days, on the run,
Now its ceasing to be fun.
Covered, five hundred miles,
Thought of it, makes me smile.
But now my body is so worn,
My socks - they are all torn.
My tarp belongs to the landfill,
My sleeping bag leaks holofill.
I need a shower real soon,
I smell like a dead racoon.
My clothes - they need a wash and spin,
To be of any use again.
My morale is now shot to hell,
My spirit is way down as well.
I walk with an unsmiling face,
Gone is my former pace.
Boy, I need a zero day,
To fully recuperate.
Three days mileage, sixty nine and some,
Hello Duncannon, here I come.

Anyway, thanks ye young and grown,
For listening to me moan and groan.

Got to the 501 shelter, just as it was getting dark. Fire Breather, Fall Girl, Sweet Cicily with husband George and Chilli and Brisco were there. They were eating pizza and asked me to join in. It was good. The shelter is a covered shelter (Most others have one side open). There is also a sky light. A very nice place.

Date: September 18 2000
Trail Day: 110
Miles Today: 24
Location: Stony Mountain
Section Mile: AT 977
ECT Mile: 1672

Got up quite early today. Took a photo of all. Turns out Firebreather, Fallgirl and Sweet Cicily were responsible for the birch beer I found at Kirkbridge shelter a few days ago.

Trail Angels

Hiked to an AT shelter,
With absolutely no water.
Saw a little sparkling spring,
A sigh of relief, it did bring.

What do I find floating there ?
A can of cold birch beer.
Sat down, drank with relish,
Best drink I must admit.
Fire breather, Fall girl, Sweet Cicily,
Thanks to you, all the three.

Made good progress today. Saw George at PA 443 waiting for Cicily. Got some water from him. The trail passed through some old town which existed in the 1850's - quite amazing. The area is also a popular destination and as expected, camping sites looked more like pig sties. Tarping again and hoping there is no rain. Tomorrow Duncannon and a O. I am somewhat burnt out now.

A view

Date: September 19 2000
Trail Day: 111
Miles Today: 22
Location: Hotel Doyle, Duncannon
Section Mile: AT 999
ECT Mile: 1694

The place where I tarped was good - under a big, dense pine tree. When I got up in the morning it had just started to rain but I did not get a single drop. Packed up and started off. It rained all day. The day was also very foggy. It was a fairly easy hike. Came to an old shelter and stopped for a break. I could not find the register. I rested for a while and continued on. A few hundred feet down there was a beautiful shelter - Peters Mountain shelter. There were 5 brothers there who had stopped due to rain. I made a register entry and continued.

The last section to Duncannon was quite rugged. The trail designers have tried to run the trail along the ridge top. But this is highly broken here. So the trail goes down some 100 ft, turns around, goes back up, runs the ridge for 300 ft, back down ... Some places I had to check for blazes to make sure I was indeed on the trail. I could also hear the road and train traffic but it took a long time to actually get to it.

Got a room at the Doyle hotel. Its quite run down but they are working on it. Did laundry, shower and dinner. Met T1 and T2 - they are doing the AT in sections. They started this one in Delaware Water Gap. T2 has some foot problem also. Met Springer and Still Searchin. Had a long conversation with Still Searchin about life, trail etc - very interesting.

Date: September 20 2000
Trail Day: 112
Miles Today: 0
Location: Hotel Doyle, Duncannon
Section Mile: AT 999
ECT Mile: 1694

O day today. Bought groceries, new tarp etc. The old tarp had big beer can sized holes in it. I had placed my alcohol stove on it while cooking food and it made a bunch of holes in the tarp. Also got a novel to read - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Why its a best seller is beyond me. Also stopped by at a computer store and the owner allowed me to use his computer to check for e-mail. Looks like Michelle sent me something in Kent where I did not stop. Wish I had known about this earlier. Called Kumar. Left a message at Churi's.

Met Torn, Cinderella and Razmataz. Very interesting group of people. They are north bounders but will be stopping in 10 days or so. Torn has a very appropriate name. Stayed up very late talking and partying with them.

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