Trail Journal

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.

Date: September 21 2000
Trail Day: 113
Miles Today: 0
Location: Hotel Doyle, Duncannon
Section Mile: AT 999
ECT Mile: 1694

Another O day. Read the book, ate pizza and drank beer.

Date: September 22 2000
Trail Day: 114
Miles Today: 14
Location: Near PA 944
Section Mile: AT 1013
ECT Mile: 1708

Got up and did all my morning chores. Had breakfast across the street and hit the trail. The climb up lasted quite a while although it wasn't steep. The rocks are starting to decrease. I believe the Pennsylvania rocks are just very overblown. My take is - we are on the Appalachian trail. Its not Appalachian lakes, rivers or sea shores. Its Appalachian mountains and mountains are made of rocks. So in a trail as long as this one, you should expect sections with a lot of rocks.

Met a 19 year old guy. He had run away from home when he was 17 and has been homeless ever since. He has been hitch hiking all over the place and has lived in Arizona, California and the Carolinas. All he had was a very small day pack and a sleeping bag tied with a string. He was wearing slippers. He is trying to hike to Massachusetts where his parents live and take care of some court cases pending against him. Everything he had with him (which was very little) was stolen. He had been abusing drugs several months back but was now clean. He had small red berries with him that he got from some tree. He had eaten several of them without even knowing what they were. He said the Bible says all fruits growing in the open with seeds can be eaten. I ate one of them and found several along the way. I intend to find out what they are. I was also very surprised to find out that he had an email address. We exchanged our addresses. He also gave me a prayer feather. I gave him one of the maps that I am now done with. I hope he gets all his problems resolved. I personally think he has all his inner problems resolved. It is now just a matter of time. We'll see.

A short day today. Cooked some horrible tasting rice. Almost had to force myself to eat it. I was then lying down for a while when I heard a lot of snorts and crackling of twigs. I thought I had a human visitor. Got up and saw about 7 deer that bolted. I did not move. They hung around there for about half an hour checking me out. Deer are very curious animals. Every once in a while one of them would come a little closer and stomp.

Sleeping in the open tonight. There is civilization near by and there is a constant hum and drone.

A field view

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