Miles from Springer Mountain: 1275.3
Miles to Mount Katahdin: 916.7
After a restful night indoors I set off on the 21st, I started the day off great by getting lost a couple times – overall probably waking about an extra mile. It’s not hard to get lost at some points, losing the white blazes amongst the rocks has killed my pace a few times while in Pennsylvania. It’s the worst when I lose the trail and walk downhill, only to realize that I have to walk all the way up the hill I just trudged down. It hasn’t helped that the trails have been so waterlogged and crawling over wet rocks gets scary at points – I can imagine there is an ankle graveyard somewhere amongst the PA rock scrambles.
The 22nd was a resupply day in Hamburg, PA, I walked about a mile off trail to a local Walmart to pick up food for the next week. If you can picture seeing a hairy, smelly man with a huge, dirty backpack at your local grocery, you’ll have a sense of what it’s like for a thru-hiker to walk through Walmart. I sat in the entrance area to charge my phone and batteries for about a hour, a woman walked up and handed me $2 and encouraged me to finish my hike – I love trail magic! I walked back to the trail and pushed onward towards the Eckville Shelter, which is the first shelter I’ve been to that has a flushing toilet! The toilet flushes, but the little shack it was in didn’t have a light so I couldn’t even enjoy the view!
It rained all night and into the morning of the 23rd. It severely dampened my spirits, especially knowing that Knife’s Edge and Bear Rocks were ahead. Not only did I not get to enjoy these beautiful views, but I had to fearfully crawl over these wet rock faces. I had points of genuine fear, especially with a thunder storm raging overhead. I couldn’t even stop to google if my trekking poles would attract lightening! With no shelter nearby I had to soldier on, there were no trees or caves to hide by. Rocks alone kill my hiking pace, but with the water it can bring me to a crawling pace. Yesterday normally could have been a 8-9 hour day of walking, but instead was 12+ hours. My body was hurting.
In a few days the rocks will be over, but I still had one last major taste of it today. Trekking poles aren’t even worth using at some points, I had to cling to rocks with my fingers today. The rain has dried up for the most part, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable hiking today if it were raining. The largest difference in today’s punishing rocks is that at the very least there was always a beautiful view – the ridgeline today has been mostly clear of tree cover. My day was cut a little short to rest and relax in my tent.
This weekend I’ll be able to relax and recoup because…. Haley is coming to see me!! The past two weeks have been pretty tough for me mentally and physically so Haley decided to drive out to so we could be together this weekend. It will give me a much needed mental break from the trail, my feet a rest from the rocks, and the opportunity to clean up and recharge for the next few weeks. We will be around Stroudsburg, PA – I’m excited to watch the 500 and drink some local beer. My mind feels refreshed just thinking about the restful weekend ahead.
I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend, whether you watch the race, enjoy a few adult beverages, see family, or are on vacation, I hope you relax and enjoy yourself. Thank you all so much for following me along, only a month and a half left!