May 21, 2018
Destination: Windsor Furnace Shelter Today's Miles: 14.70
Start Location: Eagles Nest Shelter Trip Miles: 1224.60
I woke up this morning and noticed that my legs and feet didn’t really feel any worse than a typical morning, which was great. I wasn’t sure how I would feel after the higher-than-usual mileage yesterday.
The mice didn’t seem to be active in the shelter last night, which was great considering how rambunctious they were by the picnic table last night (which was right next to the shelter). It was a misty morning, but it was supposed to be clear all day until night, at which point it would rain. Again. And into tomorrow. But for now it was clear, and that’s all I cared about!
I hiked out of camp. Cody Coyote had vanished and flip floppers Shake and Bake and Froggy were still at the shelter. I had two missions today: pick up my shoes that I had been bouncing north at the post office in Port Clinton, and resupply in neighboring Hamburg. I had no real mileage goal for the day, but I did want to try and avoid getting sucked into staying in Hamburg and spending money on the Microtel there. I had one other task in mind, which was applying a permethrin treatment to my new shoes. Permethrin is a key part of my tick defense and shoes are an obvious risk for getting ticks, perhaps one of the most likely entry paths. I had a bottle of permethrin coming along with the shoes so that I could treat them before wearing them.
As I walked along I startled a deer that was lying down in a sunny little glen in the woods. It got up and bounded off. I am sure that deer was as happy to see the first rays of morning sun as I was. Shortly after, two young men passed me hiking southbound. They must have been brothers and possibly twins. They both had amazing bowl cuts that reminded me of hair styles from my childhood, and the shorter of the two wore suspenders. They were excited about the break in the rain as well and looked to be out just for the day (no packs). I enjoyed the miles into town. The descent into Port Clinton offered no switchbacks and was virtually straight down. Maybe this was good practice for the Whites! The trail dropped down to a railroad station, which was next to the Schuylkill River. I crossed a bridge over the river and walked up the Main Street to the post office. The post office there does not open until 12:30, which was in about 15 minutes, so I decided to use the time to eat a snack and dry out my feet. Two other hikers were there waiting, a flip flopper Cool and his section hiker friend Cats (together, the Cool Cats). I took off my shoes and socks and gaiters and lay them in the sun. I stretched my feet into the sun as well to de-prune a little. I’m sure I looked like quite the hobo at the post office, though I’m also quite sure they are used to it. When it opened, I got my package and opened it outside. Shoes glorious shoes!!! I took them and my clean pair of socks over to the parking lot and applied the permethrin, then left them there to dry in the sun. I put my now almost dry socks on and almost dry old shoes on and organized my pack. I had also lain out my rain gear so I had to stuff that back in. I took my new shoes and put them in the back of my pack in the mesh pocket, and safety pinned (thanks Chris!!) my permethrined socks to the back of my pack to finish drying. I was like a walking clothesline!
In general, Port Clinton was kind of a dead trail town. I feel like they are missing a lot of opportunity there. Apparently there is a barber shop that gives hikers free cookies and has musical instruments to play. I kind of wanted to go there, but that’s also just kind of awkward, and I needed to get to Hamburg. I walked east to where the trail exits town. The sun was hot and felt good. I walked along the river and under the highway 61 bridge. I needed to walk along this road to get to the Walmart in Hamburg, but when I saw how busy it was I decided to try and hitch a ride. I doubled back to Port Clinton and went up past the post office to where that road hit the highway. I am not sure if hitchhiking is illegal in PA, but I always assume it is, so I kept watch for the staties as I stuck my thumb out. After about 10 minutes, a guy in a pickup truck pulled up and asked if I was just trying to get to Walmart. I said yes and he motioned for me to hop in, so I threw my pack and sticks in the truck bed and jumped in. His name was Rocco. He was pretty quiet but asked how long I’d been on the trail and a few questions like that. I was super grateful for the ride as it saved me a lot of time and a walk along a very busy road. I thanked him profusely and hopped out at Walmart.
I love walking through the store pushing a cart with my pack and sticks! I don’t mind sticking out like a sore thumb. There is something liberating about it, like skinny dipping. I think it’s the fact that I know I look unusual and I don’t care - I don’t even think about it, not even when I am trying to sort my food on the ground outside of the store. I got all of my resupply items, as well as a smoothie and a Monster energy drink and the. Sidled up to the Subway inside Walmart. I ordered a foot long and the guy asked if it was for here or to go. I told him for here, and he said he would give me a bag anyway just in case I couldn’t finish it. Ha! I told him thank you, but there was zero chance of that! As I ate the sandwich, two people approached and asked me about the trail. One was a flip flopper named Phariel (something like that) and the other was a trail angel who had given him a ride there. After chatting with them, I washed my hands in the bathroom and pushed my cart into the entrance area. In Walmarts I like to break down my resupply by the motorized cart charging area. They get used a lot at Walmart, and so there are almost always empty plugs. I charge my phone and battery pack there and sit in the ground and take my food out of its boxes. I did this today. I’m sure some people are freaked out, but I don’t even notice - I’m in my own world.
After getting my food out of the packaging, i took my old shoes and gave them a rather crude burial in a Walmart trash can. I wished there was a hiker box to put them in just in case, but honestly it’s better that no one try and use them. I really destroyed them, and they smelled horribly. I walked down towards the highway in my new shoes and could immediately notice how much better they felt! There was a WaWa at the intersection and I decided to grab a Reese’s big cup. Why not? After that I walked down to the road. The intersection was a congested mess and not a good place to hitch, so I walked the mile and change back to the trail. At the trailhead someone had put a little painted rock that said “If it went perfect, it wouldn’t be an adventure.” So true! I loved this - it’s a good reminder for me at any point in time really. I’m out here to adventure! I had just enough time to make it to the first shelter out of town. Froggy and Shake and Bake were there, as well as the Cool Cats. Cody Coyote came as well, but then later decided to keep walking. There was a big group of people camped near the shelter with some kind of flag. Later at night I heard some kind of weird incantation-like singing. I was grateful for a dry day and to be in new shoes, and to have space at the shelter since it would rain that night.
#1 - Edwin, I definitely prefer my tent over shelters. I’d much rather have the privacy and mouse-free comfort of my tent. But, when it’s wet, packing up a wet tent isn’t ideal, and if it’s wet multiple days in a row, water gets inside and everything in the tent is kind of in this perpetual moist state. So, unless I know i can dry it out the next day, I might opt for a shelter. Shelters are also convenient as there is less to set up. I can get out quicker in the mornings. There are many downsides to shelters though - other people, snoring, mice, porcupines, and generally needing to be more cognizant of other people. I think I had a past entry on nightly routine. I’ve talked a bit about gear along the way as well. Maybe I’ll address it more later, but right now my gear is at a steady state since I wrote about changing my pack out in Pearisburg. I love the new pack and the sleeping pad! Thanks for reading!