May 18, 2018
Destination: Peters Mountain Shelter Today's Miles: 11.40
Start Location: The Doyle Hotel in Duncannon Trip Miles: 1159.30
I woke up early at The Doyle with all the intentions of hiking a 29 mile day. There was a shelter 11 miles out of town, and then another 29 out.
When I got up though, my intentions became less sincere. I went to breakfast at Goodies diner across the street. I almost skipped it to get hiking, but it’s hard for Hungry Cat to skip a meal.... I ordered a combo meal that had eggs, sausage, toast and pancakes. I didn’t realize the pancakes were going to be the size of flying saucers! They were covered with glorious butter as well. I had gorged myself yesterday with the food in Duncannon, so for the first time on the trail a meal got the better of me! I could not finish it all. I waddled out of breakfast and slapped my pack on. It was time to hike.
The walk out of Duncannon does not follow the main commercial road that The Doyle is on. The AT follows one street back from The Doyle, which is actually residential. It was kind of nice being away from the traffic and walking through the neighborhood on the way out. The houses were relatively large and reminded me of other small town northeast neighborhoods I’ve seen. Maybe it is the architectural style, or the signs of wear and tear from snow and harsh winters. There’s just kind of a “look” that characterizes these towns, sort of like the trademark craftsman homes in the south. One house actually had a big ceramic bear in the front yard! How ironic that the only bear I’ve seen on the trail has been ceramic and in someone’s yard in Duncannon....
I crossed the Juniata river heading out of town, and then the Susquehanna. They were both swollen and brown from all the rain. Shortly after that, the trail crossed railroad tracks and safely escorted me back into the woods. I hiked along and enjoyed the lack of both rain and heat! There was moisture in the air and it was quite humid, on the verge of raining, and so my weird child-man beard was collecting water droplets like leaves collect the morning dew. On the way up a hill I passed Bama Dog, who I had seen at breakfast. I actually got my first view in PA when I reached Table Rock, as opposed to the fog and mist I had been seeing since entering the state.
I hiked on and the hiking was good solid ridge line terrain. I was grateful that I wasn’t slogging through wet muddy fields again! In fact, I made it to the shelter and everything on me, feet included, was still dry! It was only noon when I reached the shelter. I knew I could make the 18 miles to the next shelter, but also knew that it would be about 8pm by the time I got there. It was supposed to rain today and heavily tonight and tomorrow. The shelter I was at was huge and two stories. I was the first one there. The one 18 miles out was small and rated for 6 people, so at 8pm I’d likely be renting in the rain. I also factored in that I needed to get to Port Clinton on any day other than Sunday because I have a box at that post office. Therefore, I would need a shorter day at some point. So, two plus two equaled six and all the zodiac signs told me to stay, so I stayed. Finishing a hiking day at noon is weird. I spent a lot of time trying not to eat constantly. I chatted with some Flip Floppers, including a lady named Roaming Ambassador from London, and some folks I met in Duncannon (Sandals, Hobbit, Torque). I worked on this journal entry, rather than having to do it after dark!
Bama Dog must have decided to push on. Happy Feet stopped in briefly and pushed on. It made me feel a little wimpy, but hey - I won’t have to pack up a wet tent tomorrow, and I get to chill out a bit at camp. Woohoo!
I’m going to wrap up now and read some. I’m grateful for the time to slow down, and to still be dry. Tomorrow I fully expect to be soaked! That’s ok though - I’m relatively clean and dry now.
#1 - Chris, no zeros planned currently! I don’t like zeros that much. It’s easy to get out of my groove. If I do zero, it is likely to be out of logistical necessity or at a beautiful spot on the trail. For towns, I always try to Nero if I stay and still get in some miles.
#2 - Shawn, I’m sticking with the same shoes, just another pair. My current ones are at end of life! Glad you guys survived Q4!!!