July 10th 2018
Hertline campsite – Port Clinton (mile 1218.6)
18.2 miles
Total miles: 1237.6

It was a very warm night, I went flyless and I was still so hot. It probably didn’t help that I was in my sleep clothes and had my sleeping bag, but I don’t sleep well when I’m not in my sleep clothes, so…


At about 1:30am the brightest light was shining into my tent, it was about 1000 Watts. Some dude was sitting by the campfire that we had put out, but he had managed to get roaring again. He was swinging his light around like a search light and eventually I turned mine on and shone it right back at him. He came over and asked us if he had seen his friend. It was a really big guy that we had seen about 3 miles before camp, and he had just made it, so it had taken him about 7 hours to go 3 miles. Peaches ended up telling him his friend was further down the trail and he went off with his incredibly bright light and left the fire raging. Ang got up and put the fire out. 

In the morning we were up and outta there by 7:30am. Ang was just hiking 4 miles to the next road where he would be picked up by his wife, and Dennis the Pug. There was a bit of a climb up to start but it was over fairly quickly and the trail flattened out. The rocks continued to be a pain in the ass and it was mostly those little pointy ones which jump up out of the trail and trip you up. 


At the road Angs wife brought cold drinks and snacks. Another hiker who we had crossed paths with yesterday came by and got some goodies, making it his 7th day in a row of getting trail magic! I drank a doctor pepper, ate the juiciest peach in the world (fruit, are you proud?) and some other snacks. And I got a Gatorade to go. 


We said goodbye to them and carried on up the trail. I don’t know what took over me, maybe it was the power of the peach but I was moving!! I was the slow coach in the back for the morning especially as it was uphill, but I caught up to Peaches and Bryce quickly after stopping to tie my shoes. I walked behind Peaches for a while, but I think she got sick of me being behind her and stood aside to let me past. I took off at a pace I haven’t managed for a while. 


WHY?! This really winds me up!


It was nice. I have spent the last few days feeling so tired and sluggish it was good to move quickly. The rocks didn’t let up. There were a couple of patches of boulders but mostly it was those little pokey rocks. The ones you trip on and roll your ankle on and twist your knees on. Despite the rocks I was still moving. We were getting to a town today so there was no need for a lot of stopping or breaks. We just wanted to get there. I listened to an audiobook which helped. 

I caught up to Bryce and took a tiny break before getting the last 9 miles of the day done. It was all going ok, as ok as can be expected through the rocks, until the last half a mile down off the ridge which was basically a vertical drop with no switch backs. The rocks had been replaced with those tiny pebbles which act like ball bearings. 

I slid and slipped my way down and the pressure on my knees was intense. My feet aren’t really hurting too much from the rocks but my knees and the bit of thigh that joins onto the top of the knee is really sore. Half way down I could hear and see the road right there but it still seemed so far away. I stopped and gave a little roar out into the sky because I was so frustrated with the downhill. But eventually I made it down to the road where Bryce was waiting, and we waited for Peaches. I think she was having some foot pain because of the rocks. 

We walked into Port Clinton, the trail goes right through town, and we took a side trail that would take us to a pavilion where hikers can stay. On the way we passed the barbershop and popped inside. The barbershop is really cool. Frank the barber welcomes in hikers and lets them charge electronics, gives them coffee and lets us fill our water bottles. You can hang out in there as long as you want, and there are a bunch of old blokes in there doing the same thing. Some of them said they spend hours in there. 


One guy heard us talking about how we wanted to go to the next town, Hamburg, which is about 3 miles away so we could resupply and get something to eat. He offered to drive us there. He also offered to wait for us and bring us back but we said we might be some time and that wasn’t fair on him. 


We walked into Walmart but instantly turned around and walked out again when we realised we were starving. A trip to Five Guys sorted that out and we got a burger and fries. My burger was good and I demolished it, but I was absolutely stuffed afterwards. I watched one guy in there eat two burgers (double pattys) in just 5 minutes. Not a hiker. Just a normal guy. Impressive.


After we had been fed we went back to Walmart. It was exceptionally hot today and being in the paved superstore area was unpleasant and I was sweating just standing outside. It was well over 100°F. Thankfully Walmart is air conditioned. I wandered around and bought a load of rubbish for my resupply. I got those guacamole pots again and I also got 3 bags of chips for 2.5 days. I don’t know what I was thinking. The problem with Walmart is that everything is sold in such large quantities. I had to buy a box of 6 cliff bars, but it is nice to pay only $5 for the box when you have been paying $2.30 for a single one in some places! I also got a new toothbrush. What a treat. 

We then had to start the process of hitching back to Port Clinton. As we were walking to a place we thought would be good to hitch, Peaches stuck out her thumb and the first car that passed stopped and picked us up. Excellent. 


We made our way to the pavilion and set up our stuff. The pavilion is big enough that I was able to pitch the inside of my tent inside the pavilion. The others pitched their tents outside because they have trekking pole tents which have to be staked out. We could of all cowboyed but…bugs. Everyday Brian came by and he comes, you guessed it, everyday, to sweep up, take out the trash and fill up the water bottles. What a great guy. 


After trying, and failing to successfully Shoe Goo our shoes back – both Peaches and I have the fronts of our shoes peeling off – we decided to go to the bar in town. It seems there are three things in town. This members only bar, a hotel and a place that serves only breakfast and lunch. I had shoe goo all over my hands and you can just peel it off like you can PVA so that didn’t bode well for sticking to the shoe. 

We had heard a lot about this Fire Station. You have to press the buzzer to be let in and depending on how busy it is, or the mood of the bartender, hikers may or may not be let in. So we gave it a go and we got lucky. Everyone on this town has been super friendly. On our walk down there lots of local residents were saying hello or waving, and we were welcomed into the bar with no problem. The only stipulation was that if we were sat at the bar and a member needed a seat at the bar we had to move to a table. No problem. 

It was happy hour so the beer was $1. One dollar! Even for a dollar I still wasn’t tempted so I got a cider instead, for $2. It was such a cool place. One of the member at the bar has to sign you in and say you are their guest which they all do willingly. We got some snacks and I only had the one drink but Bryce and Peaches put away a few!


Then a wonderful thing happened. Early on in the trail Bryce met one of the volunteers at the Top of Georgia hostel , Tom, who told him he would see him at the pavilion in Port Clinton and he would have a beer with him. Of course Tom was not at the pavilion, but he did walk into the bar! We sat and chatted to Tom until waaay past hiker midnight, and he had some great stories! 


We ended up walking back to the pavilion, which was about half a mile away at about 9:45pm. Tom had come to the bar to tell whoever had set up their tents – Bryce and Peaches – that they had set up in the flood zone and as it might rain tonight they should move their tent. So that’s what they did. And now it’s 11pm. Am I ever going to get 8 hours sleep?! 

But having worked out that I need to do an average of 17.5 miles a day to finish on time I wasn’t worried about an early start tomorrow. It is so warm tonight that I just have my sleep top and shorts on and I am keeping my sleeping bag as far away from me as possible. 

Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 63