July 7th 2018
Boiling Springs – Duncannon (mile 1148.4)
26.1 miles
Total miles: 1167.4


The trains. Oh man the trains. We knew it was close to the railway but we didn’t realise that we would be able to see the lights and the sparks of the tracks as they went by. The trains blared their horns before they passed, as they passed, and after they passed the campsite. It was so loud. 

I think there was one every hour and a half or so. I didn’t feel wonderful when I woke up, I felt like I hadn’t got enough sleep, and  I was still awake early. I ate my leftover cheesecake and as the train passed the smell of the portaloos wafted over and it tasted like I was eating that smell. It really spoilt the cheesecake! We packed up and headed over to Megan’s van to wake her up. We all went over to the cafe and they had coffees and I went to the little store to get a Gatorade and some candy for the day. I ate a cereal bar for breakfast, kindly donated by Megan, but I passed up on the pastries the others got from the cafe. Very odd behaviour. 

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I chugged a Mountain Dew and then we hit the road. There was a small road walk out of town and then the 14 mile flat stretch started. It was marginally cooler today, but definitely not as humid. I think the high was around 26°c. If felt a lot nicer than it has been. 

We thought it might be really exposed as we were walking through cornfields but really we were walking in the wooded areas alongside the cornfields so it was fine. It was a little muddy in places but avoidable. The trail went through a few meadows which were in the sun. 

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I was keeping up with Bryce and Peaches until I had to stop to pee. They were hiking so fast and talking really fast too, probably because of the coffees they had drunk this morning. I on the other hand was struggling. I felt so tired, like I could just close my eyes. I struggled to catch up and I was only able to get to them again when they stopped. I hadn’t slept well but I also wondered whether I had taken an Aleve pm by mistake this morning.

It was a funny morning. We were walking through the woods yet I could hear the sound of traffic, a lawnmower and gunfire. Turns out there was a firing range nearby and we could hear the guns for quite a while. We also walked through farm land where people were out working their farms and spraying their crops and we crossed so many roads. It was a weird one. Then we crossed over the interstate, got a lorry to give us a toot and hiked along some boardwalks and fields until we had made it 10 miles to a farm who provided water for hikers.

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We had a seat on the picnic bench by the barn. I didn’t get any water because I was still good with my Gatorade. We saw a couple of people being dropped off with a cooler and a couple of inflatable tubes and they were just going to spend the afternoon floating down the river in the tubes with a cooler of beer. That looked like a good way to spend a Saturday. 

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Moving on we saw a tiny little bird on the trail and then passed through some large open meadows with loads of wildflowers where I got distracted by bees and butterflies. After a quick break we then tackled the first uphill of the day. Flat walking takes its toll on your body and it’s nice to use some different muscles. I was still feeling really sleepy, not as bad as I did when I left the barn but enough to feel like everything was a struggle. I had spent a lot of the morning eating to try and give myself a sugary boost but nothing seemed to work. I wasn’t even moving that slowly but I felt like I was crawling compared to my friends who were jacked up on caffeine! 

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The climb was nowhere near as bad as I was anticipating. It was over fairly quickly and on the way I made a jokey comment to Bryce that it would be ok as long as I made it to town by 10pm. This is something I do to trick my mind into thinking that we’ve done a great job. I know I’ll be there before 10pm and when I do get there before then I’m like…smashed it…aren’t we doing so well! It keeps your brain positive. Like telling yourself that a climb will be horrendous and then it ends up being ok. 

The next section had a warning about the rocks. The rocks were constant but not too bad. They weren’t boulders, they were host lots of little but uneven rocks which were trip hazards and ankle rolling risks. It slows you down a bit but at least it wasn’t raining!!

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We followed a ridge line for a few miles, along all the rocks, and then we had a descent into Duncannon. The descent was pretty steep and there had been steps created with the rocks so it was a bit easier than just higgledy piggledy rocks but it was still quite brutal on your body. At 25 miles by this point my legs were getting tired and I kept tripping and stumbling. A fall here could spell disaster! 

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We chatted on the way down, a debate about goal setting and mind games, which made the time pass quickly. I had spent about 70% of the day hiking by myself and listening to podcasts so it was nice to have a bit of a chat, plus I wasn’t feeling like I could falls asleep at any moment anymore. 

Reaching the bottom and getting onto the road was so nice. It was nice to not have to walk on the rocks anymore. There is about a mile of road walking to get to the middle of Duncannon. We stopped at the gas station and I got an ice cream. I had so much soda recently that I wasn’t really craving it anymore. I had also had enough of really sweet things, so I got an ice cream. I know! 

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We set off again to try and find the Assembly of God church because the pastor lets hikers sleep in his basement for a donation. It was quite far out of town, but right on the trail so we decided we should go there first, as it was already 6:40pm and make sure we had somewhere to stay before getting food as we were all really hungry. 

The basement is perfect. It smelt wonderful when we arrived! There is a lovely big shower with loads of products and big fluffy towels and wash cloths. There are no beds but people can just set out their mats and sleeping bags on the floor. There is charging, WiFi and chairs. What more could you need!

After showers we decided it was definitely time to go and eat so we walked half a mile back into town to go to the Doyle which is a hiker favourite. The reviews aren’t great. You can stay there for a motel price but apparently it’s full of roaches. We wanted to eat there because it’s a bit of an institution but it shuts at 8pm – on a Saturday night! So maybe for the best we were too late and we went to The Pub down the road. 

I had a Big Al which is a shaved steak sandwich with coleslaw, cheese and fries. The fries were inside the sandwich. And it was really good. Halfway through I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish it but I rallied and made it through. 

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Duncannon is a bit of an odd place. There are some really nice looking places and there are some really run down parts, all jumbled around together. We walked back to the church after dark and it’s not a walk I would want to do by myself. But everyone we had met had been really friendly and nice. 

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It’s late again!! It’s now 11pm and everyone else is asleep I think but I am still up writing. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 60

 

 


 

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