July 8th 2018
Duncannon – Yellow Springs campsite (mile 1172.7)
24.3 miles
Total miles: 1191.7


I slept surprisingly well given how many people were in the basement. It was nice and dark and the temperature was such that it was nice to get cosy in the sleeping bag. Getting up was a bit of a struggle. My body has been really sore these last few days and my feet are hurting. It is a real struggle to put my feet flat on the floor in the morning and my hiker hobble seems to be a lot more pronounced than most peoples. 

It always surprises me how I can go from barely being able to put my feet on the floor and feeling like every bone in my legs and feet has been broken to walking around normally within the space of about 5 minutes. The body is an incredible thing. 

There was peach pie in the fridge and people were getting stuck into that for breakfast so I got stuck in too. The trail also provided for me today. We didn’t get the chance to go to the supermarket which was about a mile out of town and I was almost out of toothpaste. I look in the hiker box and there is a tube of toothpaste. I took it. 

We should have got an earlier start than we did but after a fair bit of faffing about we left at 7:40am. It was surprisingly cool out at around 16°C. It made a pleasant change from sweating as soon as I set foot on the trail. The trail follows the road right through Duncannon and across a bridge where we went 0.2 off the trail to get to a gas station with a subway. We had obviously found the less salubrious part of town when we walked past a 24 hour massage house, a gentleman’s club called Castaways and a billboard which said ‘lust drags you down to HELL’ right next door. At least we now know why Subway is open 24hours. 

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So I needed to resupply for three days, two and a half really. I had left over 3 Twix bars, 1 cliff bar, 2 quarter bags of crisps and some goldfish. So I got three more Twix, a belvita breakfast bar and some candy. Plus a Gatorade to pack out. Then I went to the Subway and ordered two footlong a to get me through today and tomorrow. A chicken one for today and a steak and cheese for tomorrow. You have to be careful what you put on the one you’re going to make last, so no cucumbers or tomatoes or anything soggy, so I went for loads of spinach (and she was good she did put loads of spinach on) and some green peppers. 

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The downside of carrying 2 feet of sandwiches is they are really heavy. My pack hasn’t been this heavy for ages! We ended up leaving at 9am which was pushing it for the miles we wanted to do today. Bryce and Peaches have been hiking together for a while but I seem to have joined in and everything is referred to as ‘we’ and everyone waits for each other. It’s nice but I don’t know how long that’s going to last and that makes me a bit sad. 

We cross over the next bridge which has so many spiders webs and so many spiders on the webs. It’s kinda gross! After crossing the railway the trail then goes uphill back into the trees. Reach a town. Ascend out of town. That’s how it goes. 

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I took it slowly. That was all I could do. My body will do its thing and no more. I was awkwardly sandwiched between a couple of day hikers for a while, but when the rocks got a bit more intense I left them behind. The rocks were big scrambly rocks, no warning about these rocks though. I feel like yesterday’s rock warning would have been better placed here! 

I hiked alone for a bit and then sometimes with the other two and then back to being on my own and then with the other two. It went like that for most of the day. We sat and had a couple of breaks together. Our subway sandwiches (they bought them too) were burning holes in our minds and we ended up having an early 11:30 lunch so we could stop thinking about them constantly. We were leapfrogging around with a couple of other hikers who were staying at the church. 

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Other than a little bit of a view and a dung beetle there isn’t much to report about the afternoon. I was getting some pain in the arch of my right foot which was causing a pain on the inside of my right ankle, so I stopped to put the insole of my shoe back in. These shoes have been so unsuccessful. They are causing me problems everyday. Both of the toe guards are now flaps which isn’t helpful for crossing rocks. The trail was rocky but not big rocks. Just those little ones which are enough to slow you down and trip you up. 

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I was feeling a bit broken. The trail was mostly flat, following a ridge with very little variation and I was zoning out a bit on the monotony. I tried to listen to an audiobook to keep my mind focussed and it just about worked. 

That’s when the trail magic arrived at exactly the right time. There was still 7 miles to go to get to our chosen camp spot and it was 4:30pm. We crossed the road and a lady in a car said ‘we have food and drink, we are just moving to the shade’. Yes! It was two hikers, Toasty and I can’t remember the guys name, and the guys mother. They had all sorts of wonderful hiker snacks and they encouraged us to take things with us. 

I had two cokes, two mini Pringles tubs, a chocolate chip cookie, a handful of malteasers and some candy. I took some fruit snacks and candy with me for the journey. There were a whole bunch of other hikers there and we stayed for a while and ate and drank and chatted. We considered just ending the day here and camping next to the creek, with the trail magic but we decided to force ourselves to carry on another 7 miles. 

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We left at 5:30pm and we were sent off with ziplocks and pockets bulging with snacks. What an excellent treat! Pennsylvania really has been ridiculous in its abundance of food. I think I might have even put on weight since walking through this state! 

I managed to keep up with Bryce and Peaches for the whole 7 miles and we chatted which made the time pass more quickly. Again it was moderately rocky. It was super exciting when we saw a porcupine on the trail right in front of us. None of us had seen one before. The other two were quite afraid of it but I wanted to get closer to it to get it on camera. Be careful, it can shoot its spines out (it can’t). It’s a funny little thing. It’s got quite a waddle to it! It never really let me get that close to it and eventually it waddled off into the forest. 

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We made it to the campsite by 8pm and I was happy with that. Originally I was happy to set the goal of getting there before it got dark so I was happy to get there a bit earlier than that. I had been told earlier that there was a British couple ahead of me and I had now found them, Fatman and I can’t remember the other name, they seemed like really nice people. We chatted for a while and the other people there had a campfire going because the mosquitoes were bad so they were trying to smoke them out. We all sat around the fire and chatted and had a nice evening. 

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Late to bed again! I think I will just have to resign myself to the fact I will never get an early night on this trail and I will be permanently tired. It’s 10:30pm now and writing this tonight has been a real struggle. All I want to do is close my eyes and go to sleep. 

People say the deer are very active here and there is a lot of rustling in the bushes…


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 61

 

 


 

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