July 13th 2018
Tentsite – field (mile 1288.5)
23.2 miles
Total miles: 1307.5


I woke up at 5 and thought wonderful, I get to go back to sleep. Then I woke again and it was 6:52am. Shit. So I panicked packed up, shoving all my stuff in my bag as quick as I could and I was ready to go in 18 minutes. He others weren’t quite ready yet so I had time to duck into the forest and release the hostages. What came out was basically guacamole which had gone brown. But I slept so well. I had a full 8 hours and other than waking up at 5 I don’t think I woke up at all. 

We had 14 waterless miles to do before hitting a road crossing that would take us to Wind Gap which is only a mile off trail. That is where we would get water and while we were there we might as well get food too! 

The morning flew by and we were hiking really fast. Bryce was put ahead and I was in the middle and Peaches was just behind. We were all separated with enough distance so we could really see each other but I would get a glimpse of Bryce every now and then and know that I wasn’t too far behind. The trail was good. There were a few rocks but nothing that would slow you down. 

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I had the feeling of needing another poo but I was sure I could wait until I got to town. Turns out I couldn’t wait and when I felt like I was about to poo my pants I thought it best to get off the trail and find somewhere appropriate to bury the kids. Which I did and I was glad I did because that guacamole slides out fast. With that taken care of I could hike on but I became overwhelmingly hungry so I grabbed my Stax (Walkers / Lays version of Pringles, which I think are better than Pringles, they are thicker and more structurally sound) and ate them as I was walking along.

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There were still a fair few trips and near misses but it only took 5 hours to do those 14 miles which is nearing a 3 mph pace consistently for 5 hours which is pretty good over terrain with a lot of pointy rocks. The main thing was that it’s totally flat. 

The others were already at the road waiting for me and we decided to try and hitch as we walked. We got picked up straight away by a nice lady who bundled us into the back of her car and dropped us right outside the Cafe on Broadway which was exactly where we wanted to go. 

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The cafe was recommended and it didn’t disappoint. I thought I was starting to put on weight with all this food in Pennsylvania, but when I looked in the mirror I definitely have lost weight so I got a mushroom Swiss burger and a good three refills of Sprite. They were really hiker friendly and filled our water bottles for us. There were 6 or 7 other hikers there too and we watched as they tried to hitch out of town. They didn’t seem to be that successful and most of them started to walk. Once we had finished our food we went down the road to Nannies Ice Cream Creamery and I got a cookies and cream ice cream for dessert. 

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I felt good sat in these air conditioned places and when we went outside I declared it too hot for hiking. It was like someone had turned up the heat. We set about hitching back to the trail and a man named Kevin pulled over straight away and he and his son, Kevin, took us back to the trail head. They have plans to do the trail in 2025. 

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Right on the trail was a man pushing bible verses. No thank you. I though it an odd place to stand and an odd target audience. 

First thing was a climb. Not what you want to do after consuming that much food. But it wasn’t that bad in the end and after that the trail was totally flat, but it was covered in rocks for the next 8 miles. The rock got really tiresome after a while and after 5 miles of walking over rocks I had to sit down and take a break. You have to pick your legs up so much higher. You have to concentrate so much more. You kick and trip on so many rocks. And then there are the ones that rock and move and scare the life out of you. Your feet get so tired from stepping on rock points all the time or slipping between rocks and getting your foot jammed, or nearly snapping your trekking pole when it gets stuck in a crack. 

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Physically it’s not that hard because the trail isn’t going up or down but it’s a whole different type of exhaustion. I was leapfrogging with Peaches and the guy in the pink top who I cannot remember the name of even though I’ve heard it at least 10 times today. We were all tired of the rocks. 

Then came a section of boulders where we had to sit on our bums and slide down some of the rocks because they were big drops. And then it quickly went back to little pointy rocks again. We got a slight reprieve for about 200 yards when the trail joined an old forest road, only to go back to pointy rocks again. 

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Finally the trail came out onto a road crossing and I could see a large gathering of hikers. Trail magic. A guy hiking, called Santiago, was being collected by Santiago’s wife and she brought with her beer and soda and wine and snacks and boxes of mountain house dinners. I got a root beer and a lemon soda and I would have had some mountain houses had I still been carrying a stove, but there was no way I am going to eat them cold. We could also fill up our water there so we didn’t have to use the spigot at the shelter because apparently that had a metallic taste to it. 

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There must have been about 10 hikers there. We hung out there for a bit and then got the last mile to the shelter over and done with. Thankfully it was not as rocky as the last section and we hiked together and chatted and we were at the camp spot before we knew it. 

And what a great camp spot it was. An open flat grassy area with a great view and the promise of a great sunrise in the morning. It seem a lot of other people had heard about this spot because there are a whole bunch of us here tonight. I estimate around 14 people. 

It’s been a really nice evening. I’ve gotten to know a few more people and we sat overlooking life going on below us, houses and people driving their cars, and we watched the planes fly high above us (there were a lot of planes) and there we were, just a random bunch of strangers sitting on a hillside together.

I called for a group photo which everyone was up for and then spend an age airdropping it to everyone!

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As it got dark we moved to sit around the fire one of the guys had built and continued our chatting and storytelling. The sky is clear and the start are out and the fireflies are doing their little dance. It’s been such a nice night. It’s warm and I’ve not got the fly on my tent so I can see the sky. There is too much light pollution to have a really good sky but it’s good enough for tonight, usually I’m staring up at trees. 

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The alarm is set for sunrise. It’s 10:30pm now and I need to sleep!!


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 66

 

 


 

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