Monday, July 16, 2007

Pine Grove, PA501 (Mile 1179.2)

After a short eight miles this morning we arrived at PA501 where we are taking the rest of the day off and visiting with Figgy's childhood friend Stacy. She and her husband live closeby and are letting us stay at their family cabin, just 1/2 mile from the trail, with expansive views south over the entire valley.

View of Duncannon from Above

On Saturday morning we made a quick trip through Duncannon. We took a quick gander at the notorious Doyle Hotel which is falling apart but charming in a hiker-trash sort of way. On the third floor we noticed a wanted poster for the legendary "Sled Dog" which requires another journal post altogether. Afterwards we made our way to the Post Office where we picked up some new trail shoes for fresh cushion on the Pennsylvania Rocks.

Pennsylvania View

Yesterday I was buzzed by a rattlesnake and found myself airborne and standing three feet in brush on the right before I was even aware of what happened. He was tucked behind a rock on the left, so I never saw him ahead of time. When I gave him his space and he slowly moved on across the trail I could see that he was a black rattler, over four feet and had recently eaten something quite large. Immediately I felt a deep respect for him, thanked him for giving me such ample warning and Figgy and I moved on with another unforgettable trail moment.

Taking a Break

The trail experience is changing a bit for us. Since Georgia we have had the trail mostly to ourselves with the occasional day hiker or northbound thru-hiker. But just before Boiling Springs we are finding ourselves leapfrogging with several packs of hikers, and have met nearly 40 more NoBos travelling within a few days of us. To be expected, I guess. We're hoping the 4th of July bottleneck will break up shortly and the trail will quiet down a bit.

Figgy and I are feeling like hiking machines these days. Gone are the days of injuries, sore muscles and wondering if we can hike five consecutive 20+ mile days. It's automatic. Our gear is transparent to our experience. Using it is second nature. Our minds are free to soar and we are enjoying ourselves immensely. What an incredible summer.

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