6/1 Boiling Springs to Cove Mountain Shelter (21.6 miles)
Today was a good day. The morning was very flat. We were walking through a combination of forest and pretty untamed meadows with grass that was 5 to 6 feet tall. It was tick heaven, but I only found 1 on me and luckily it hadn’t gotten down to business! It started getting very hot and humid by the mid afternoon. We also saw a turkey and its chicks walking along the trail which was cool. The afternoon had a few smaller climbs (>1000 feet) with some nice views of the valley we had walked across. Stitch commented on how it was pretty amazing to think we had walked all the way across the valley. It was one of the first times on the trail where we could see the expansive miles we had hiked across, which was cool.
We got to the shelter and it was totally empty. I think it’s because we are so close to town so most people just did the last 4 miles into it. The bugs have finally started to come out in full force, so we were both in our tents pretty early.
It is weird hiking without Garfield and Bevo, but I am glad Stitch is here to keep me company
6/2 Cove mountain Shelter to Peter’s Mountain Shelter (15 miles)
Stitch and I got off to a later start this morning since we had a short day. After a short hike into Duncannon, PA we enjoyed a second breakfast at the local diner and hung out there for awhile with a couple of people who started a flip flop hike (hiking the entire AT, but starting in the middle) a few weeks ago in West Virginia.
We had a lot of road walking after that to get over highways and rivers. There were some good views, but we are so close to civilization that we heard cars and trains for most of the day. The trail was rocky today, and definitely wore us both out, even though it was a short day. I think the rest of PA is supposed to be like this so that might slow us down.
Stitch took up my role as water filler today when we got to camp, which was awesome since it was a steep (300 steps) descent to it. It was super awesome of her to do that.
There are a bunch of thru hikers staying with us tonight which is fun since we haven’t seen any over the last week.
6/3 Peters Mountain Shelter to tent site (22.7 miles)
We woke up to a foggy morning that reminded me of Virginia. However it was a welcome relief from the heat that we had been having.
The day overall was pretty much more green, but we got to spend time with a couple new people which was nice. We hiked for a few miles with a guy named Soup who has been ahead of us for a long time and I have been following him in the logs. As I do with most new people, I hiked with I got his life story. It is always interesting to hear about different peoples lives.
We finished 18 miles by 2pm and decided to go past the shelter that we had originally planned to stay at. This was definitely the fastest that we have hiked yet mostly because the terrain is really easy (not many Secret Agent units). The trail has been very well maintained and had the coolest bridge yet, which was mostly just a downed tree.
We decided to camp next to the final water source for 9 miles. Recon and Clementine, who we stayed with us at the shelter and we have seen several other times, saw us and decided to join us for the night instead of heading to the next shelter 9 miles away. I will be hiking out with them in the morning since Stitch is going to have dinner with a friend and do a short day. She will catch up the next day in Port Clinton. I am glad we found two more hikers to share a motel room with because it makes it much cheaper.
6/4 Tent site to Stone Creek Cabin (21.8 miles)
Clementine, Recon, and I headed out a little before Stitch since we had a pretty long day ahead of us (she was stopping early to have dinner with a friend). The morning started off with a short steep climb that wore us out more than expected, but we still made pretty good time. During the morning each of us gave out life stories and discussed the most interesting parts of our hike so far.
There were some good views this morning, but most of them were moderately foggy so we couldn’t fully appreciate or capture them. However in the afternoon we were walking through a forest with ferns covering the floor. It was very cool.
When we were 6 miles short of our trail destination we came across a cooler full of trail magic and a note saying that there was a local trail angel who provided meals, laundry, showers, and beds for very low prices ($3 for a bed and $1 for a meal) or work for stay. We were feeling tired and it was supposed to start raining tonight so it seemed to good to pass up. We gave them a call and were told that they are a 10 minute walk down a side trail.
We arrived and were greeted by a very nice man and a flip flopper (thru hiker doing the entire trail, but in large sections). He showed us around his home and then told us about the “ice water challenge” where you jump into the spring fed pond that he built with his son. All three of us did it and it served as a great pre-rinse for our showers. While I waited to shower I rinsed out my socks (it’s amazing how much dirt they accumulate, it took over 20 rinses to get them moderately clean) and helped split wood.
I haven’t come across trail magic like this since Rob Bird in TN. While this guy does charge, the prices are so cheap and he asked very little of the flip flopper who was doing work for stay. It is nice to be reminded of how generous people can be, even if their only relationship to the trail is living near it (rather than a thru hiker or their families). I am looking forward to not feeling super hot and sticky when I sleep tonight.
We are going to have a slightly longer hike in the rain tomorrow into town because of this stop, but I think that we are all glad we decided to stay here.
6/5 Stone Creek Cabin to Port Clinton PA (15.1 miles)
We got off to a little bit later start since we had a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, and sausage. It was definitely worth it the later start.
The day was pretty much the same…high ho it’s off to hike we go… but it was misting or raining for most of the day. The descent into Port Clinton was very steep in nearly formed a right angle on the elevation map. We encountered this fellow along the way .
We hitched a ride from the highway into Hamburg where we had gotten a hotel room. We headed over to Cabelas to get some gear and despite the fact that it was only on the other side of the highway, it was probably about a 1/2 mile walk because of the parking lots. Next thing I know in walks Bevo and Garfield . It was good to see them again. We went to Walmart afterwards, which was another 1/2 mile across more parking lots and other stores. It is amazing how much space these places take up when you need to walk between them. However, a pit stop at at 5 Guys for a late lunch made it worth the extra mile.
It started pouring while we were in Walmart, but we were able to hitch then 3/4 of a mile back to the hotel, which was awesome so we didn’t have to get soaked again. Stitch came back at around 5:30 and we had dinner with a bunch of thru hikers at the hotel.