The story almost read, “AT THRU HIkER ‘KNOCKED’ FROM TRAIL.” Don’s Brother, an Appalachian Trail thru hiker from Georgia, came close to having his hike suspended today when he ran into a large, overhanging tree limb. Briefly staggering backward, DB commented that he felt his teeth rattle before he regained his composure. Hiking companion, retired dentist Molar Man of Ohio, made no effort to check Don’s Brother’s dental work; however, he did pause long enough to ascertain that there was little chance that a concussion had occurred. For the remainder of the 17.8 mile day, Don’s Brother paid closer attention to his surroundings.
Hitting my head on the tree really wasn’t that big of a deal. There just isn’t that much to write about today. With another early 6:10 start, Molar Man and I managed to complete the hike in just under seven hours. The first full day in Pennsylvania could be described as boring. We climbed a little, descended a little, walked level occasionally, and confronted a couple of sections of “from washing machine to refrigerator size” rocks. Pennsylvania is often referred to as Rocksylvania, so I suppose what we encountered today is a precursor to what lies ahead.
We also crossed a few streams with footbridges. “Footbridge” has become one of my favorite AT words. Every time I hear the sound of distant water, I start wondering whether or not there is a bridge for crossing. Today there were four. There were also some patches of black mud on the trail today. They could be circumvented most of the time, however. And as always it seems, there were several short sections with smaller oddly shaped rocks. The trail offered up some variety. It just wasn’t very interesting.
We passed two locations where two shelters stood side by side. At the Tumbling Run Shelters, pea gravel had been spread to enhance the site’s ambiance. “Two” appeared to be the operative number because there were two picnic tables as well. Molar Man and I took a break there. Fis, the section hiker we met yesterday from Massachusetts, had also stopped for a snack. Other than some day hikers, we didn’t see many folks on the trail today. For the second consecutive day, we saw no other thru hikers. We did, however, meet the Gettig family from Fayetteville, PA out walking three of their dogs. I had never seen Italian Greyhounds before today.
When we reached US 30 and the end of today’s hike, Sweet Tooth was waiting. We drove back to Pine Grove Furnace State Park where I consumed a pint of Butter Pecan ice cream. Then Molar Man drove to scout locations for day after tomorrow. He was also nice enough to drive into Carlisle, where I plan to pick up a rental car after tomorrow’s hike to use while Linda visits. After that we headed to a motel and called it a day.
Indeed it has been a beautiful Sunday. Don might have been sitting on his deck, waiting for a deer to walk up in his back yard on other Sunday afternoons like today. I think he would be happy to know that tomorrow I will reach the true mileage half way point as I return to continue the journey on the Appalachian Trail.