With a 25.6 mile day on the agenda, Molar Man and I headed up the trail from PA 225 at 5:50. I’m actually beginning to like these early starts. In less than three miles we passed Peters Mountain Shelter. Several tents still stood. It was also apparent that few had roused themselves from their shelter slumber at the early hour. So we hiked on throughout a partly cloudy, pleasant morning until we reached PA 325 where Sweet Tooth and Linda had parked. Even though it was still early, this would be our only rendezvous today.
When we walked up I immediately recognized Pilgrim, who I hadn’t seen since Bears Den. He needed a ride to pick up a package in town, so Sweet Tooth agreed to help the Californian out. Also in the parking lot was Bernie the Whittler. He presented me with a hand carved whistle. Bernie said that he was supporting his wife and her sister on about a 400 mile section hike. Under His Wing and In his Feathers were relaxing in the back of Bernie’s van. Before Molar Man and I continued our hike, thru hiker Finder and section hiker Fatty joined the group. I’m not sure why the trim, blond is using the trail name Fatty. Maybe I’ll find out in days to come.
With 16 miles still to go, Molar Man and I hiked at a steady pace for the duration of the day, finishing just after 4:00. Throughout the afternoon we passed and were passed by a few. Blazer and Lentil hiked by on an uphill grade and quickly disappeared. Pfeiffer, who I had not seen since Daleville, and Calamity Jane also passed us. With gentle terrain except for a few stretches of rocks, it proved to be a good day for big miles. It was a personal best for Molar Man and came within .1 of equalling my longest mileage day.
At one point near the end of today’s hike, we stopped to briefly chat with the four ladies who said they were having some girl time. Pfeiffer, Fatty, Finder, and Calamity Jane appeared to be enjoying their break. We also took a brief respite by a stream where Blazer and Lentil were resting. Molar Man and I then hiked steadily the final four miles to reach PA 72 earlier than we had expected. Right before reaching the road we caught Steady, who planned to hike the additional 1.4 to Swatara Gap.
All in all, today’s hike lacked anything really interesting. The trail intersected with a few other trails, and signs indicated where significant structures had stood in the past. I’m glad I got in the miles, but now I’m even happier that I’m about to take my lovely wife Linda out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. What better way to end another day of the adventure that continues on the Appalachian Trail.