PA 443 to PA 501

Molar Man asked, “Are we almost to the road?” “I don’t know; we just came up over that rock pile,” replied the young man with his family. “Rock pile” is not exactly what you want to hear with less than a mile of a 12.8 mile morning hike remaining. As we neared our scheduled meeting with Sweet Tooth and Linda, we met a small army of day hikers, many of them children, on their way to I’m not sure what. We hadn’t really had any views to write home about all day. Still, the single file line of packless people continued. Molar Man and I smiled and said hello to the legion before finally reaching the Kimmel Lookout, the first truly awesome view in quite some time.

For much of the morning the trail had been a continuous stream of various sizes of rocks. More small ones than large slowed our pace at times. Occasionally, however, we still encountered level, gentle terrain. Early in the hike we missed a turn, which resulted in about a quarter mile walk off course. Fortunately Spirit and Steady were parked down the road. Steady appeared from the RV to greet us as “lost hikers.” Retracing our paths for the distance, we found the blaze that had been partially covered with graffiti. We then proceeded to climb over 700 feet. Other than Finder, we saw no thru hikers. We did meet a couple from outside Philadelphia, Cathy and Ken, who asked about our hikes.

After reaching the parking area on PA 501, unfortunately Molar Man and I had to bid each other farewell again. While he wanted to continue for a 22.1 mile day, I was content with 12.8 and a final afternoon with my wife before she flies back to GA tomorrow. Before we drove away, I walked the approximately 100 yards back down the trail with Linda, Sweet Tooth, and Spirit so that they could enjoy the Kimmel Lookout view. Linda then said her goodbyes to the other two ladies at the car before we headed into Pine Grove.

When we reached the outskirts of town near I-81, we stopped for lunch. As we ate I noticed Fatty across the road trying to hitch a ride. I hollered to her that I would take her back to the trail as soon as I finished my sandwich. She came in and joined Linda and me. I mistakenly labeled Fatty a section hiker in yesterday’s entry. The trim, vivacious young lady from Nova Scotia started at Springer four days after I began, yet we saw each other for the first time two days ago. Now living in Alberta, Fatty plans to visit her Nova Scotia home after finishing her hike in Maine.

So Linda and I drove our new friend back to the trail before finding a room for the night. We then scouted out the best route to the airport and just did some driving, enjoying the countryside. Tomorrow will be a little sad. For the first time in almost two weeks I’ll again be hiking alone. I’m losing a wife, a friend, and a car, but the woods await. We never know what tomorrow may bring. For me it will most assuredly be more rocks, but it may also be an introduction to a new hiker who might also become a friend. Whatever the new day may offer, the journey will continue up the Appalachian Trail.

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