Day 91 – It’s Corn!! It Has The Juice!!

Rabbit and I woke up from our stealth location around 8AM. We both somehow escaped unscathed from the leaf litter tick palace we called a ‘camp site.’ We headed back into town to the gas station (now that it was open this time). There was an excellent selection of protein bars (MET-RX and Robert Irvine bars both have 30+ grams of protein each) so we stocked up. We also got some snacks for a day or so and I loitered far too long in the refrigerated ‘soda cave.’

It was going to be another hot day punctuated by walks through fields of corn and in some open and sun-exposed areas. Early in the day we encountered some trail magic and obliged ourselves to the opportunity. Later in the day I did my best scarecrow impression (impressing nobody).

The corn walks and fields were a nice change of scenery and I appreciated the contrast and change from our regularly scheduled green tunnel. Rabbit and I hiked all day together and we’re able to do more catching up.

He mentioned a comment I had made in a previous blog (the ‘main character’ like to reads the content also) about not being a contributing member of society while out here hiking. He brought up a good counter-point about whether or not finishing the trail makes you a better person at the end of the day (or even attempting and failing). The point being that perhaps having even attempted something so challenging, changes you for the better and makes you more able to meaningfully contribute to society at the end of it all. It was an interesting point that I more or less agree with.

We crossed a highway overpass and checked on the map if there were nearby food options (there were). We settled on a quick detour via the road to the nearby Middlesex Diner. They had over 80 different items on the menu but I had settled on my order in the first 10 seconds of looking. Steak and Eggs with a side or French toast. The meal ‘hit the spot’ as they say and we even had room for dessert which was cheesecake for both of us. It was a nice 2 hour detour and respite from the heat.

We realized our next “big” town was Duncannon and was 15 miles away. We could push there today but I was waiting for mail and couldn’t pick it up until the Post Office opened on Monday. It was Saturday. We opted for a short 6 miles into the Darlington Shelter and another short day into Duncannon Sunday, one of the more iconic trail towns on the AT.

The trail meandered along more fields and a winding creek. After another hour or two of hiking we took another break to jump in the creek. I sat and soaked in the stream which was refreshing despite the tepid waters. We pressed on with the final 3 miles to cover to the Darlington shelter.

The shelter was atop an moderate incline (for the valley we were located in) and I made a fire to keep the gnats at bay when we arrived. The humidity has brought out the bugs in full force this last week. I’ve killed at least 3 with my eyelashes as they’ve kamikaze dive-bombed right into my face.

At the shelter, we encountered an individual I’ll seen on a number of occasions this week. I’ll be brief and vague in my description of them (because of HIPAA, jk) but the gist is that they have some issues. Specifically, fairly serious mental health diagnoses and are currently not taking prescribed medications. Personally I don’t care if a person decides to take recommended medications or not (surprising to some considering my profession) but I’ve heard a number of different hikers express their concerns regarding the individual. It leads me to believe they could benefit from prescription treatment but also Cognitively Behavioral Therapy (CBT or “talk therapy”) as well. Insert Rabbit.

Rabbit is a behavioral health Nurse Practitioner. Rabbit preferred to keep this detail to himself but I did see him engage this individual in a very constructive manner. He was able to skillfully de-escalate a conversation and redirect some negative self-talk into more productive alternatives and lines of thought. I sat on the picnic table next to Rabbit like a medical school student in a psychology clerkship, watching a master at work. Rabbit was effortless in his ability effectively disarm the harmful thinking and it as really impressive to watch his craft.

Ultimately the night ended uneventfully. We went to bed as evening rains fell and put out our fire. With the fire out, I was eaten alive by bugs.

Stow away in my pack for day 92 of the Appalachian Trail.

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Comments 2

  • thetentman : Jul 17th

    I remember the hike to Darlington. It was a hot day and there were a ton of flying insects attacking me, from Horse Flies to mosquitos. I also remember that the smells from either side of the valley below smelled like animal crap. It was lovely. And the ROCKS are coming.

    Glad you are having fun.


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