Day 92 – 7-Eleven Slurpee Surprise
We woke up to a damp and foggy haze that hung in the forest outside our shelter. The temperature was cool and felt refreshing. We had an easy 11 miles into Duncannon PA to stay at a free (donation) church hostel.
We hiked the morning with a new friend “BBQ” who we met the night prior at the shelter. From both looks and vibes, he could have been Gavin, (who I met early on in Georgia) if Gavin was another 20 years older. Both good people. We hiked the morning and took a few breaks with BBQ getting to know each other (like Gavin, BBQ is also from NY).
The hiking was short and sweet. On our descent into town found some blackberries that were ripe when red (red blackberries?). BBQ had informed us of these the night prior. We had been seeing them figuring everyone had already eaten the ripe black ones and the reds were not ripe yet. This was a game changer. We gorged on those before gorging more in town (this would become a theme).
We stepped inside the first gas station we came across. Inside was a Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream case and I decided to employ my idea to store ice cream inside my insulted shaker cup (more on that later). I also got a big gulp slurpee and beef sticks. Man I love town days! Rabbit and “Iroh” (another new friend) ate their ice cream immediately. The big gulp slurpee was was one of the best tasting things I’ve had all trail. Definitely a new go-to item. We all walked the downtown after in the general direction of the church.
We arrived at the Assembly of God Hostel around 4PM. It was located in a basement next door to the church and had amazing air conditioning. A number of familiar faces ended up staying with us as well. “Kenny Powers” showed up and we had a chance to get a good one-on-one talk in. Fun fact his name is Kenny Powers because (spoiler alert) he looks like Kenny Powers. The main character in the show ‘Eastbound & Down,’ (also he won a Kenny Powers look-a-like contest once).
Turns out he was also in the Army and lives in Missouri now. One of my former flight medics and good friends lives there now too so I’m going to try and get them to link up. Or at least I’ll see them both for my annual pilgrimage up to visit every year in October. Kenny discussed his ideas for having a formal therapy group for men going through or having had a divorce. Since many in the group have been in that situation, we basically had a therapy session between the group of us outside. It was good vibes all around.
We migrated downtown after for pizza and beer. More hikers filed into town and by the time we got back to the hostel there were roughly 15 people set up for the night. Also at the hostel were “Hot Feet” and “Ruby” who I’ve been trying to catch up with.
Feeling stuffed on pizza and beer I took the time to catch up on some Z’s with a power nap. When I woke up to write this blog I remembered my Ben and Jerry’s. I sipped the milkshake consistency strawberry cheesecake flavor down as I typed away in my notes. I’ll definitely be repeating this strategy in the future.
The recollections of the day spilled from my head, were translated by my fingers, and appeared on the screen (as ice cream kept getting stuck in my beard).
I brushed my teeth and washed my face. As I went back to sleep, I reflected on the turnaround this week. I’m back in a bubble of friendly and familiar faces again. My body is starting to not hurt all over. And I’ve caught the Rabbit. Life is good. Big miles are planned tomorrow.
Until then, stow away in my pack for day 93 of the Appalachian Trail.
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