Day 95 – Cruise-y Does It

Light streamed into the shelter and caught my eyes around 7:00 a.m. Breakfast was made with the help of spare water from Rabbit. The water source at this shelter was 0.3 miles straight downhill into the pits of hell via a set of stairs. Needless to say, I was avoiding this trip at all costs. I had protein powder, oatmeal, and instant breakfast as well as a lemonade energy drink I had packed out. The next water source was seven miles down trail (dice were rolled).

It was a cruise-y day of hiking. We had 18 miles planned to a shelter with a much better water situation. The water was a piped to a trough located a whole ten feet from the shelter. We got started just before 9:00 a.m. (apparently between waking and leaving there was a lot of procrastination). The hike north (it’s always north) was fairly flat and along a ridge line.

At seven miles in, I found our first water resupply location at a gap with a parking lot. I also found Hot Feet and Ratagast getting out of a car to start their day. They both got off trail at this point a day ago to zero in Duncannon, which was where we saw them last. With injuries healed, they were back on the trail to resume hiking.

I started a new audiobook yesterday, “Red Rising,” recommendation courtesy of Hiker Bob. So far, it’s excellent and I’m drawing parallels from “Lord of the Flies” and “Enders Game” (one my all-time favorites). I’m devouring it and am nearly 25% done in just a couple days.

A few updates I’ve forgotten to mention. I promised I’d update you all on my weight as well as my pack weight once I found a scale. My pack weight (including food and water) at the hostel the other day was 26lbs. That’s down from 38lbs when I started in Georgia. My body weight when we arrived at the hostel was 177lbs and when we left the next day 182lbs (please excuse the shameless mirror selfie).

I’ve been doing good so far of keeping my weight up above 170 which is the lower limit I’m comfortable with getting on this thru-hike. Taking as many opportunities to get good meals in town has been key to that strategy. Tomorrow we have plans to hike 18 miles to a cabin where you can get pizza delivered.

Rabbit and I made great time and got near our intended shelter by 5:00 p.m. Rabbit found a huge snakeskin along the way (taller than Rabbit himself). We took 15 minutes to soak our feet in the stream before heading to the shelter. We ran into Hot Feet and Ratagast leaving the shelter that Rabbit and I intended to stay at. They were planning to hike on to a campsite one mile ahead that had good reviews on FarOut (our map app). After a quick snack break at the shelter, we decided to call an audible and check out the campsite as well.

One mile down the trail, we caught up with Hot Feet and Ratagast at the campsite. It was adjacent to a strong stream and they already had a campfire going. We sat around the campfire and ate dinner and talked until well past hiker midnight (9:00 p.m.).

There’s a nearby National Guard unit and we could hear a CH-47 Chinook helicopter doing traffic circles for close to an hour. During my time with aviation units in the Army, it was once described to me that “helicopters do not fly, they beat the air into submission.” The helicopter that this statement rings most true for is the Chinook. It’s basically a bus with two massive rotary blade systems on each end. It’s one of the loudest helicopters you’ll hear and it has a very distinct sound.

I was happy the traffic circles stopped by the time we went to bed. All we could hear at that time was the rush of the nearby stream creating pensive white noise.

Stow away in my pack for day 96 of the Appalachian Trail.



COL Schaber

Hello Sir, thanks for taking your time to mentor the young and feisty Captain I was when you met me. Your perspective, tutelage, and more importantly the time you took to spend with me means more than you know. Giving me the opportunity to help push a research paper through to publication is something I’ll never forget. I hope retirement is treating you well and hope to see you again one day.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 7

  • thetentman : Jul 19th

    I know I have said this before but the pics are awesome. You should give up that Doctor schtick and take up photography. And your writing is not bad either.



    • Derek Witteman : Jul 20th

      I’ll take it under consideration! Glad you’re enjoying the ride

  • Charlotte : Jul 20th

    I’m curious about your feet. At the start of your thru hike didn’t you switch frequently into your sandals? Do you find the miles you’re hiking, as well as the rocky trail, wouldn’t work as effective with sandals ? Your posts have become much more lighthearted now that you caught Rabbit. YAY

    • Derek Witteman : Jul 20th

      I did switch a lot into my Chacos. I actually sent them home with Kristen because they weigh 1lb 6oz so I’m 100% trail runners now. The feet are close to fully recovered from marathon week and we’re taking things slowly over the current terrain. And yeah, I’m not a sad boy anymore that I’m back in my bubble of people haha

  • Mark : Jul 20th

    Really appreciate your updates and your perspective on this hike. I’ve been living vicariously through your words. That changes tomorrow – with 3 of my college buddies, we are doing 6 day section hike on the AT in Virginia (SNP) Ambitious for a bunch of mid-60s guys, but we’ve all been training for it. Enjoy your journey and we will too. BTW, Red Rising was one of my favs – you finish that and will immediately jump for the next two in the trilogy. Be well!

    • Derek Witteman : Jul 20th

      Awesome, have a good time in the Shennies. I’m like 75% done with it in 3 days and am definitely looking forward to the other books! Thanks for following along

  • CB : Jul 20th

    Always the best writing and pics on the AT! I really like the fact that you are acknowledging the important people in your life. How is Rabbit’s weight? He appears just a bit thicker than the snakeskin. Just kidding. But really.


What Do You Think?