Day 95: Zero Day

Rest is Best

On our past long hikes, Northstar and I found that taking a day off every week works for us. We rest our weary bones and feet, do something different for a day, catch up on chores like laundry and resupply, and get out of the weather. We’ve been trying to do the same thing on the AT.

Usually by mid-day on a zero, I’m itching to hit the trail again. But after getting pounded by the rocks for the last few days, and sapped out by the humidity, I started thinking about a double zero. But the lure of New Jersey is strong, and I’m starting to hear Maine’s siren call. I’ll probably save a double zero for when we really need it.


Pennsylvania wasn’t kind to me. Besides the rocks, the heat and humidity sucked the enthusiasm right out of me. The ticks took Gus off the trail and put Northstar in the urgent care. On the trail, I swatted and swallowed enough gnats to last a lifetime. I battled blisters and chaffing, primarily from being soaked with salty sweat or drenched by rain. Between the smoke, the haze, rain clouds, fog, and the long green tunnel, the views left much to be desired. And the weird bubble of unfriendly hikers in southern Pennsylvania was a trial I hope not to repeat.

The Pennsylvania woods were lovely, deep, and verdant. I’d love to come back and see them in Spring or Fall, and possibly even in winter. And I’d like to get to know the local history and see some of the sights the trail bypasses.

Until that time, I’m happy to put my seventh state behind and move on to number eight.

Enough Already

Thanks for putting up with my grousing and bitterness. Happier days are ahead, I promise. But this is a real story. Not everything resolves in one episode. Some things may never resolve. If I’m crabby one day (or week), that’s how I felt and what it looked like to me at the time. I’ll be better another day. Or I won’t. But its real. I’ve read enough unicorns and rainbows AT blogs. The world doesn’t need another one.

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Comments 8

  • Justin Johnston : Jul 23rd

    I’ve been reading your blog. I have to ask. Why are you getting the cold shoulder from so many hikers?

    • Jon : Jul 26th

      I think I got stuck in a bad bubble for a while. It’s been better lately. I think it might have been either a young vs old (me) thing or that I don’t look like a thru hiker.

  • thetentman : Jul 24th

    Good thing there is ice cream in your future. You need it.

    • Jon : Jul 26th


  • Maddie : Jul 24th

    When it comes to AT blogs, I’ll take warts & all over unicorns & rainbows eight days a week.

    • Jon : Jul 26th

      You’ve come to the right place. Thx!

  • Mike Nixon : Jul 25th

    Too bad your trail name is so established, Unicorn has a nice ring to it. I hope you enjoyed your zero day…very well deserved and needed.

    Stay safe & strong.

    • Jon : Jul 26th



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