Entering Rocksylvania… Days 6-14

I have news… I have been diagnosed with… Hiker Wobble!


  • Since my last post, I’ve hiked from Fayetteville to Port Clinton, PA
  • My feet hurt
  • Starting from Fayetteville, the towns I have hiked through since my last post include Boiling Springs, Duncannon, and Port Clinton, PA. This is roughly 138 miles!
  • In my last four days on the trial, I was averaging 18.2 miles per day!!!

  • Have started to see reoccurring faces of other thru-hikers such as Raven, Sandman, Trash Panda, Super Chill, Golf Ball, Seeker, White Lightning, Hardcore, Milkman and Chestnut
  • I have had multiple trail names proposed for me… some are in joke such as: Not Yet (because every time I was asked if I have a trail name, I would respond, “not yet”), or Milk Jugs (since apparently my white long legs resemble milk jugs), Pink (for my hat and sun gloves), and lastly variations of “fox” or “foxy” (due to my gators) which I promptly shut down every time
  • Others trail name suggestions were more serious, such as: Geo (I studied Geology in school), Curious George (due to my personality), and JukeBox
  • JukeBox is because, as I am on the trail, I have decided to create a Spotify playlist comprised of songs from the people I meet. To do so, when I meet someone new on the trail, I ask them for a song that holds special meaning to them. Often, I not only get a song, but a story as well. It has been a great to get to know my fellow hikers
  • My feet hurt
  • Trail Magic: Hardcore twisted his ankle and had to leave the trail earlier than he planned, but he then gifted me his resupply box, what a huge piece of trail magic!!!
  • I have sent home two (soon to be three) boxes of items, which has lightened my load to the point that the last time I weighed my backpack, it weighed 30.1 lbs with food! (but not water)
  • I crossed the official halfway mark of the trail (although since I started from HF and not Georgia, it is not my halfway mark)


  • Gear I’ve sent home: I broke (already) and I have mailed home my Bear Vault (I am replacing it with a bear bag that I will hang, my fleece, my full size towel (replaced with a small face wash towel), my sun and winter gloves, and soon… my solar panels (I purchased a second portable charger to replace it)

Trail Story Time

For those who don’t know Pennsylvania is nicknamed Rocksylvania because of its never ending rock fields that huuurrrttt your feet (have I mentioned that already?)

The Rocks start around Duncannon and never stop. Well, they do eventually stop somewhere in New Jersey but you get the point.

Anyway, even though it has been warming up (my 30 degree quilt has been the perfect temperature thus far) I still get cold in the mornings

Eating my standard breakfast of… oatmeal

The One Where I Make it “Halfway”

Between Fayetteville and Duncannon is the official halfway point of the AT. The funny thing is, that because the AT is minutely changed every year (small redirections to the trail due to trees fallen, or environmental issues, etc…), the total distance changes every year. That means there are multiple “halfway points” on the trail (most are located right before Furnace State Park).

The Original halfway marker

At Furnace State Park, the local General Store offers a “Half Gallon Challenge” where hikers get to put their hiker hunger to the test and see if they can eat an entire half gallon of ice cream, in order to commemorate the fact that they have made it halfway. Since I was only just around a week into my hike, I opted for a pint of ice cream. Which was delicious, ad did not make me feel sick the way others who completed the half gallon challenge did.

My pint cleaned out

The One Where I Begin Making Hiker Friends

As I hiked through this part of trail, I saw a couple reoccurring faces of other thru-hikers. We never explicitly hiked together, but often we would end up at the same shelters, night after night. I enjoyed seeing these repeat faces because then we could share stories at night and get to know each other a bit better. One of those repeat faces was Hardcore, a guy who I eventually ended up hiking for almost four days with. Hardcore was the kind of guy who really embraced the attitude of a trail hiker—he really felt impacted by, and thus wanted to give back to, the trail. He never planned on going all the way to Mount Katahdin, he was a section hiker, however his hike did come to a premature end when he twisted his ankle a few days out from Port Clinton. Even with that, he gifted me his extra food so that I could continue on.

Something I have always loved about travel, is how quickly friendships can form. The same is true about thru-hiking. When you’re all in the same boat, it really allows for quick connections to form. That’s how Within a day and a half, I met Milkman and Chestnut and we went from strangers to grabbing lunch at Red Robin, Milkman also someone who started around halfway up the AT) and I watching in awe as Chestnut (a NOBO thru-hiker who started from GA) chowed down on any and all food in his sight.He has, what is lovingly called “hiker hunger”, which is when your body has burned so much calories (often leading to hikers losing tons of weight) you truly can eat literally EVERYTHING. It has not hit me yet (since I am still a newbie to the trail), but I’ve been told that when it does I will be hungry 24/7 and it will never go away. I am excited because I have never before eaten an entire pizza alone and when I get hiker-hunger I plan to use my newfound power to try and do so.

The One Where I Practice Smelling the Roses

For those who have hiked with me before, you know I am a very heads down, get to the top, kind of hiker. I stare at my feet the whole time (so as to avoid tripping), walk really fast, and as a result, often miss the beauty around me. Knowing this is something I do, I tried to practice appreciating my surroundings. And what do you know, I am surrounded by beauty. And the beauty does not only lie in the high, mountain-top view points.  I’ve now walked through rolling fields, and seen these gorgeous flowers all over PA (someone PLEASE tell me what these flowers are! Yes I know I can google but I like the old fashioned method of post-a-blog-and-see-who-is-reading-by-posing-a-question-to-the-audience method).

What are these?!


And lastly, one day I was hiking, headphones in listening to the amazing playlist that you, my friends+family created for me, and I walked past a shack in front of a farm. As I moved further from it, something told me to go back and check it out. That shack turned out to hold a giant refrigerator and freezer with homemade, unpasteurized milk, chocolate milk, and ice cream!!!! It was so cool! Apparently the farm was owned by a Mennonite family and they simply had a cash box out and a list of all the items in the shack with the prices with a sign that sad “we trust you to pay for what you take.”

I placed $3 in the cash box, got a pint of chocolate milk and the best cookies and cream ice cream I have ever eaten in my life.

Moral of the story (I say to myself), is to continue to lift my head up and look around, and to not be afraid to take a pause as I hike. Often, the things I find along the way are far more worth arriving to camp 30 minutes faster.

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Comments 3

  • Gravity : Jun 9th

    The flowers are Mountain Laurels. Enjoy the hike!

  • Mary : Jun 9th

    Agree, the flowers are mountain laurels, Kalia latifolia. Enjoy your hike!


  • Maxine : Jun 16th

    As others have noted — those are mountain laurel. So I’ll an additional tidbit: that is Pennsylvania’s state flower. 🙂


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