Getting a Hitch with a Pizza Delivery Guy
Bama➡️Baxter Day 109&110
Day 109: 30 miles
This morning we all woke up at the Doyle and packed up to finally leave Duncannon. By 8:00 a.m. we were all situated and ready to begin walking again. The Appalachian Trail goes right through Duncannon, so we enjoyed a bit of road waking to start the day off. Then after a mile or so we got back to regular trail and began a steep climb.
For some reason the climb was the hardest thing that I’ve done in ages. Maybe I didn’t get enough protein in while I was in town, or maybe it was all the rest. But either way I was absolutely huffing on the climb up. Fortunately it only went on for a mile or so but it still kicked my ass.
Up at the top of the climb the trail flattened out and became really cruisy. We continued along for another six miles or so before stopping off to take a break. There wasn’t a great place for us to stop so we decided to hang out by a cluster of big rocks. I laid my zlite right across the trail per usual. Another hiker, Daper Dan, came by and stopped to break with us as well. We met him the other day on trail when we got trail magic from Tycoon. Daper Dan packed out a big bag of strawberries and offered us all some, which was so nice. They tasted absolutely delicious.
Then we all continued on to get another handful of miles in. After we had gone a couple more miles we passed by a trailhead parking area and another hikers mom was there hanging out. We’ve met Paige and her mom a few times over the last week and they’re both really nice. People are calling Paige’s mom “Hibiscus,” so maybe that will stick as a trail name. She gave us all a Gatorade and we talked with her briefly before continuing along.
From there we walked for another mile or so and then ran into 3P once again! He was hanging out by a really nice rocky overlook so we decided to join him there. The views were fantastic so we couldn’t resist hanging out there for a while.
Once we headed out from the overlook, we pushed on for a while longer. I was moving a bit slow and feeling low in energy. It’s easy for me to tell when my body is tired because I notice that I start tripping a lot more. As if I’m not able to lift my feet up as high as usual to get up and over rocks. I wound up tripping on a rock and falling in slow mo onto my hands, but I caught myself pretty well. If I hadn’t been so tired I think I would have been able to catch myself before falling. But I just didn’t have the energy. Luckily though I didn’t get a single mark or scrape because I saved myself with my hands when I fell.
After about five more miles we all stopped off at a spur trail to a water source. It was around 2:00 p.m. at this point and we had gone 18 miles. There we enjoyed lunch and had a nice long break. I ate a bunch of jerky style shorty sausages and felt so much better after. It seems like I’ve been tired all day today just because of lack of protein. At least that’s an easy problem to fix! All I needed was more food.
We enjoyed a nice long break before continuing along. And not a mile later after we got back to walking, we passed a trail head where a guy was set up doing trail magic! The guy goes by the name Twizzler because he gives them out to hikers. He had sodas and water and twizzlers, of course. We all enjoyed a soda and filled up on water before we kept on going. That was an awesome surprise after a long day.
When we left the parking area there was a gradual three-mile climb. But I was surprised just how leisurely it was. The ascent was so well graded that you barely even realized that you were climbing, which was amazing. My energy levels felt so much better after getting lunch and a soda in me. I felt back to my old self! Thank god. I cruised along making great time and wound up going for about seven miles before breaking. When I caught up to Sweet Pea, he was hanging out just off the trail, so I joined him for a bit. We waited for Boosted to catch up and then sat around for a few minutes.
From there we only had five more miles to go for the day. So we set out to finish it up and get to our campsite for the night. While I walked, I zoned out and listened to music. The trail was nice and flat making it easy to make good time.
By around 7:30 p.m. I arrived at our camp site. When we arrived, Squirrel was already set up at the site because he didn’t stop off for a break. Sweet Pea, Boosted, and I joined him and got our tents set up as well. We wound up doing a 30-mile day today, but it actually felt really good. Besides being tired early on in the day I would have to say that the miles came easy. It feels good to do big days on the AT. Hiking bigger days always leaves me feeling really energized, surprisingly.
Once I was all set up, I hung out and made myself some dinner. An hour or so later 3P arrived as well! That kid is so funny and I really like hanging out with him. Then by 9:30 I wound up calling it a night and heading off to my tent.
Day 110: 17.7 miles
This morning I woke up around 6:30 a.m. and it was raining pretty heavily. I decided to sleep in a bit in hopes that the rain would lighten up. And fortunately it did! Once I could hear the rain stopping a bit, I decided to pack up camp pretty quick to try and keep my things dry. The guys did the same and we all got to walking shortly after that. We’re only planning to do a 17-mile day today to a cool shelter so there is really no rush at all.
It rained lightly on us as the morning went on but it wasn’t too bad. To start the day, we pushed about five miles to the next water source before stopping. The trail went past a beaver bog which had entirely flooded the path. So we had to hop along slick wet rocks to the other side where the trail was dry. But my feet didn’t get wet! At the next good water source, I filled up and took a quick break. The rain let up mostly, so I took off my rain gear before continuing along. I was glad that I did too because we had a short climb after our break. For the life of me I cannot do a climb when I’m wearing rain gear. I get way too sweaty and hot.
After a short climb the trail leveled out a bit. The sun came out as well and it was turning into a pretty great day. We continued along for a handful of miles and then planned to stop at an overlook for a nice break. But just before we got to the overlook it began to pour rain again. So I quickly put my rain gear back on and we kept on going. Rather than stopping at the overlook we wound up pushing to the next shelter for our break. That way we could stay dry if the rain kept up.
Just as we got to the shelter, the rain stopped, which was lovely. So when I arrived at the shelter, I was able to lay my gear out to dry for a little while. Boosted, Sweet Pea, Squirrel, 3P, and I took a break at the shelter for a while. But Boosted and Sweet Pea wound up heading a bit quicker than the rest of us because they had a side quest to do. Boosted had a package in town at the post office. So him and Sweet Pea set out so that they could hitch into town, get the package, and then meet us at the shelter that we’ll be staying at tonight.
I stayed for a little while longer at the shelter with Squirrel and 3P before continuing on. There were only four miles remaining to get to the 501 Shelter where we planned to call it a day. It was a great feeling knowing that it was so early and we were almost done for the day. Those last handful of miles really flew by and the terrain was easy. The rain held off as well, so that was great too.
By 4:30 p.m. we made it to the spur for the 501 Shelter and headed over. This shelter is a fully enclosed one and is also close enough to a road that you’re able to order pizza there! That’s why we planned to do a shorter day today. We can lounge indoors at the shelter and have a classic pizza party.
A few other hikers were there when we arrived but there was plenty of room for everyone. The shelter has about six sets of bunk beds that you can set up on to sleep. It’s also incredibly spacious, so realistically, it could probably fit ten more hikers on the ground if need be. There were a couple picnic tables inside and plenty of room for everyone to hang up. Plus, the shelter had some games too! 3P and Squirrel set up to play jenga and we all placed an order for pizza.
Boosted and Sweet Pea were still in town and had stopped off at a bar to grab some food. When we called in pizza, I let them know so that they could walk over to the place. They had the genius idea that they may be able to get a ride over to the shelter from town with the pizza guy. And by god did they do it. The pizza delivery guy let them get into the car when he drove the pizza over, providing them with a ride right back to the trail. I thought that that was pretty legendary.
All of us hung out in the shelter for a while eating food and playing games. 3P and Boosted played battleship which was incredibly entertaining to watch. Then later on in the evening we all called it a night and headed off to bed.
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