Groove – Days 26 thru 30

One of my friends from home asked on Facebook what I eat on the trail. Pretty simple, anything I can. It takes a lot of effort to not eat tomorrow’s food.

For breakfast I typically have Starbucks instant coffee, breakfast essentials, and peanut butter mixed together.

3 Lara bars for snacks, this will be increasing to 4 at the next resupply.

Lunch is typically a peanut butter wrap, a cheddar cheese wrap, and some trail mix or dried fruit.

Dinner is typically ramen with tuna and peanut butter. Occasionally I will have red beans and rice with cheddar cheese and Fritos. Mexicali Rose instant beans are hard to find on the East coast. The minimum order size from Amazon is a bit to big.

Lots of peanut butter.

Day 26 – Quarry Gap Shelters to James Fry Shelter

Big day. I got my trail name this morning. In my last post I mentioned the three that were under consideration. The privy at this shelter smells so good. I was taking my time, pretending to read the paper or something. When I walked back down to the shelter my friends started yelling something like “find some luck in that pot, Pot Luck?” I accepted Pot Luck as my trail name. I don’t think I had any choice.

Fine privy at the Quarry Gap Shelters

Today we passed a lot of halfway markers. The distance of the trail changes every year, so the half way point must change too. Typical thru hikers will partake in the half gallon challenge at the Pine Grove Furnace general store. The challenge is to eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. Finishers get a small wooden spoon, the type that comes with the tiny ice creams typically served with an elementary school lunch. The general store was closed, no ice cream for us.

Not sure why it looks like I have a belly in this picture. I can assure you that all excess fat on my body is gone.

We met fellow Trek author Griff at the James Fry Shelter. I was beat when we got there and just wanted to get in the tent and sleep. A couple days later after reading his bio, I really wish I had spent more time talking with him.

All the shelters maintained by the PATC we stayed at or near or visited briefly for a meal are magnificent. Each one has it’s own personality and they are very well maintained. Thank you to all the volunteers.

Got to 400 miles today.

Day 27 – James Fry Shelter to Carlisle Quality Inn

Two Quality Inns in a week. Record for me.

The trail today started introducing some of the rocks Pennsylvania is famous for. Two of the four or five peaks we would summit (these were by no means big peaks) had huge rock “mazes” on them. Merriweather (Ann) loved them. I found them an interesting diversion. These were not two dimensional mazes, there was a lot of up and down too.

Entry to the maze

We had a late lunch at the gazebo in Boiling Springs. Great place, next to a lake, outlets with free power, and good cell service.

While in Boiling Springs, we decided to stay at the Quality Inn in Carlisle. There is no camping in this area and the way the shelters lined up just didn’t work, either not enough miles or way to many. We would hike about 20 miles today and have about the same into Duncannon tomorrow.

Room 1100 is not the room one wants at the Carlisle Quality Inn. I was fine with the sticky carpet and potential blood stains on the wall. Merriweather had different ideas and arranged for a much better room while I was in the shower. Room 2035 was substantially better, it even had modern lamps with USB ports.

Today we started hiking through some beautiful PA fields. It was very different from what we have been seeing and was certainly a nice change.

PA field. They look better in real life and are a pleasant change from the woods.

Day 28 – Carlisle Quality Inn to Doyle Hotel

Hotel hopping. You gotta do what you gotta do.

New shoes and permethrin await at the Doyle. This is an iconic location and every thru hikers should at least have a meal at the Doyle. First we have to get there.

Retired shoes. 450 trail miles, over 500 including some training hikes and trail races.

More field hiking in the morning, then straight up to the ridge. The ridge walk was rolling, nice views every now and then very steep down into Duncannon. My knees were screaming after that descent.

The balcony made a great place to treat all our clothes with permethrin. We took turns watching them dry and taking showers.

Permethrin on the balcony. Note, this is ALL of our clothes, we wandered around in our rain gear the rest of the day.

Dinner was phenomenal at the Doyle. I had the special burger with smelly cheese and asparagus. In hindsight, I should have ordered two sides of asparagus and a dessert. The asparagus portion was appropriate, it was also delicious and I love asparagus.

Most of the asparagus was consumed before the photo was taken.

As we were headed to our room, we met Slide Rule. I had seen his name in some of the shelter logs. He was beat, like I was the other night, so we only said hello.

Day 29 – Doyle Hotel to Tent Site at Horseshoe Trail

There is a very long town walk leaving Duncannon. Coffee is impossible to find at 6 in the morning on this town walk. The traffic along the bridge walk at the end of the town walk, however, will wake one up.

Getting ready for breakfast!

The weather was misty and overcast most of the day. Rain fell for a few hours, hard and long enough to warrant pack covers and rain jackets, but not enough to really get anything wet.

My new shoes are working out great. I ordered half a size bigger and my long toe no longer hits the end of the shoe. The nail on that toe was ruined years ago, so nothing new there.

We passed several SoBo section hikers and one father/daughter NoBo flip flopper. Spoke briefly with them all. The NoBo flip floppers were going to town for a resupply and are doing pretty short days.

Camped near the horseshoe trail. I always thought horseshoes shout be hung the other way.

Today was the type of day I was worried getting bored on. Nope. No real views due to the weather. Not horrible weather but not great either. Kind of a blah day. Hiking in the woods is very therapeutic and I never got bored, actually enjoyed the time to just let my mind wander.

Day 30 – Tent Site at Horseshoe Trail to William Penn Shelter

The rain poured last night. I woke during a lull needing to go the bathroom. As soon as I got my shoes on it started pouring again. Oh well, out into the downpour. I didn’t get nearly as wet as I thought I would.

Today we encountered the first warning sign in FarOut. A beaver dam had flooded the trail. Some hikers going in the other direction said it was very sketchy, others that it was no big deal. I learned that it is better to cross beaver dam in the correct direction rather than the easy direction. Back tracking was pretty difficult.

Easy part of the beaver dam crossing. Climbing up the big log was challenging.

Spring has definitely retreated. A few days ago it was looking like all the trees would leaf out in a couple of days. There is no green to be found anywhere today. The temperature is supposed to be close to freezing tonight, we’ll be sleeping with our water filters again.

There was a family, father, two daughters, and a cousin at the William Penn Shelter when we arrived. Merry Weather (not sure how she likes it spelled) loves seeing young females in the outdoors. She encourages them to live backpacking and camping and tells them about how she fell in love with backpacking at 14 years old.

Tent setup at the William Penn Shelter. Our tent looks tiny next to the shelter, but we have at least 28 square feet of blissful space.

These past 5 days we hiked over 100 miles, averaging over 20 miles per day (100 divided by 5). While I was tired every evening, I think I have found my trail legs and hit a pretty good groove. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next 5 days brings.

Thanks for reading!


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Comments 2

  • Robert Gamber : Apr 26th

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog posts! I’m sure this will be a life altering experience, in a really good way.

    • Pot Luck : Apr 27th

      Thanks Rob. We are having a blast. I’m sure our experience is similar to the bike trips you and Andrea take.

      Mack aka Pot Luck


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