Maryland and the start of Pennsylvania
Back in the north. As you can see from the photo, I’ve left the south. And I’ve been blessed with awesome weather – sunny, not too hot, breezy, and mostly low humidity. But it’s starting to feel like home.
What were you thinking PATC? Let me first say very grateful to the Potomac Appalachian trail club and all that they do to maintain the trails and shelters. Yesterday I passed the PATC volunteer painting white blazes on a section of the trail where it was obvious where the trail went. Earlier in the day, however, I had to go to through a ridiculously rocky section of the trail – called High Rock – just beyond Raven Rock shelter. There were no white blazes to be seen. Now a few times in the last 1000 miles, I’ve wandered off the trail on a side trail, and had to backtrack. But, for the first time, I completely lost the trail. It’s basically a big rock field up there without any white blazes. I end up having to use my Guthook app as well as my compass to find my way back to the trail. Even then, because it’s all rocks, I couldn’t find the actual trail until some other people came along. It was an annoying, and potentially dangerous, waste of 30 minutes. So wouldn’t that be the logical place to put some manpower to work making white blazes?!
And it’s not just me; many of the other hikers I encountered said they also got lost in the same area. There were some tiny orange flags stuck in the ground, but no sign telling you to look for orange flags rather than white blazes. Hikers were just left to figure it out on their own. To add to the confusion, they were also bits of orange flagging tied to various trees that were not on the trail.
Dog bath. I stopped in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania at the Trail of Hope Ministries hostel. Not only did I get a shower, the chance to do some laundry, and dinner of homemade soup and sandwiches, but I also was able to use their hose and dog shampoo to give Boomer a sorely needed bath. He looks much better and I think he feels happy for having a short day and some extra food. We are taking advantage of their offer to slack pack tomorrow.
We are tentng on the lawn because dogs are not permitted indoors at the hostel. But it’s a very nice hostel that I would highly recommend.
Best privy to date was found at the Tumbling Rocks shelter. This privy had an actual full-size working door. The door itself was far enough from the seat so that tall people could sit down and shut the door. The seat was properly attached so that it didn’t slide around when you sat down. The pit was nowhere near full. And there was actually toilet paper and hand sanitizer provided!
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Hand sanitizer … the M.D. in you in showing!