Rocksylvania… One Step at a Time

Hamburg, Pennsylvania 

Rocksylvania is fully living up to its reputation.  There are times when I just want to walk and the trail insists I be a bit more reflective about where I put my feet than I really want. It feels like I’m walking on miles and miles of ancient stone axe heads.  I want to be burning miles, but I can’t race through the rocky patches. Thank God my ankles are virtually unsprainable, but still I’m ready for a zero.

Lumpy bits

Frustration with the rocks added to the normal stress of hauling a pack 12 to 16 miles a day brings out the demons.  Last year I completed two 500+ mile section hikes. This year’s section will be more than twice that long.  Any time you start out to do something beyond the scale of anything you have done before, it is natural to question whether or not you’re up to it. We should admit it…thru hiking is hard.  For me the awesome healing powers of a zero day helps hold the demons at bay, but zeros also serve to divide the larger task into more manageable chunks.  I’ve walked about 200 miles of my current section hike.  I’ve taken scads of 200 mile hikes.  Tomorrow, I will simply start another one.  I’ll repeat this until I summit Katahdin.


Canola growing outside of Boiling Springs

Yellow flowers bloom
Blanketing the rolling hills
Sweet smells overwhelm 

Sometimes you just have to write an haiku!

I left Boiling Springs after an incredible breakfast at Cafe 101.  This section is incredibly easy.  I took an easy day to Carlisle anyway.  Then to the Cove Mountain Shelter the next day leaving only a short walk into Duncannon.  As I walked into town, I talked with Storyteller, another geezer finishing his thru hike.  We shared our plans for town.  I was planning to stay at the Red Carpet Inn; he was heading for the Doyle.  I suspect both of us convinced the other to change plans.  I ended up heading for the Doyle.  What brought me around is my quest for a trail family.  Beers and burgers at the Doyle bonding with other thru hikers seemed like a good way to spend an evening.  While Storyteller wasn’t there, I caught up with Smitty and Foghat.  Words of warning… if you don’t clean your plate at the Doyle, they call you names…names like day hiker!  The food and company were first rate and when I shared that I had donated to their gofundme campaign, Vickey (one of the owners) came from behind the bar to give me a hug.  Tradition is important and while the accommodations at the Doyle are somewhat spartan, the place is an important Appalachian Trail landmark and the food is great.


The view toward Duncannon from Hawk Rock


The infamous Doyle

Should I mention how much I hate full foodbag day?

I left Duncannon with six days of food for the haul to Hamburg.  My trail legs are coming back, but they aren’t there yet.  Highlights of this section include meeting yet another Trek blogger, Bethany Varner.  She’s hauling ass and I’m unlikely to ever see her again.  She will be remembered for ordering a full stack of pancakes at the breakfast place across the street from the Doyle.  (A full stack there is enough to keep a small town like Duncannon fed for a week!)  Being unable to finish them at the restaurant, she hauled two pancakes up to the Peters Mountain Shelter and ate them most with peanut butter and jelly for dinner. Hiker hunger is real, people!  When a storm threatened, I stayed in the 501 Shelter.  This was almost as fun as beers at the Doyle!


The 501 Shelter

The next day, I had my longest day so far (just over 16 miles) and enjoyed my first trail magic.  I also ran into One Way who had been sick for  couple of days and was walking back to where he left the trail.


Trail Angel, Don taking care of folks!



Big b beauty is found in sweeping vistas…little b beauty is all around you, but you have to look for it


Walking through the clouds


Big b beauty




I have to believe this note was addressed to the hiker trash that crash at the Microhotel in Hamburg

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Comments 1

  • More Whimsy : May 8th

    Glad to see you’re back at it this year. Best wishes for a safe and thoroughly enjoyable hike.


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