Through the rain, through the pain.

Day 78

We enjoyed a peaceful night but knew the morning would have some issues.  We stopped a little over a mile from our original destination because, well, snakes (nobody wants a snake, poisonous or not, curled up in their sleeping bag with them).  We knew weather was coming in over night and would likely be raining on us in the morning.  We were just going to have to deal with packing up in the rain.

The rain started about 2AM and was predicted to be light most of the day. We stalled in our tent as long as we could, even making our coffee under the vestibule.  However we needed to ensure we had spot in the next shelter tonight because our tent was now soaked.  So we bit the bullet and packed up as efficiently as we could in the rain.  This is our least favorite part of backpacking but it has to be done.

We’re reminded of a hiking creed, slightly altered for a southbounder:

Through the rain

Through the pain

We’re hiking to Georgia

All the way from Maine

We again reflect on the words Poet shared with us back in Monson.  Northeast Pennsylvania is a put your head down and grind section.  That’s what we’re doing today, only thing that can make this section more fun, wet rocks…another challenge added to the AT hiking game!

We crossed over what felt like a mini knife’s edge (a trail leading up to Mt Katadhin completely exposed with very steep jagged rocks). Since solid footing was at a premium, we slowly and carefully crossed over. In between slip sliding down large rocks we saw fogged out views. Thankfully, shortly after this section the trail flatted out and hours later we gradually descended to Eckville Shelter. 19 miles through moderate to heavy rains left us exhausted and completely soaked.

Eckville shelter is unique, essentially an old garage on a former thru-hiker’s property with 6 bunks and plenty of space for camping in the yard.  We came flying in at 4PM, glad to finally get out of the rain.  Sean and Possum are both here too (they too opted not to sleep in the snake shelter and therefore Aldi had extremely wet tents). This shelter also includes a flush toilet, shower, and charging station on the property, all luxuries for thru-hikers!

Rain continued all night.  We’re glad for a dry spot and enjoyed chatting with other thru-hikers.  We can’t wait for a much deserved day in town tomorrow.  It has been a challenging, yet rewarding week.  There have been several new obstacles to overcome on this journey.  It’s amazing to think just a week ago we were in Warwick,  New York.  Since then we have completed over 140 miles, hiking into and out of New Jersey and then into Pennsylvania, not to mention through heavy rain on many of those days! It’s amazing what a person can do when they put their minds to it.

Day 79

With 15 miles to town, we got up and out early.  The miles melted away in the cool morning air.  The terrain was pleasant with only a few super rocky sections.  This time Hayley’s luck ran out and she had her first shell shock moment in a long time.  The morning mists made the rocks very slippery again. One medium sized slanted rock was her downfall and since there is nothing to land on except more rocks it was a painful fall. Thankfully no serious injuries and town can heal most scrapes and bruises.

We cruised into Port Clinton at 12:15PM.  We even impressed ourselves having completed the 15 miles in just over 5 hours. The Cabela’s in Hamburg provides a free shuttle from the pavilion in Port Clinton to Cabela’s at 1:15PM.  This allowed us to check out the fun old fashioned candy store in Port Clinton.  We enjoyed some popcorn and candy while waiting for our ride.

Once in Hamburg, as always, we were overwhelmed with sights, sounds, and smells.  Hamburg is much larger than most trail towns, it has every fast food chain you can think of within walking distance.  There is also a Walmart, Aldi, and gear store (Cabela’s).

We completed some immediate town chores but decided tomorrow we’re going to spend the day completing our resupply.  While waiting for Eric to return with his snacks for our night in our hotel room, Hayley sat outside Aldi eating some cookies on the curb (another great hiker trash moment).  Shortly after Eric returned, a very kind lady offered to give us a ride to the hotel down the road. We were grateful as there is a tough road crossing since this area is so busy.

Once checked into our room we finally dried out our tent, spent time relaxing and of course eating. There is more rain in forecast for the evening which we are relieved is not our problem for tonight.

There is a bar onsite at the hotel and since beer is more challenging to pick up in Pennsylvania we planned to stop in. What we had originally planned for it to be a quick drink on our way to pick up some fast food for dinner but changed our minds once we arrived.  The atmosphere was super friendly and the prices were affordable. The bartender and several parton’s asked us about our hike and offered us some advice for the area. We enjoyed answering their questions and even gave the bartender our instagram handle so she could continue to follow us.  We also spent time planning the next few weeks of our journey.

At 8PM, we walked back to our room.  It’s Monday night…are you ready for some football???? Eric sure is! It’s the first game he gets to watch and he is excited. In the meantime, Hayley finished up the laundry (so nice to have laundry in the hotel) and had a quick chat with her family. We stayed up late and rested easy knowing we had time tomorrow to finish the rest of our chores.

Day 80

We awoke well rested and ready to seize the day! Our first stop was to Starbucks for Hayley’s first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. We’re basic and we know it! The rest of the day was spent finishing drying out our tent, resuppling our food and fuel, replacing broken items and of course eating.  We also picked up a few blaze orange items as hunting season starts.

The hours melted away as they always do when you are in town and we returned to the massive Cabela’s (according the Cabela’s shuttle driver the Hamburg location is known as the Beast Of the East due to their high sales volumn). The store itself really is amazing due to the large displays and decor. We spent our last few minutes charging phones, refilling water and then we were off.

We arrived back at the Port Clinton pavilion and don’t plan to do any miles today. Thru-hikers are allowed to camp at the pavilion so we will give our legs another rest this evening.  It is a very peaceful spot to chill by the river. The temperatures were comfortable and the bugs minimal. Tomorrow we’ll be up bright and early to tackle the ascent out of town with full food bags.


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Comments 3

  • Pinball : Sep 14th

    Great update. Very much enjoying following along. Careful with that 2.5-3.0 pace on wet rocks!

  • Jabez : Sep 14th

    Thanks for update also! Port Clinton I liked in 2019 since my Mom lives in Port Clinton OhIo. Also got meds at Walmart in Hamburg when what thought was cellulitis turned out to me MRSA. Enjoyed 2 days off then back on trail. Ways for u to go but highly recommend Chicasunsets in Franklin NC if works out for you two. Keep on keeping on. Jabez AT2019

  • Terry - "AT Biker" : Sep 17th

    Glad to have met you both on Stony Mountain before you headed out to Duncannon. Hope that you get to stop in at the AT Museum in Pine Grove Furnace.

    I’ll catch up with some of your prior postings and will look forward to catching the rest of your journey to Springer!

    Happy Trails.


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