Just What I Needed

I have always loved rainy days. There’s just something about the sound of raindrops hitting the windowpane that invites me to cuddle up with a hot beverage and a good book. If I wake up at a hostel and it’s raining there is a very likely chance that I will be staying there another night. I awake to a misty moisty morning at the  Mohican Outdoor Center. I kid myself, pretending I might hike out today but instead, I use the day to drink copious amounts of coffee and relax by the fireplace reading. It helps that two of my friends, The Mad Hatter, and Centaur are here to enjoy the day with. The next morning we hike out in intervals, Centaur leaving first, then myself, followed by The Mad Hatter. I cross the state border into Pennsylvania! 

There is a donation based hostel for hikers at Church of the Mountain. I am pleased that the entire hostel is completely full of hikers! I have hit the “bubble” as we call it. After securing a bunk and getting settled in I head out with a group of hikers to the bakery for treats. The following morning The Mad Hatter’s girlfriend Cherise picks up Centaur and I and the 4 of us go into town for a resupply and coffee. While shopping at Walmart I overhear a girl say, “Her stench is fowl!!” giving me a dirty look. I can only laugh to myself at this. I sweat profusely, daily, with showers and laundry few and far between. A “fowl stench” is unavoidable. I am so excited to recieve my fleece sleeping bag liner. The nights are getting colder, and although my sleeping bag has a rating of 20° F I am often still very cold. The liner adds much needed warmth and comfort. That evening for dinner I treat myself to vegan cuisine from a restaurant called Zen Fusion. They are right up my alley with incense burning, buddha statues, and Tibetan singing bowls. The food is amazing and the owner gifts me with prayer beads to help me on my journey.

 My sleeping pad has a slow leak and I awake every night to a flat pad. I contact the company Fox Outfitters to see if they will help me by replacing it, however they are less than helpful wanting me to mail in my sleeping pad (out of pocket) and they ‘might’ replace it if they decide that it was a manufacturing error. Most companies that stand behind their product with mail you a replacement pad, along with a shipping label to return the product so that they can see what happened and try to improve their product. I decide to cut my losses and lucky for me The Mad Hatter has bought a new sleeping pad so he gifts me his old Sea to Summit one. Unfortunately the R-value (the warmth rating) is a mere .7 which is not enough to keep me warm. Fortunately, Centaur is finishing his thru hike and offers me his Thermarest sleeping pad to layer with the Sea to Summit bringing the R-value up to 3.5. 7 is an ideal R-value for a winter sleeping pad but this combo will do for now. For Halloween, Centaur, Freebird, Dori, and I hike to the road where Mr. Stempe picks us up. Mr. Stempe allows hikers to sleep in his attached garage at his home. He drives us into town to grab food from the general store and I grab a bag of skittles to be festive. We all get nice hot showers and enjoy talking with Mr. Stempe about trail life. In the morning he drops us off back at the trail head. As I’m hiking I notice a dull pain in my hip which gets progressively worse and I realize my hip is out of place again. This happens to me every now and again and has to do with poor posture and stance. I hIke 17 miles with my hip out and it’s incredibly painful. Luckily once I arrive at the shelter Dori is able to help me move it back into place. How lucky am I to have a physical therapist on trail to help me! I am so grateful to now have the knowledge of how to correct this issue as its something I’ve dealt with for years without any help. In the past I would just hobble around miserably until it corrected itself. I climb Pulpit Rock and as I reach the view it begins pouring rain. The view is astounding. I can see off to the North where the sky is clearing up with wispy clouds and follow the storm clouds off to the South with miles of fall foliage all around. 

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