Week 12 on the AT – Listening to Your Body

Hello Friends! How does one listen to their body? In regular life it is easy to ignore our intuition when it comes to what our bodies really need. We seek out pleasure and avoid pain. Sometimes we cause ourselves pain seeking out pleasure. The same thing happens on the trail.

Old mileage, same principle.

Day 77

Mile 1067.1 – Zero Day Stay Hostel

It rained quite a bit all night long. We even heard the sound of falling limbs from trees, which is not uncommon after a lot of rain. It is a sound that we had not heard in quite some time.

I felt very tired, and All Day was tired too, but we got up, packed our things and headed north, as we do.

We decided that we needed to get off trail for a day to recover a bit.

It is difficult to “listen to your body,” especially when your body is willing walk every day. Breaks are important and we’ve decided to take more breaks over the next few weeks to avoid emotional upsets and take better care of ourselves general.

We reserved a room at a hostel 18 miles ahead and bucked up to get there. The terrain was okay until large rocks coming down into Pen-Mar Park, right next to the hostel. We saw someone we like to talk to, so we went over to say hi, and there was trail magic!

A couple had listened to a speaker at their church talk about their experience on the Appalachian Trail last year. Something that fascinated them was trail magic and so they decided to put some on. They had spent a lot of time deciding where they wanted to hold their trail magic and discovered this nice pavilion. Perfect on this rainy day. They had meatless chili, fruits and vegetables all cut up in individual baggies, along with chips and even ice cream.

We enjoyed our time there, and they had seen about 30 hikers come through, which was the amount they had planned for. Just as we were about to leave, another hiker came in very tired and exhausted from her day. The trail magic was just what she needed.

We headed over to Zero Day Hostel, which was a block away from the park and perfect for us. We have a private room that’s very clean and there is plenty of hiker space but with that bit of privacy that makes it even better.

We showered and did laundry before bed. Just knowing that we have tomorrow off to rest, dry our gear, and resupply feels good.

Rock maze in PA.

Day 78

Mile 1067.1 – Zero Day Stay Hostel

We were so happy to begin our zero day that we woke up before 6:00 a.m. After cooking the breakfast provided by the hostel of waffles, eggs, and coffee, we hung up our tent to dry in the yard and had Hoodie, the owner, give us a ride to the Walmart. It was a very nice Walmart in Pennsylvania, right across the border from where we were staying in Maryland.

We procured a variety of items, including resupply, and the fixings to make two different meals over the course of the day.

At the hostel, we relaxed and enjoyed cooking and conversing with other hikers and Hoodie, who really wants his new hostel to meet the needs of hikers. But we found it to be quite adequate and it is our favorite hostel so far.

We made a coconut curry soup, vegetable heavy, of course, and a pasta bake, which was also vegetable heavy. It was fun to share our cooking with other people.

We relaxed in our room and went to bed at a reasonable hour.

Green tunnel.

Day 79

Mile 1082.2 – campsite at the top of Rocky Top Shelter.

We woke up before six and enjoyed our breakfast complete with leftover vegetables from our shopping trip. We got ready for our day and left around 8:00 or so.

Before we knew it, we were in Pennsylvania!

It’s nice to be in our home state, even though we are still all the way across the state from our home.

Water is tricky again, but there was a park about seven miles from where we stayed that we were able to get water at. There was trail magic there also. Since we had very full food bags, we just wanted to hang out. Several other hikers stopped by, even one that we hadn’t seen since the beginning of our trip. He said that he walks fast and hikes slow because he goes on lots of side trips. This seems common for the faster hikers that we run into from time to time.

The terrain was relatively flat and not terribly rocky. We had to push ourselves forward to our next water source, a spring that was a bit down the hill by a shelter. We decided to camp here for the night on top of the hill. Maybe there will be a gentle breeze.

We decided to give ourselves lower daily mile goals in order to continue our physical and mental restoration project.

Both of us have hurting feet and it’s important to feel well rested, especially with rising temperatures.

It’s nice to lie down and look up at the canopy.

Day 80

Mile 1105 – Ironmasters Mansion Hostel

Today was halfway day!

Things cooled off enough over the course of the evening for us to sleep well. We got up nice and early and had everything packed up and hit the trail before seven.

Just a few miles away we came upon a state park, which was very lovely place to get water, use the restroom, eat breakfast, and throw away trash.

Just a couple miles away from the campground area, there was a beautiful shelter that is well taken care of and has a porch swing and potted plants. We didn’t stay long because we had already had breakfast. But we swing on the porch swing.

The terrain was pretty flat, but definitely enjoyable today with a lot of variation. Evergreens and deciduous forests mix together and there are blueberry bushes. Pine-needles softened the ground.

The blueberries were even ripening in some places, and we were able to get a few handfuls of the delicious fruits.

Our food bags started to lighten up as we continued to eat throughout the day.

There was some trail magic at a cabin, with some former thru-hikers.

We made it to the halfway mark!

Now we can look at an AT map and feel like we’ve made some progress!

We feel very optimistic about the next half. Especially since it doesn’t feel like it will take forever to complete it.

We made it to the shelter prior to Pine Grove Furnace State Park. After having a break and enjoying a little soak of our feet in the water, we decided to push on four more miles to get there for some ice cream and stay at the hostel.

At the general store where they do the half gallon challenge, there were not many good ice cream options, and so we picked a pint they were only two left. A fellow hiker needed the pints to complete their challenge. So All Day they gave it to them and a Trail Angel, who was hanging out there too bought us some ice cream.

As we settled into our room, we felt very fortunate as the thunder began to crash and it rained. Just a little celebration platinum blazing.

Day 81

Mile 1125.4 – campsite

It was fun to awaken in our luxury private room. We were taking our time getting back on trail and went downstairs to sit on the porch. We enjoyed some breakfast and chatted with others.

When the general store opened, we went over and were in luck because the Hershey’s truck was making their ice cream delivery. They had so many flavors. It was amazing and we enjoyed a couple pints.

Meanwhile, a group of hikers came off the trail, excited to do their half gallon challenge before hiking on. What a way to start the day.

We enjoyed chatting and being in the excited half-way energy. Unfortunately, the museum was closed, but the park itself was just lovely.

Our hike was nice and we had a break by a little stream.

We also got to enjoy the rock maze at the top of a couple of hills before we made it to our campsite.

The air was muggy and it was relatively warm. When you walk you create your own breeze. When we made it to our campsite, we put up our tent. Paul hung the bear bag line and I went for the water. Once we were in our tent it began to sprinkle. The rain cooled things off nicely for sleep.

We have several old furnaces in PA.

Day 82

Mile 1137.6 – campsite

We got started at our usual morning time. It didn’t take long to hike the four miles down to Boiling Springs. We walked through several fields of corn and soybeans, but it wasn’t Illinois.

Boiling Springs is a charming town and the little lake is fed by a warm spring. There were many ducks and geese enjoying the water.

In this parklike atmosphere, unfortunately the AT building we had planned to visit was condemned. However, the post office was great and our past selves did a good job preparing our resupply box. Paul also got his Altras (squishy shoes) in preparation for “rockslyvania.”

The 101 cafe had delicious breakfast options. All Day got eggs Benedict florentine and I got jevos rancheros.

We interacted with several hikers and went back to the cafe for lunch.

We considered Boiling Springs a potential nice place to live. Mostly because of the cafe.

Our hike was relatively flat with lots of road crossings. Once we made it to the reliable spring, we called it a day.

The park at Boiling Springs.

Day 83

Mile 1254.2 – Clark’s Ferry Shelter campsite

We didn’t sleep great last night, and another hiker camped next to us was quite restless using his headlamp throughout the night.

We put on our packs and headed north, toward Duncannon. The terrain was rocky and the decent into town was especially so with lots of rock stairs. After 12 miles, we were ready to enjoy the town, which was not as quaint as Boiling Springs.

Kind of Outdoorsy was a great break spot with resupply options and a hiker lounge where you can leave your pack to walk around town. We picked up a camp stove we had shipped ourselves.

Halfway in and summertime, we decide to buy a stove! (Turned out to be a great decision.)

Other hikers we knew were there and we left our packs and went to the pizza place.

We packed out two left over slices, retrieved our packs, and headed to the church hostel, where we enjoyed a shower. It seemed like a great place for hikers.

After an ice cream, we made our way up the road and All Day ran up to the sheetz to get some of our favorite beer to pack out.

We continued our road adventure past the railroad tracks. Up we went into the mountain, where traversing rocks and felt gratitude that it wasn’t raining.

After a challenging few miles, we made it to camp, where we enjoyed our beers and conversed with other hikers.

Traveling onward.


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Comments 2

  • Smitty : Jul 5th

    This is great you are really doin it, if I’m not commenting doesn’t mean I’m not reading. And I wasn’t gonna say anything but yes you look nice with your hair down, you both look great, a beautiful young couple best friends

    • Laura Budde : Jul 10th

      Thanks for enjoying the posts, Smitty!
      We are doing our best to take care of ourselves and a big part of that is continuing to nurture our relationship. It is a different sort of experience on the trail, but very rewarding🤗


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