When I was packing my food bag last night, I noticed that I didn't get home with my cereal (love it when that happens, especially when you're on foot!) so first thing, I jumped in the shower, and then walked as fast as I could over to Walmart. It was about a 15 minute walk, but luckily, I had to pass McDonalds - yay! I checked in the hotel lobby on the way down, and their breakfast was totally gluten-based, so I grabbed a quick scrambled eggs, sausage, and hash browns as I went by McDonalds. After grabbing what I needed, I headed back to the hotel, finished packing up my food bag, and we headed down to the lobby to try and find a ride to the trail.
I had struck up a nice conversation with an 80 year old man as I ate at McDonalds, and he would have been happy to take us, but didn't have room.
As we sat in the lobby, we saw GQ comedown to eat. None of us knew that he was still on the trail! Turns out that he and his brother had actually quit and gone home for 10 days, but regretted the decision and came back. It was nice to get caught up with them.
An nice, older man came over and started asking if we were thru-hikers. He was a big fan of the AT, and had seen the Barefoot Sisters speak recently, and had read their books. He told us about a new AT movie that he was about to see. When we mentioned we needed a ride, he jumped at the opportunity to take us. His name was Bill Dean. He asked us our trail names and where we were from. He said we could call him Pennsylvania Bill. He was just the nicest man, and we wished we could have spent more time with him.
He took us to the trail, and we had a really long, hard climb before we got back up on the ridge. We would hit two really nice overlooks today - Pulpit and the Pinnacle. This stretch was known as the nicest views in Pennsylvania, and so as we went, we saw more and more dayhikers. It didn't hurt that the weather was pretty pleasant.
We finally reached the Pulpit, and there was a wonderful view of farmland down below. The fields were laid out like a patchwork quilt. There is a place about 2 miles from here called Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and so there are a lot of bird watchers here also. There are thousands of raptors that migrate through here each year.
We hiked on and soon reached the Pinnacle, which was the best view - once again of beautiful farmland.
We hiked on and hit some easy trail, actually an old dirt road, and visited quite a bit with dayhikers along the way. Once they find out we are thru-hikers, they usually have many questions. We met another hiker headed in the opposite direction, and it turned out that he was from Russia, and had read "A Walk in the Woods," and dreamed of hiking the AT. He moved to the US 4 years ago to work in Philadelphia, and was hiking it a little at a time.
We eventually reached the Eckville Shelter, which is another shelter with a caretaker next door. This one also had a shower, which was awesome - not heated, but still awesome!
I immediately tried out the shower, which actually had a shower head this time. We ended up pitching our tent in the "tent area," where there were 2 section hikers and one thru-hiker camped also. GQ and Maxus were in the shelter, with two other section hikers. We all sat and visited until bed time around a picnic table by the house. We met a thru-hiker from Sugarland, Texas named Fiber 1.
The guys all eventually called in some pizza and had it delivered. The caretaker came out and gave us Freeze Pops for dessert. I felt like I was five again.
Camped at mile 1226.5
- Steady and F100