Monday, June 18, 2012

Duncannon, PA, and bidding Shadow and Spider farewell

Today we opted for an early start, about 7 a.m., because Shadow and Spider needed to get to town as early as possible.  We only had 12 miles to go.  They were going to need to eat lunch, and then take a cab to the train station, where they would be heading home.  Their week-long vacation was over, and they had managed to hike the entire section of the AT across Maryland, and finished up the Pennsylvania portion that they were lacking.  They had already hiked the portion north of Duncannon on previous trips.  Impressive!  We were really sad to see them leave.
We knew the trail went right through the middle of Duncannon, Pennsylvania, passing right by the historic Doyle Hotel, a hotel that was famous for catering to hikers.  Shadow and Spider had eaten there before, and bragged on their food.  I had seen pictures of the hotel rooms, and knew we DID NOT want to stay there.  Although it was historic, it was in dire need of renovations. 
We hiked through a bit of farmland again this morning, before entering the woods again and climbed up to the ridgeline.  Once we reached that elevation, we would stay up on the ridgeline the rest of the day, with fairly easy trail, except our guide book warned us that the last 6 miles of trail leading into Duncannon was very rocky.  Ugh.  This usually slowed us way down.  Luckily, the weather was cooperating, and it was very cool, and breezy in the woods.  This always helped everything. 
We met some section hikers along the way who were doing the AT in sections.  There were twin sisters, age 76, and their younger friends, Ron and Vicky.  The twins' trail name is the Trucking Twins.  They were all friends who showbirded together in the Keys, and liked hiking.  The twins also were AT train maintainers, and took care of a 5 mile section down in North Carolina near their home.  They were having a lot of fun together.  After visiting a while, they offered to give us a ride to our hotel (they had a car!) after we all ate at the Doyle. 
We hiked on into Duncannon, and were pleasantly surprised that the rocks were not that bad.  We made really good time.  We were in the Doyle by noon.  When we got there, Yosemite, Kindle and Jaybird were drinking beers at the old-fashioned bar.  They looked pretty happy. 
We all had really great burgers and fries, and soon the Trucking Twins arrived with their friends. 
Shadow and Spider called a cab, and had to leave right after they finished lunch, so they could catch their train.  Just like that, our newest hiking friends were gone.  We sure had a great week hiking and camping with them, and the miles they handled were pretty unbelievable.  They will be very missed!  There was some talk of them possibly hiking with us again later in the summer, so we hope that happens.
After eating, we hiked 2 more miles so we could end up at the parking lot where the twins had left their car.  This 2 miles went right through the neighborhoods of Duncannon.  All of the people in the houses along the street were obviously used to the hikers passing by their front porches, and wished us well along the way.  We passed over a couple of bridges, one a very wide river, called the Susquehanna.  It was really pretty! 
The twins took us back to their hotel, which is close to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where we got a really nice room to spend 2 nights, and a zero day resting.  It's been a really hard week of hiking, and we need the rest.  We found a pizza place close by, and after eating, Keith let us know that they use "the really good cheese," like he was used to growing up in New York.  We are hoping that the further north we get, the better the pizza will get.  The funny thing about this pizza place, is it looked kind of like a beer store on the inside.  Two walls were covered with coolers holding every beer you could imagine, and people kept coming in and out buying beer.  That was new to us.
We left the trail at mile 1142.8

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