Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Heat Begins

I achieved my goal for the day, which was not to fall down. Of course, it helped that we didn't have to hike over a lot of wet rocks today either. Today the summer heat finally hit here. We had high humidity as well, but at least it was breezy in the forest the first half of the day. I really don't know what temperature it reached above the forest canopy, but at its hottest today in the woods, it felt like about 90- a very humid and sticky 90.

We only hiked a mile and a half before we found the trail magic that had been advertised at a shelter yesterday. We found an older man in the parking lot with coolers lined up, several tables set up, lots of lawn chairs, and a framed sign on a tree that said 'Trail Magic Here.' He was set up right next to a beautiful clear creek. He also had a large American flag and several small ones. He introduced himself as Webcatcher. He has hiked all of the AT in Pennsylvania.

Two brothers also sat down when we did. They are Tripsalot and Dollar. Tripsalot has hiked the southern half of the AT before - 9 years ago, when he was 14. Now he is finishing the northern half, and his little brother, 15, will hike 100 miles of it with him.

Webcatcher handed us all menus, which he had typed up himself and laminated. Everyone had a choice of entree, drink, dessert, and trail snack. All of the guys had Turkey Club Pasta Salad, deviled eggs, Gatorade, and chocolate cupcakes. As for me, it was a bad day to be allergic to gluten. I ended up with deviled eggs, diced peaches and Pepsi. Somehow, deviled eggs for breakfast just didn't excite me. Webcatcher had made all of the deviled eggs himself. They were delicious!

We did enjoy visiting with him afterwards. We found out that he does this every Wednesday for five weeks in a row. I told him how generous I thought it was, as it was obviously an expensive endeavor. He told me that he had a story about that - that in '09 he had won the Pennsylvania Lottery - he had won half a million dollars! We were happy that he decided to use a part of it on hikers!

He had also written a short story in '09, a historical fiction, called 'The Primrose Promise.'. His real name was Bob Fromme. He said that he discovered hiking very late in life, and just wanted to help the hikers, because he understood how hard it was.

We said our thanks, and hiked on north, climbing gradually for a very long time. We finally stopped for a break, and later for lunch. We were so hot while hiking, but whenever we had breaks, it was actually quite pleasant. At lunch, I noticed a freshly hatched Luna moth hanging in the sun right next to me. He was trying to dry his wings in the sun. It got hotter as the day went on, but we did have a nice breeze all morning. About 3:00, we came to a creek, and could not wait to get in the water. Freezing but refreshing!

We ended up hiking a little over 17 miles for the day, because the trail was so nice and we were making good time, even with the heat. Besides, I kept thinking, the farther north we get, the cooler it gets, so I didn't mind adding more miles We finally ended up at a really nice creek, where we all once again got into the water to cool off before supper.

Camped at 1174.8 miles
- Steady and F100

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