Before we packed up, I also had to visit the woods, and just as I got done, two birds fell down out of the tree over my head, hitting my arm on the way to the ground! I looked down at them, at first not quite believing what I was seeing, mainly because one was the brightest red/orange color I've ever seen, and the other was a bright lime green color. They were smaller sized birds - a little bit bigger than sparrows, and one had the other in its mouth they were obviously fighting. The colors were so bright, they reminded me of a tropical bird. As soon as they noticed me, they both flew off.
We decided we'd best leave that campsite behind before nature surprised us again.
We hiked north across the footbridge over the beautiful stream we camped by, and passed a few more bridges before comig across a hiker named Ian resting at a shelter. He was having a hard time. He had left Harpers Ferry 10 days before and was struggling. He was hoping to hike to Maine. He told us he had slept under a pavilion at Penn Mar Park to avoid the rain. If that were true, he would have hadro pass us this morning, and we'd been up since 5:30. We didn't quite know what to think about his story. We encouraged him to keep on hiking, and headed north.
Within a few miles, we came upon a nice small park with a ball field and picnic tables. After hiking in the rain yesterday, and more rain last night, we really needed to dry out some things. The sun had come out, and the weather was really nice again - low 70's and low humidity. We decided to make good use of the backstop, and Shadow strung up a clothesline for us to use. We spread out tents and flys and pack covers all over the infield. By the time we finished lunch, everything was dry again!
We hiked on north, very aware that if we hiked 17 miles, we could camp at Caledonia State Park, which had a pool. Spider was especially excited about swimming, and the rest of us thought it would be pretty nice as well. We tried to keep a pretty good pace for the remainder of the afternoon, but on the mountaintops, kept hitting these rock mazes that really slowed us down and wore us out. We took an extra break just to try and recover and keep moving. Allong the way we passed four young hikers who were drying out their gear ona beautiful overlook. They were doing a section of he trail, heading north.
We told them about the park with the pool, and they got pretty excited also. We left before they did, but they would pass us when we'd take breaks. Once, I dropped behind to use the bathroom, and when I passed them, trying to catch up to the guys, they serenaded me with the choruses from 'Eye of aTiger' and 'If I Could Walk 500 Miles.' It was pretty hilarious!
We were really dragging when we made it to the park, but it was only 5:00, and the pool was open til 7. Better yet, the concession stand was open, and if you went swimming after 6, it was free! We ordered burgers and fries, and then hit the pool. It was chilly, but nice. Spider especially enjoyed the water slide. The adults would have been content to just hang our feet in the pool all evening, but we couldn't convince the lifeguards to let us stay.
We persuaded the nice concession stand guy to take us to the store (persuaded him with his favorite beer), and he took us to a little country market which had absolutely none of the things that we normally eat on the trail. The owner was concerned that we were leaving, so we explained why, and he said, "Well, you know, you ARE hiking. You need to make a few concessions.". We didn't really have a response for him, and just left.
Five miles downthe road, we found everything we longed for at a Walmart, and then headed back to camp. It proved to be our worst night of camping so far. There was a busy road nearby that woke us up constantly.
Camped at Caledonia State Park, mile 1076.
- Steady and F100