This is just an old post that got shoved into my drafts!:
First of all, a big thank you to my new hiker friend Scott who shuttled me to Port Clinton at 0630 from the 501 parking lot! Another gift from the Trail! He shot this picture as I started.
It was almost straight up for a mile from my start and too early for my body and spirit, but I persevered. I talk to myself a lot out there! That conversation was mostly about going back to bed. Just at the top I found evidence of BEAR ACTIVITY! Cool! 100 more paces and there was another. Yes, in case you were still a skeptic, bears do sh*# in the woods!
Went threw almost 2 miles of burn. I couldn’t figure out how they stopped it! I liked the smell and the Trail was leafless! Made for fast hiking.
I made a personal best 16 miles with a full pack! Then found this campsite, took this picture, and settled in. I cooked and read and slept off and on until 0430. Then my favorite breakfast of hot teriyaki noodles!
A French and Indian War marker later, I’m moving through a cold lifeless section, and BOOM! A 20 foot high Rhododendron! Love those. Great bear hiding spots! I whistled as I walked. Noise they say, make noise.
And evidence that Pennsylvania was alive and well. Rocksylvania! A bit of scrambling and I was finished the 8 miles to my car.
I met and chatted with three very different men on my walk. I am going to start photographing people. Why not? They can say no, right? The people are the stories. I’m kicking myself for not doing this. I have been shy I guess. No more. I am going to find 3 pictures that match the 3 men. First:
Hiker number 1. Kind of old school nice guy. Been coming to the Trail here for years. Spending the night. Really pleasant man. Second:
State of the art gear and clothing. Every hair in place. Knife conspicuously displayed on hip. Out for an “easy” 20 today.
😀 I’m kidding, but you get the idea, right? He had EVERYTHING and he was the nicest man. His first time out. A bit like me a year ago.
He said he went to REI so he could return what he didn’t think he’d use.
This is what I saw on the OUTSIDE of his pack: a rolled up ground pad tied and dangling from the bottom, 1 inflatable air mattress, 1 self-inflating mattress, his tent, and 2 Nalgene bottles.
I wonder what was inside that pack!
I noticed that his shoulder strap was twisted and helped him get it right. His pack was borrowed from a friend. Wouldn’t you buy that first? Maybe a custom one was coming! Ahhh, the right size pack after you know what size it should be. Turns out, he was smarter than I!!!
I reassured him that he would get it and that it would just take practice. He was excited and nervous just like I was and said he had been studying YouTube videos. Also like me.
He will get it. He’s on fire like I was/am. 😀
I told him about the Maryland stretch of the Trail and he said he would go for it. So cool. I got to be a big Trail brother just like the Trail sister I have!
She informed me today that if I need a puffer vest while I’m hiking, that I’m going too slow!!!!!😀 And that compressing the down will eventually ruin it. She was right again.
I said my name was Doug, he removed his perfectly tucked in glove to shake my hand. Sweet man.
I have to stop shaking hands on the Trail. You know why. Hiker hands do all kinds of awful things. I’ll let you think on that one. 😳
Just past shower Steps was this. A 1934 monument to an old hiker, William Spanaman.
This culture surrounding the AT has been around for a long time. Where was I? I was going to fast to see. I’m glad I found it late in life. I have access now to this whole world of walking in the woods. My time is shortish. There’s an inexhaustible supply of Trail knowledge, lore, and experience that I will never be able to absorb.
How cool is that?
2 thoughts on “Port Clinton SOBO to Rt 501”
Hiker fist-bump! =D
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