"Hike Your Own Hike" is a saying that's thrown around a lot out here on the AT. It's basically a reminder that there are no rules, there is no schedule, you're out here to enjoy yourself, so hike to Maine the way you want to hike to Maine. For NotBad and I, "hiking our own hikes" has taken us in different directions---for the time being. Don't worry, we're in touch almost daily and we plan to reunite soon, but in the meantime, here's the scoop from the last couple weeks of my hike (NotBad's update to follow..)
The trip to D.C. was great. I spent an extra day there and caught the USA-Algeria game at a bar that happened to have quite a few Algerian fans. What an exciting game! We've made it a point, since World Cup started to catch all the USA games, even if it meant hiking a few hours in the morning, catching a ride into town just for the game, and then getting back on trail.
It took us about 2.5 days to do the 42 miles through Maryland, and as soon as we crossed the Mason-Dixon line, into Pennsylvania, we would pass through a park selling $2.00 Hamburgers everyday around lunchtime. Gotta love the North.
We crossed the "true" halfway point (mile 1089.5) just before Pine Grove Furnace State Park, last Tuesday, where we were met by a past thru hiker (LowGear and friend Curt) with trail magic: Buffalo Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Twinkies. Absolutely delicious, but the timing couldn't have been worse, as we were just yards away from the Pine Grove Furnace campstore which features the "Half Gallon Challenge." Open to all thru-hikers, if you can finish a half-gallon of ice cream in one sittng, then you are admitted into the club and recieve the coveted half-gallon club members spoon (pictured below). You better believe I finished, in an hour and 15 minutes. And I'll never do it again.
Arrived in Duncannon, Pennsylvania on July 1st, with the help of "DirtyGirl", a guy who thru hiked in '08. In lieu of hiking the 15 miles into Duncannon, we got a lift and detoured past a Khol's where i was able to replace my dear tennis shoes that had carried me almost 1000 miles cross country. We celebrated (again) at "The Doyle," a hotel built over 100 yrs ago by Anheuser-Busch; now, a must-stop thru-hiker spot where a 22 0z beer costs you 3 bucks.
Found a great vista to catch some fireworks on the night of the 4th. We could see 2 or 3 different towns setting off their displays in the distance.
It's nice to be in Pennsylvania, blueberry and blackberry bushes line the trail, the trees provide a full canopy of shade 99% of the time, there's hardly any elevation change. It is very rocky though---like walking in a creekbed, which isn't so kind to your feet. But you know what they say, "when life gives you rocks... make rock chairs" :
Missing everybody at home! Looking forward to seeing Mary Rachel, Patty and Brian in the next couple weeks(and a tour New York and Boston!) And NotBad, I'll see you soon!!