Halfway Point


halfway gang

Just arrived at the halfway point.  I am looking forward to starting the countdown to Katahdin and trying my hand at eating an entire half-gallon of ice cream but not looking forward to ushering Brodie over the craggly rocks of Pennsylvania.  Passed the Mason Dixon line on the AT which is far from a landmark and is actually located in a sketchy area just north of a terrible park at Penmar.  I was expecting a bit more but I am officially north by now. Tied in with a group of hikers by the names of A Game, Shucka, Mountain Dew, Pigeon, and others who I have been moving along for the past few days.  We have hit a bit of rain on a daily basis over the past week but most of the time it is timed nicely to coincide with me being in my tent and thus protected from its wrath.  The days are overcast and warm and mosquitos have begun surfacing.  I killed one on my leg and the blood splatter must have reached a 5 inch diameter.  It was like crushing a paint ball on my leg.  Bug spray will definitely play a role for the near future.

Starting to hit a bunch of boulder areas which you need to climb over.  Hasn’t gotten out of hand yet but I keep hearing about the treacherous last 1/3 of the Pennsylvania terrain.  I have also been pleasently surprised that the trail has us creeping directly through the center of farm lands.  I have been engulfed by fields of corn, wheat, and soy beans so far and can feel much more coming in the near future.  You cross a ton of roads through Maryland and so far in Pennsylvania and it seems that you are never too far from a small convenience store or restaurant.  It is like an extended Shenandoah National Park.  In successive days I stopped at Taromina’s pizza and had a pizza called the Schwarzennegger (due to its size) and the next day I took part in the half gallon challenge at the Pine Grove Furnace general store.  Now let me tell you something about this.  In the days leading up to this I was sure that my ravenous appetite would allow me to down all this ice cream no problem and even after I began with the first few bites I thought that it would be no problem.  But about half-way through the reality sets in and it becomes much less about enjoyment and it turns into a chore.  The last quarter of ice cream was completely taxing and each bite was agonizing up until the very last one.  I got it done in about 35 minutes but did not enjoy the end.  Afterwards I was frozen in place for the next several hours until I made my way back up into the woods.  You can see the pictures below.  Oh and the halfway point was a pretty nice milestone as well.

Came into Boiling Springs in the afternoon and found out the next legitimate camping spot was another 14 miles since the trail takes you through private farm lands.  So I decided to spend the night here and meet my mom for her final relief appearance just outside of Harrisburg.  Went to the tavern in town and chatted up the bartender with a few fellow hikers.  Had Brodie tied up outside and kept sneaking out to check on him as he is a basket case when he is seperated from me.  One of the times I checked on him I found that he had chewed through the hip belt on my backpack and when I went in to pay my check a fellow diner came in and said that a dog had gone tearing by the window and disappeared into the shrubbery and headed for the main intersection in town which is a busy one.  I ran outside panicked that I would see a dead dog lying in the street but after a few glances around I looked toward the gas station across the street and noticed the shopkeeper inside shooing Brodie out while a bunch of patrons stood and watched.  Apparantly the dog ran into the gas station when the door was opened because he thought that I may be inside.  He was going to turn the town upside down looking for me.  The lesson I learned from this is the next time he is tied up outside an establishment I need to make sure he sees which door I enter into so he can stay close to the building once he gets loose.  Quite a scary moment. The bartender mentioned that there was a house in town with a ‘For Sale’ sign that was friendly to hikers so he mentioned that we could camp in their back yard.  A few of us ventured over there and while it was a bit close to neighbors and a weird situation since nobody currently lived in the house we decided to stay here which wound up being a good idea since storms rolled through all night and we could wait them out underneath the roof of the backporch.

Got up the next morning and met mom and had a wonderful weekend in Enola, PA.  We ventured over to Harrisburg and found a new favorite dive restaurant and beer bar called Al’s which we frequented every day.  Back on the trail tomorrow to face Pennsylvania.


Just past halfway

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