Quick update this morning before hitting the trail into Duncannon, PA.
Day 10 we hiked into Pine Grove Furnace State Park, home of the half gallon challenge. At the general store you can attempt to eat half a gallon of ice cream for $10. If you succeed you get bragging rights, to sign a log book, and a wooden spoon. I did it for the ice cream, I’m happy to say I succeeded. My poison of choice was cookie dough ice cream for the first 1.5 quarts, and chocolate for the last half quart. It was pretty easy, but then again your body does weird stuff when you burn 5,000 calories a day.
Day 11 was pretty tough. We felt like we were doing way more miles than the guide was telling us we were doing, which was just disheartening all day. Another hiker told us that we’re doing Mountain Miles now, it feels like a lot more than we’re actually going. We also had to go through “Rock mazes” pretty late in the day, which were kind of cool. We enjoyed them, but also we were already pooped from a long day of walking.
The next day we had a short hike into the beautiful town Boiling Springs, where we took a zero the next day. The break was nice, even though we just had one a few days before, but we were actually ahead of schedule for meeting some friends near Lancaster, PA. I still say it was well earned and needed.
Yesterday’s hike was through the Cumberland Valley. There is a no camping ordinance for hikers in the Cumberland Valley, which means it’s a mandatory 14 mile day to the nearest shelter, unless we want to pay for lodging. We knew 14 miles was doable, but would be tough, our highest mileage day so far. Luckily the weather was beautiful, hot and humid but nothing we weren’t used to. And the hike itself was beautiful and flat, through fields and farms. It turned into a very exhausting day but we enjoyed it.
The day ended with quite a bit of climbing to the shelter in a mountain, we were back in the familiar AT terrain of dirt, rocks, and tree roots covering the trail. The view just before the shelter was worth the climb.
We have some more big mile days ahead, but they are at the pace we need to be at to stay on our grand schedule, so hopefully they kick us into shape. It seems to be working so far, I already feel a lot more capable of hiking than I did only a week ago.
Be sure to keep up with the Photo Map tab on the blog, which links to my Flickr account. I try to upload pictures every day. And we’ll keep posting to instagram, it’s a good way to get a few real time updates and pictures.