Trip log, notes and such.
Earlier the day before this, when thirsting for water, I walked down the trail in the early AM to find myself face to pointies with a porkupine the size of a medium jack russell terrier. The quills came out about a foot further. I waved my stick at him, but he seemed uniqely unimpressed. It took a few more seconds of stick waving and loud yelling before he decided to turn and waddle along the trail in front of me, looking for a hasty exit. Me and my walking stick were putting up with no shenanigans.
On running out of water an collapsing, a “Captain Obvious” notation. The only water you find on a ridge-line is the stuff that falls from the sky. When hiking in 85 degree heat, water is EVERYTHING.
Took a day to recover at that Cove Mountain shelter.
Just walked from the Cove Mountain Shelter (near Duncannon, PA) to the town of Marysville. Walk FELT like 20 miles, but it was around 8. When reaching the Cove Mountain Shelter on Saturday Morning, down to the last 4 ounces of water in my bottle (water is everything) I decided the best course of action was to get OFF THE MOUNTAIN! Several things led me to believe this was the best course, among them the following
All the maps I had carefully printed out were either the wrong ones, or missing. Though my laptop battery was slowly dying (well, marginally slower than I thought I was) a quick check of the cached copies I had of those maps led to a stunning collection of red “X” maps. They were gone.
Add that to the fact that I had gotten on the trail very late, and my wheezing cigarette smokers lungs and heavy pack led to a stunning two miles a day. On some sections of the trail with 45 degree climbs, I literally had to stop every 75 feet.
Also, my compass was gone. I have no idea where.
Add that up: No compass, no maps, no water or idea where the next water stop was or the one after that, or the distance between them. Toss in the smoker. I was a stroke victim looking for a place on the trail to keel over and die.
A lawyer and his 13 year old son came through the shelter. I had gotten there quite early in the day (around 11) but after being without water the previous night and stoking out that afternoon, I decided to take a rest day. He let me take a look at his map for a bit, and I figured the smartest thing to do, getting off the mountain-wise was to go straight down, following a minor game trail until it intersected with a logging road on the map.
Dumb, fat bastard. Even a DFB can get lucky, and after an hour of bushwhacking I found the road. Problem was, one end was a dead end and the other took me to the highway. Which was which?
After a good sit down and think, mixed with a bit of reason and logic, I figured it out.
I guessed right.
When I get back to somewhere with good internet access, I’ll update this, but the logging road seemed to be about three miles. Add another mile of bushwhacking to get to it. Now add the distance coming out on Route 11 about a mile and a half before the Subway sandwich shop to the town of Marysville. That is how far I walked today.
I keep fighting the fear, the feeling that I have to rush,rush, rush to get this done. I have to sit for a minute and realize I have a LONG time to figure this all out…the rest of my life. If it takes me three days or three weeks to make it back to Route 1, what is the difference?
A pisser. I now know I have to go BACK into Harrisburg to catch a bus. I’ll look at maps over the next day or so and see if that is smart.
In Marysville, the locals were helpful, at least at the local Dunkies. Coffee drinkers are solid folk. I struck up a conversation with one guy, retired, who makes knives. Another, a retired soldier hauling a truckload of logs to split was especially helpful. I mentioned the fact that I smelled like a deranged goat, and asked if there was a coin-op laundry anywhere nearby.
The saints and mother Mary protect stupid fat hikers. There was one less than a block away.
Somewhere along the multiple dumps of stuff along the trail, I lost one of my t-shirts that I REALLY wanted to keep, one that Curtis gave me. I still have the long sleeve Woody Creek one, but in the madness of dumping stuff I cut myself down to a pair of pants,one pair of shorts (that I’m wearing) two t-shirts, one polo, one hoodie, and three pairs of socks. One windbreaker that is semi-waterproof.
That’s it. I dumped a pantload of food as well, and am pretty sure I still have enough on hand for a week. Even that seems too much. I THINK I might be able to get the day pack inside the frame pack after doing laundry, but I still have to figure a way to keep a water bottle handy.
I still need to jump into the river, even if it is the Susquehana. I stink.
As I’m writing this, I’m also looking at the pretty good burn I got today, and thinking sleeping arrangements might be a quick priority. Eyeballing the Railroad tracks across the street, I saw walking Route 11 that the train seems to come by every 25 minutes or so…too fast to jump. I’m not sure I’m that desperate yet, and even if it IS trespassing, that area beside the tracks looks real tempting, considering the fact that I’m in a town with a mountain on one side and a river on the other. Kind of hard to hide from the local constabulary.
***LATER THAT SAME DAY
I never did jump that train. Pure cussed stubbornness kept me walking. I was too proud to even stick out my thumb. With frequent breaks, on town turned into the next, and just after 10:15 pm, I found myself in Harrisburg. Not quite a record, but I’ll have to go back and check the route. The day totaled out well over 23 miles in 13 hours, with that cursed pack.
I know that time frame is 14 hours. In a town named (Center?) I saw a sign for Subway and stopped for an hour lunch with WiFi. After five days in the mountains eating rice and slim-jims (and some peanut butter) I ate with a gusto that had people at nearby tables looking down to count their fingers.
A word about “Mountain Coffee.” It is obviously an art I have not yet mastered. The batch I brewed up tasted like it came in smuggled next to the coca product in an orifice belonging to Juan Valdez’ donkey.
I mention 10:15 as a specific time for a reason. The bus/train station closed at ten. Now, I’m on sleep/wait mode until the station opens at 6. No WiFi, so I can’t even check my balance to see if there is enough for a ticket on the dirty dog to DC or Roanoake.
Several other observations. Not much feels better on feet that have suffered that indignity that taking off the boots and the socks and walking for a few minutes in the grass. I suppose I should double seal the socks in a bag, as they are no doubt either a potential future bioweapon for sale to some tin-pot third world dictator, or will eventually be more valuable than Curt Shilling’s bloody one. Either way, I’m not sure you could even dunk them in a river without killing all the fish.
A word about generic sportscreme type muscle rub. If you decide to rub down the lower calves, make sure not to hit the front of your legs, particularly if you spent the morning in the puckerbrush wearing shorts, and they look like a rocksalt shotgun wound.
Also, wash up a lot before rubbing your eyes…or any other body parts.
That helpful guy that told me to keep going down route 11 must have been a bit confused. I did, and it turned into an interstate highway numbered 85. By the time I realized it I found myself stuck on it, crossing six lanes of high speed traffic and hiking with hardly a stop until I got off. Strike one, being a pedestrian on an interstate highway, strike two, after dark. Strike three, not even having decent reflectors or a good enough tale to tell the Penn State Cops if they pulled up.
Either way, I got a base on balls. The highway didn’t quite drop me off where he said it would “About three blocks from the Amtrak,” It dumped me about four miles away.
The six gunshots I heard might have quickened my pace a bit on that section of the route. Nothing like being in a strange city and hearing gunfire, and being armed only with a stick that doesn’t even successfully scare a porcupine.
DC was a bust. I never managed to take care of several things I wanted to do there, and ended up at 10pm Monday still awake since 7am Sunday. I booked a ticket to Fredericksburg, a bit further down Rt 1. Perhaps the ghosts of that battlefield will haunt me as the bus rolls in. “Has nobody noticed we have committed ourselves to the same stupidity that put us on the battlefield?”
Yes, I and many others have noticed. That is why I’m trudging through with my pack, hoping to get out of the way before the battle really starts. Andi Parkinson shared the story about the planned rolling truckers strike set to happen in a few days. DC will be a clusterfuck, to be sure. In advance, I bet there will be some incident between a trucker with nothing left to lose, and a state cop with marching orders.
Nothing good will come of this.
Today, I took what I hope was a good picture of the capital dome. A bit of nothing ran through my head as I took it, an unfinished thought. So many have we sent to that dome, themselves convinced of their good intentions. So many still consider themselves people of reason, yet in the eyes of those that sent them have become petty tyrants. That dome seems to focus the intention of tyranny on whomever we send.
Budget is running painfully low. I may set down in Fredericksburg for a bit, checking out the local cleaners to see just what is going on. We’ll see how it goes. May have to try and work up something for David for tomorrow, or spread it around to the rest of the media, “Thoughts While Wandering Through A Closed City”
I’ve not updated this today, rough nite of camping and bad weather ahead. A VERY nice lady and her daughter saw me hinging on the way to get their groceries, bought me a sandwich & soda and stopped on the way and gave me a ride to a truckstop about six MILES down the road.
Budget is running PAINFULLY low. All the busfare and trainfare (as well as regional stuff) pretty mcuh drained my account. If you (or anyone you know) felt like chipping in for the purpose of getting me either closer to or further away from you, there is an EASY way to do it.
go to http://www.greendot.com or a local pharmacy, grocery store or whatnot and get one of the Green Dot Refill cards. Stash some cash on it, then flip it over, scratch the shiny part on the back revealing the numbers. Then, send me a text message to my cell (207-420-6439) and text me the numbers. VIOLA! You’ve just handed me money!