1: Port Clinton to Windsor Furnace Shelter
How many ways are there to say, “today I was absolutely soaked”?
Anna and I woke up and stopped by BoilLine Coffee before we left Danville. The guy who owns it, Jeremy, seems to know everyone who comes in. It’s delightful!
We had a soggy drive to Port Clinton, a soggy hug goodbye, and a soggy start to my hike.
I started the climb out of Port Clinton heading NOBO. It didn’t take long for me to meet my first thru-hiker, Cujo. And I soon met TreeBeard and Buzzcut, too.
I got up on the ridge line and stopped to re-tie my shoes. As the rain soaked my backside on the cold rock I perched on, I considered the situation.
Here I was, finally an engineer, doing the thing I love most in the world. Everything I’ve wanted and worked so hard at for the past five years, all coming together. What an incredible set of circumstances!!
I stopped to say hello to the first orange newt of the season.
And then I checked the map. A 16 mile day would get me to Eckville Shelter. My guide said the caretaker was maybe not super nice. A 6 mile day would get me to Windsor Furnace shelter.
I was cold and drenched and squishing in my shoes and the weather tomorrow looks much better. I could feel my hamstrings and quads tightening, and my foot ached with every crooked rock I stepped on.
I turned at the shelter sign and met JD. JD, Buzzcut, Cujo, TreeBeard, and I all set up in the shelter and started the tedious process of drying out. Zach soon joined us, and the shelter was full. Moss and his dog Disco came up, as did Tai Chi and…Rob? and they set about finding space for their tents.
We skipped into the quick friendship of people who are cold and wet and sleeping next to each other in a 3-walled shelter. The crew are all FlipFloppers and only on week 3 of their hikes.
Around 5, two more men came up. One quickly announced he had no tent. This, my friends, is pure stupidity. I wasn’t going to help him. His friend had a tent (a nice 2 person!) but this dude NEEDED to sleep in the shelter. At some point, we made room for him.
I will help you if you have lost your tent. I will help you if you run out of food or fuel or everything is soaked and you need my jacket. But to not even BRING a tent on the AT this time of year? Nope. My generosity, it appears, has a limit.
I am now (have been since 2pm) snug and warm and dry in my sleeping bag. The rain is still drumming on the tin roof, and the birds have given over to crickets and frogs and soft snores from my new friends.
MVP: dry clothes
LVP: the path to the water was VERY muddy and I went in crocs. Almost died five times. Would not walk again.
2: Windsor Furnace Shelter to Allentown Hiking Club Shelter
It took me forever to fall asleep last night. I finally woke up, unsure when I’d finally drifted off. Hikers were stirring around me, but it wasn’t my time yet.
I mean, it was my time like 15 minutes later. I ate breakfast, joked around some, then finally put on my wet things and headed off.
I stopped for the view at Pulpit Rocks.
I stood on the cliff and, believe it or not, thought about my mother. For weird, random reasons, but I did.
Next up was Pinnacle Rocks.
And then Dan’s Pulpit.
I ran into new friends off and on all morning. Several of us were planning on the 16.5 to Allentown. As the day wore on, I began to regret that.
I saw two snakes and found a tick crawling on me. Snakes don’t bother me but PA is Lyme country, so I was worried about that tick. I put my Permethrin-soaked hat back on and checked every mile to see if ian tiny itch was a tick.
2 miles away and I was hobbling over boulder fields, telling myself I couldn’t tent camp if I wanted to because I had no water. And then realizing exactly how dehydrated I was… I was very dehydrated.
Some of you may recall from my Boiling Sprjngs to Port Clinton section last October that I really struggled with water. PA is all a ridgewalk, and water is few and far between. October was still a drought, so at least I’m not dealing with that now, but I’m going to have to start carrying more than 1 liter up here.
I eventually made it to the shelter. I was going to sleep inside, but decided I needed a break from people. I set up my tent, walked a quarter mile to get water, ate dinner, and then went to my tent to call my mom.
Trip total: 39.3
MVP: trail magic cuties