I woke early as the sun was just starting to rise – the roof of The Pavilion is inhabited with sparrows. I laid on the wooden floor and watched as the sparrows darted in and out amongst the rafters, screaming loudly as dawn broke. I finally sat up at around 6:30 and found Champa’s sleeping bag unoccupied. Get Weird was also starting to stir – Black Santa was up as soon as I called his name.
I looked to the other end of The Pavilion – I was surprised to find at least ten other hikers (whom I didn’t know or didn’t know well) still sleeping. Get Weird got word from Champa that the diner up the street was worth the short walk. At 7:30, the three of us set off for the diner – we were immediately stopped by a local and offered a ride up the hill.
We entered the busy diner and found Champa and Savage finishing breakfast – I sat in an adjacent booth with Black Santa and Get Weird and ordered breakfast. It was good – just different. I tried a local “delicacy” that I’m not quite sold on yet.
Black Santa pulled out his AT Guide and started mapping out the day ahead. He made it to the post office yesterday and would be ready to leave town after breakfast – I’d be ready to go too, as soon as the post office opened at 8:30. Black Santa broke the bad news – the post office actually opened at 12:30. I must have overlooked this fact when I mailed my bounce box from Duncannon.
I paid for breakfast and made the short walk back to The Pavilion. Other hikers were starting to wake as it was nearing 8:30. Damn! I really hoped to get an early start out of town. My feet felt okay – better than I assumed they would feel, but still pretty rough. I didn’t need to hitch into Hamburg to visit the Walmart or anything – I had all the food I needed waiting for me in the post office.
So I did what came most naturally – I unfolded my sleeping pad and spread out my sleeping bag. As I started to doze off, Savage, Black Santa, McDoubles and Champa bid a quick farewell – they were heading out at 9:30am and hiking north for a campsite 15 miles up trail.
I fell asleep. I woke up an hour and a half later – Get Weird had just gotten back from Walmart and was starting to organize her food bag . I fell back asleep. She woke me up at 11:45 – I had just enough time to pack up and hike into town before the post office opened. I felt great – I caught up on my sleep and was ready to start hiking. We made it to the post office at 12:30. After I repackaged a quick bounce box and sent it to Delaware Water Gap, Get Weird and I left Port Clinton and started hiking north.
We crossed under the highway (laughing at some on-trail advertising) and made the quick, but rocky ascent, up to the ridge line. I hiked hard – the weather was great (temps in the mid 70s and a nice breeze).
I followed the ridge, hiking strong for the next two hours. After passing Windsor Furnace Shelter, I was given a nice view of the valley below from Pulpit Rock – Get Weird had already hiked ahead. It was 4:00pm and, after a quick snack, I started hiking to meet the rest of the gang eight miles ahead.
Leaving Pulpit Rock, I ran across an eager day hiker who took a unnatural fascination with me and my hike. It was only slightly uncomfortable – I thankfully made it to The Pinnacle two miles up trail and lost my admirer in the weekend crowd. After hiking quickly along a small boulder field, I snapped a few pictures before booking it to camp.
It was nearing 6:00pm and I stil had six miles to hike before reaching camp. Even after my long morning sleeping in The Pavilion, I noticed my feet were, once again, starting to hurt. Thankfully, the trail got surprisingly easy – I followed an old road bed for the next five miles.
After cruising down the wide, rockless trail, I soon found myself in camp. Get Weird was hanging her hammock and the rest of the gang was making dinner and relaxing in natural rock chairs around the fire ring. I quickly pitched my tent and ate dinner as the sun was setting.
I had a good time joking around with Black Santa, Champa and Tortilla (he decided to push past the shelter as well) before officially retiring to my tent to start writing.
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No cell coverage in the gap, so I’ll have to upload this tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow, the plan is to hike 25 miles into Palmerton, PA. Bert’s Steakhouse has an outdoor shower and puts hikers up in the tool shed behind the restaurant. I know how this sounds – I don’t care. I hadn’t had a shower in nearly a week and am actually looking forward to bathing in the alley behind a restaurant.
And on Sunday, Get Weird’s parents are visiting her from Ohio – they’re renting a cabin or campite near the AT and are willing to put up with a gang of stinky hikers – so it looks like I might get showers two days in a row.
Speaking of that, I’ve never smelled worse. I remember being taken aback by my odor when I first started this hike. The humidity has exacerbated the problem.
Hikers have been talking about two things lately – how much the rocks stink and how bad they stink. Go figure.
I’m looking forward to getting an early start tomorrow. Palmerton, PA is 25 miles away. The elevation profile calls for level terrain – we’ll see if that’s rocks and boulders or more flat terrain like today.
Breakfast: 20 gram protein bar, dried apricots
Snack: two almond/chocolate bars, the rest of my Dot’s Pretzels
Lunch: bag of teriyaki beef jerky, two oatmeal cream pies, dried cranberries
Dinner: shrimp ramen with two tuna packets