Day 79. Once again, the weather gods smiled down on me and it was surprisingly dry the entire day! The forecast has now had it wrong 2 days in a row, which made today’s 24 mile hike into Port Clinton very enjoyable. But is it too much to hope for 3 dry days in a row? My weather app says 100% chance of rain between 4am and 3pm, so I’m guessing this is the end of my unexpected gift.
All of us at last night’s shelter got up around 6am this morning, so we also hiked together as a small group. I haven’t had that much company in weeks, and it was a nice change to hike alongside a few others. With me were Reboot, Mr. Nice and No Need, and we all made it into town together. The hiking was pretty good, though still very rocky at times. I took the three photos below in succession, each 1/2 mile apart this morning. The trail altered back and forth between these three rock grades all day, so there were some nice sections at least.
In addition, there were some pretty swampy areas overrun with water. Furing this 3 mile stretch, finding solid footing was tough within 10 feet on either side, so alternate paths through the trees was required. Frustrating and slow, but common to others as well, as you could see some worn paths beginning to establish themselves. There were also a couple nice views today, which actually had something viewable … all in all, I’d take a hike like this any day out here in Pennsylvania.
Coming into the small town of Port Clinton was an extremely steep 1 mile dirt path decent. I’m thankful even more for the dry day after doing that section, as it would be treacherous and slick with mud. Basically a huge brown water slide. At the bottom, it empties out at a historic railroad station, which was used to support the coal and anthracite mining industry that helped establish this town (pic above). It looks to be a sort of museum now, so it was neat walking through and reading the informational signs on our way into town.
The town itself is very small, home to just one hotel, a few houses, a candy shop, some motorcycle shops, and a restaurant/bar. The latter was a treat, and I learned a lot about the town’s history while enjoying supper and a few beers. This place is called the Union House, and although only open on the weekends, is owned by Herm, the town’s local celebrity. Herm owns most of the town, including the 3 motorcycle sales and repair shops next door, but opens the Union House for fun with friends, and to keep his culinary skills fresh. He’s a great chef, having been trained professionally in Italy, and his cooking was worth the stop alone. The $1.50 beers and pleasant company of his friends didn’t hurt either.
The Union House also rents out rooms on the weekend, but it was too pricey for me at $70. Especially because further up in town is a giant covered picnic pavilion that hikers are allowed to camp in for free. I liked Herm and his friends lot, but my unplanned stay in Lickdale a couple days ago was expensive and I have a budget to keep.
When I got to the pavilion later, everyone was set up already, with a few new faces as well. All told, there are 9 of us here, but it would easily hold 40 people if needed. There is also an outhouse and free jugs of water on hand from the local church. Roof, water, and can … everything a thruhiker needs for a shelter. The one down side is the noise. It’s very loud here, as we are sandwiched between the highway and train tracks, but that’s hopefully something earplugs can fix.
Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!
- Start Mile: 1194.8
- Start Time: 07:30
- End Mile: 1218.9
- End Time: 17:30
- Miles Hiked: 24.1
- Miles to Go: 972.0
- Lodging: Port Clinton Pavillion