Day 80: Eckville Shelter (Port Clinton)

Day 80. Warning in advance, I’m officially in a rotten mood for the 3rd time on this trip. I’m sorry I’ve been complaining a bit lately, but this weather is starting to take its tole on me, and I’m beginning to lose my romantic feelings for the experience of hiking here. Today could have been amazing, it should have been amazing, and it would have been amazing … had it not been another day of nonstop rain!

And not just because of my low spirits to hike wet, that was uncomfortable but not the real issue. It was all the rotten luck the rainy day brought with it. Today’s trail was mostly dirt and wide enough for 6 hikers at once. Today’s views were called the best in all of PA, today’s destination was another enclosed cabin with bunk beds.


The wider trail was basically just a wider river. Consistently making any dry footing impossible, and slowing my progress to a crawl.

The views (Pulpit Rock and The Pinnacle) provided nothing but a white cloud of fog. And no dry rock to even sit and rest upon.

The cabin (Eckville Shelter), was full already from 7 hikers who took a Zero Day there. I can’t blame them fully, though I was pretty annoyed a shelter that only holds 6 people would be selfishly taken up for 2 consecutive nights by the same people. And even if I was willing to camp outside in the rain, the camping area was taken up by a boy scout troop.

Also, as long as I’m complaining, my maildrop of food wasn’t at the Post Office as I expected. I got mixed up on boxes and somehow forgot to have this one sent. I had to bum a ride to Walmart a couple miles away to get food quickly, which delayed my start and caused today’s destination to be what it was. Ugh.

By the time I reached the shelter at 6:15, I had worked myself into a frustrated mess. The hikers taking up all the bunk beds were not even there (went into town to see a movie), so I briefly chatted our options with Gandalf who hiked there today as well. He was going to squeeze onto the floor, but I knew I would not sleep a wink in that tiny sardine can if I tried the same. I’m quite claustrophobic when surrounded by other people, and 9 people in that 10×10 enclosed box would be too uncomfortable to imagine. No, not happening.

Fortunately, I found the phone number of a trail angel that lives nearby and gave him a call. He was happy to pick me up, take me back to the Port Clinton Pavilion, and then return me in the morning. It was beyond generous and he did it for no charge. I still gave him some cash and thanked him profusely regardless.

There is one silver lining to this. Tomorrow morning I will visit Frank again, the older gentleman that owns the barbershop in town. He is very hiker friendly, welcoming hikers to sit in his shop to dry off, charge electronics, eat donuts, drink coffee and more. He’s a very interesting guy with stories galore, and a room full of antiques and collectibles on display. He plays music during the day (both from a boom box, and the guitars he keeps in the shop), and gives a good haircut for just $8. I spent a couple hours there this morning before heading out, and look forward to stopping in again tomorrow if there is time.

If the weather doesn’t break, the next 3 days will be very difficult. The dreaded “Rocksylvania” section remains between me and New Jersey. This brings the hardest, sharpest, and steepest rocks the trail has to offer. I will make the most of it, and promise my bad attitude ends with this rant, but I’d much prefer a bit of sun to help too!

Hello Neiman (Sharkbait)!

  • Start Mile: 1218.9
  • Start Time: 12:00
  • End Mile: 1234.7
  • End Time: 18:15
  • Miles Hiked: 15.8
  • Miles to Go: 957.2
  • Lodging: Port Clinton Pavillion

12 thoughts on “Day 80: Eckville Shelter (Port Clinton)

  1. Just remember Reese Witherspoon had to like throw one of her hiking shoes off of the mountain or something in Wild.

    This is mile 20 of the marathon. The beginning of the climb to Cathedral Hill. An Ithaka!!! Sending you strength, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike, I know you are very goal driven and competitive. Just remember that the goals you set are in your head and are arbitrary and capricious. Don’t let your thought up goals refers tour wonderful creative nature. Your a great problem solver, evidenced by your success. This rain, like all weather is not personal, it’s not the enemy. Work on some really creative solutions to your current situation. Think crazy, creative, silly and see what you come up with. You could hire a hot air balloon, hitch a ride North and hike back to where you are, hire a pack team to haul your stuff, pray for even more rain so you can canoe the trails. Few things in my life were more difficult than feeling like I was trapped and had no choices even if got what I set out to accomplish. As your dad has told me many times over the years, “We have options”. This may require alternative solutions. Happy Trails

    Liked by 2 people

    • How right you are Cris. For as long as I live, I will forever hear my dad’s voice telling me “moderation” and “you’ve got options.” Of course, his other favorite line is “could be worse, could be raining . . . !” One day, this will be known as the Port Clinton Massacre. Keep trucking Mike. You’ve got company to weather any storm coming in five days. Just beware, he may require you to eat low sodium freeze dried food. (And you thought it couldn’t get worse than rain!).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all, Happy Anniversary, Michael! I remember you sitting our training class before you were married. Your Fun Fact was the fact you are deathly allergic to animals and were engaged to a veterinarian-to-be! Secondly, hang in there! It is a HUGE bummer that the weather is being so disagreeable and you have every right to wallow. You are working hard to accomplish this very challenging feat, and all the hikers deserve better conditions than Mother Nature is handing you right now. I’m glad you found today’s trail angel; I hope tomorrow is somehow better. We are all here cheering you on!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First off, I love the photo at the top. A ‘scenic’ view would not improve it… it would just be a different view. Your view was great!

    The current ‘bad’ days are representations off a roulette wheel, +/- geo-weighting and weather-related parameters with seasonal variations, yada,yada. You signed up to hike this monster, given all it’s variables -and variables is your business. You are just getting the regular dose, more or less, on average. This isn’t the first time (think cold and wet for dayz), and it won’t be the last. You gotta roll with the punches… yes, mother nature can punch, but you know that by now! Take a nero/zero when the shit hits, relax, and enjoy! This ain’t no race. And no, I’m not smoking anything -not even a good cigar! Just because it rains for ten dayz straight, dosen’t mean you gotta spend ten days in the rain… take a zero and meet some new folks, relax and enjoy the ride/I mean hike… and all it entails! You’re doing a ultra-fantastic job, and you’ve only got < 900 +/- miles to go… piece of cake my man! You are on-top of it… it's your game! Now go out and have some fun, even if you have to work your ass of in the process! 😉

    I hope the weather improves, and chances are it will within +/- 2 dayz!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Once again Cris offered great advice. Yes, there are always OPTIONS. For instance. Hire a caterpillar tractor, borrow the Wright Brothers airplane, get a super strong pogo stick. I know you can do it. I’m glad you got into town and had the Barbershop angel help you out. I can imagine how disheartening it can be to suffer several days in this miserable weather. It probably doesn’t work for me to say, “Could be worse – it could be raining!” Okay – bad joke, I know. Hang in there…I’ll see you a few days so we both can moan, groan and complain :). Keep on truckin’
    mom & dad

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mike, I’ve been training every day by sitting for 8 hours and drinking beer after that. Can’t wait to see you and witness the destruction you will unleash on the Denali crew. The pain and hardship you are feeling now will be redeemed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hey Mike, hang in there man. I’m sure it gets rough some days but what you’re doing is pretty amazing. Just think how awesome it’ll feel when you’re done to go back over this log and marvel at how far you’ve come. I believe in you, buddy. Keep at it!

    Liked by 1 person

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