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