The guys are doing awesome!
I can’t believe the progress they are making. Pennsylvania was a tough state to for them to get through. It is often called Rocklvania by the hikers. Apparently, the last ice age left ridges of sharp rock and of course the Appalachian trail must travel right over the top of them. There were days that the guys wanted to quit, but thankfully they have each other to keep going.
As for me, I have been traveling winding roads to and frow enjoying the landscape, the beautiful stone house and barns. It’s amazing how busy I keep myself. Someone asked me what I do all day and I couldn’t give her a good answer. I explained that the only time I sat down was to drop the guys off and pick them back up. Setting up and tearing down camp, laundry, grocery shopping, walking the dog, doing my classes, reading recommended materials, help out other hikers, and making amazing meals is what I really do all day.
Other than the ridiculous terrain, the wasps have been terrible on trail. They must nest in the rocks. Tom got hit at least 25 times on one of the days. Thankfully he was a mile from pick up and we were camping close to a river. Stella had to get picked up early from the trail on another day because she got stung multiple times. One poor guy that was trying to help Tom get his hiking stick got stung so many times and ended up at the emergency room. What a hard way to learn that he was allergic. We sure do owe him!
We are now in New York. Which means that we have also made it through New Jersey. We are currently camping at Clarence Fahnestock State Park very close to the city. I am sitting in the camper for fear that I will be carried away by the mosquitoes. It has been hard to find places to stay overnight. New Jersey does not allow overnight camping in the AT parking lots and Tom feels safer sleeping at a campground right now. Tomorrow, we will move to another private campground just over the border into Connecticut. The wonderful lady that took my reservation promised me two pools and a working hot tub. Hip Hip Hoorah!!
Yesterday the guys hit their 1,400-mile marker. I am so proud of them. There are 93 miles of hiking in New York. Tom tells me that the rocks are a little more rounded here. It still doesn’t make want to get back on trail yet. Today the heat index is 101 degrees, so they are doing about 17 miles rather than the 22 miles they planned for this morning. They have run into a few detours and closers due to flooding Also, there is a zoo they were supposed to walk through that is unfortunately closed. On a lighter note, we have only five more states to go; Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Happy trails everyone. Go out and take a walk!
The guys the 1,400 mile mark this morning, with only 786 miles to go. Dustin and Tom hiked with Witch Doctor and Squirts today. These are two amazing guys that we have known them since Franklin, NC. They both are amazingly positive Army Veterans. They all hiked through Bear Mountain State Park, which has a zoo that trail goes through. Unfortunately, the zoo was closed due to the recent flooding. They then crossed the Hudson River and did a big climb up. The humidity and heat did slow the accent, but their day was great.
The guys hiked out of New Jersey and into New York early today. Eight states down, six to go. They stopped at a creamery next to the trail for a root beer float and had a nice refreshing stop a waterfall. They ended the day with a 150-foot vertical climb.
Finally, we out of Pennsylvania! The last 100 miles have really taken a toll on Tom's feet and body. We were able to celebrate with some of our trail friends. The guys officially left the state the next morning when they crossed the Delaware River and entered New Jersey. Only seven more states to go. Dustin and Tom also hit the 1,300-mile mark on Thursday. They are on pace to be out of New Jersey by Monday and will hit 1400 miles by Tuesday.
Tom had hoped to be out of Pennsylvania by tomorrow, July 16th. A 21-mile hike should have taken 7 to 8 hours. Because of the terrain, it took over 11 hours, so the guys had fewer miles this past week. Tom was stung 25-30 times by yellow jackets with 2 miles for trail to finish for the day. He decided to take today and tomorrow off to rest his body and soak in the river. Tom and Dusitn hope to be out of Pennsylvania by Tuesday.
Tom and Dustin agree that yesterday was the easiest section of trail that they have hiked so far. The 94° temperature, high humidity, and no wind made it a little less fun, but it was still a good day. Today, they crossed the Susquehanna River at Duncannon, PA. With this being said, that means they are entering 150 miles of the rockiest part of the AT. It is so full of sharp rocks that it is known by AT hikers as Rocksylvania.
Stella, Tom and Dustin hiked though more of the South Mountain Civil War Battlefield and stopped at the first George Washington monument east of Boonsboro. They crossed the Mason Dixon Line and entered into Pennsylvania on July 2nd. The guys have 6 states done and 8 states to go.
On the 3rd of July, Dustin and Tom reached the Appalachian Trail halfway point. They both did the half gallon ice cream challenge at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA. On the July 4th, we all watched fireworks in Gettysburg, PA. It was the 160-year anniversary after the battle.
Happy 4th of July. It has been so long since my last post.
Well, we made it to Pennsylvania. Today I moved us from Pine Grove Furnace State Park to Buddy Boy Winery and Restaurant in Duncannon, PA. I haven’t tried the wine yet. I have to pick up the guys this afternoon. They plan to hike 18.2 today and possible more if the terrain is good.
Yesterday the men took the day off to enjoy the lake at the park. I was the first day without rain in 16 days. I wish we could send it to Wisconsin. This last week was full of milestones. They have now hiked 1,100 miles and have hit the halfway point. There is no quitting now! Both Tom and Dustin took the half gallon of ice cream challenge. Tom finished his in 28 minutes and Dustin beat him with 26 minutes. The record this year so far is 3 minutes. I cannot imagine the belly aches that person had after that.
Since I posted last, Harper’s feet were hurting enough that he decided to get off trail. I took him part way to meet his family so he could go home to Harper’s Ferry. We traveled through Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. The guys hiked through Shenandoah National Park. The trail is full of rocks, and we are told that it will only get worse they proceed north.
I have defiantly found my purpose for this trip, and it has filled my heart. I have an amazing trail family around me that I can get ride to and from the trail. We fill our camp sites past capacity, and I am able to feed them and hopefully share my happiness. I have been able to meet so many people from different countries and walks of life. I am so grateful for all of them.
We are still staying overnight in all different places; parking lots, Harvest Hosts, campgrounds through the National Park, State Parks. I typically love the parking lots so that I get to chat with everyone coming through, but lately they have been next to highways, and I can’t hear myself think. The campgrounds get me some relief.
Tom is doing pretty well with his body. His back has not been bothering him with the light pack. He has had some foot pain. A few days ago, he made an appointment with a pediatrist. They told him he has severe bursitis and gave him multiple cortisone shots. Since then, he has had amazing improvements and feels like putting on more miles.
Dustin is an awesome addition to our group. He and Tom keep each other motivated. At this point, he plans to stay with us. He is such a cool laid-back guy that doesn’t mind my cooking.
I have been having fun trying recipes in my new dutch oven. I have wanted one for a while now but could validate the space it would take up in the big RV. It is perfect for this situation. I can prepare and start dinner and it is often finished by the time I get the guys back to camp at night. I have not had a failed dinner yet. I have made lasagna, spaghetti, chicken and rice, pork tenderloin, pizza, blueberry pie, biscuits, and a few other things that I can’t remember.
Well, until next time. Hope you are all well and enjoying your summer!