Sunday, June 19, 2016 9:40 pm
Location: Campsite (1139.2 miles)

I attempted to get to sleep around 10 last night. I'm not sure I actually fell asleep until after 11, but it's unlikely to have mattered. Between when I got back to camp, and when I got up in the morning, nine trains went through.

I had a vague idea in mind today to do 26 miles into Duncannon. This was clearly not happening.

Because of the constant interruptions, I slept in a bit, not leaving camp until 8:20, over an hour later than I wanted. The first stop of the day was under a mile later, in town, for breakfast at Caffé 101. I got their backpackers breakfast, which was a huge spread of two pancakes, eggs, bacon, and toast. It took forever to order, get, and eat, and I didn't wind up leaving the restaurant until around 10. Not a good start for a 26 mile day. Fortunately, there were several potential stopping points throughout the day, so I was unlikely to get into a bad situation.

Most of today's trail was again very easy. Out of Boiling Springs, the trail followed a road uphill for a bit, before turning into and winding between crop fields for a very long time. While some of this distance had tree cover, a lot of it was exposed. Not great, on a warm day.

I carry a 1 liter water bottle with me that, during the day, I mix in electrolyte supplements and use for drinking water on breaks. Normally, I prefer to have this last through an entire day's hike, drinking about a third at the first break, half at the second, and the rest at a rare third break or when I make it to camp.

I emptied that bottle at my first break.

Fortunately, though, my second break was conveniently located at the building for an ATC trail crew, and which had a picnic table and water pump. I drank a lot of water there, and left with a refreshed water bottle. (I didn't refill my water bladder; I wanted to keep weight down, I assumed I had sufficient to make it to wherever I was going, and if not, I'd still have the liter bottle I just filled.)

The first potential stopping point for the day was the shelter at 15 miles, which I was easily going to make, but it has an unreliable water source. (It's apparently so unreliable that there are warnings at the water sources before and after suggesting carrying water from there to the shelter. Also, this would be the obvious stopping point for someone trying to do 50 miles from Quarry Gap. Because the shelter was a fair distance off the trail, I decided not to divert there to check the log, so at this time, I don't know if SLAM was successful in her 50 mile attempt.)

Having already carried ten pounds of water up a steep hill only a few days ago, I did not relish the notion of doing it again, even with a lighter pack. So, when I got to the spring a mile ahead of that shelter, I decided to keep going. The next shelter was only seven miles ahead, so there's still be plenty of time to make it there.

But, I didn't make it there. I got to the next stream, about four miles further, saw there was a campsite, and stopped. I'd gone 18.6 miles at that point, a respectable day, and I was tired.

In general, it was a nice campsite. While only 30 ft off the AT, it had a nice tentsite next to the stream (which was running low, and near the tent site, disappeared into the ground). Unfortunately, the fire pit had scrambled eggs in it (evidentially the site of someone's cooking mishap), and ants and flies were hard at work cleaning it up. Fortunately, though, the fire pit was far enough away from the tentsite that it wasn't really going to be a problem (unless there were bears with a hunger for eggs).

I got water, and then dug cathole #4 (and wishing the whole time I had diverted to the shelter to use the privy there), set up my tent, set up my bear line, and got started on dinner.

While eating dinner, I heard a rustling in the distance, and saw a large branch fall from a tall tree. I then immediately remembered to check for widow makers, but the trees above my tent site looked ok. It still turned out to be an omen, which reared when I tried to actually hang my food bags on the bear line I set up. As soon as I tried to lift the bags up, the branch I selected completely broke off. sigh

The second hang, though, was successful. (It was actually on the first tree I found, but initially rejected as being too close to the stream. My food bags are no longer waterproof, and I didn't want to risk them falling into the steam and soaking over night.)

After dinner, I planned out the next two weeks of my hike. I'm trying to be in Branchville, NJ on July 1st or 2nd to meet up with friends whose family has a lake house there. It seems there's really not a lot of good options for places after leaving Duncannon (the town I'll be in tomorrow), but I managed to put together a plan with a bit of wiggle room.

This is my first time tenting at a site with no one else at all. It's kind of awesome, and quiet. Also a tiny bit scary, in that if something wanders into camp, there's no one else to help.