Saturday, June 25, 2016 6:03 pm
Location: PA 61 / Hamburg / Microtel (1217.5 miles)

If only just barely, I managed to start hiking before 7 am on the third day in a row. The trail started off rocky, and then I got a nice section that let me fly down the trail for awhile, only to eventually turn into more rocks as I got closer to Port Clinton, PA.

The guidebook (and also some elevation profile maps that were at a couple of trailheads and the 501 Shelter) showed the trail sharply drop off approaching Port Clinton, losing about 700 feet in half a mile. The trail turned out to be every bit as incredibly steep as the elevation profiles suggested. The final descent down to town elevation even had a rope that people using to climb the hill could use to pull themselves up.

From there, the trail crossed some railroad tracks, and entered the small town. My first stop was the Port Clinton Barber Shop, known to be hiker friendly.

Schuylkill River
Schuylkill River

It's a small barber shop, with only two chairs, but they have a nice seating area for waiting, and offer (free) coffee, donuts, and cookies while you wait. There was an older gentleman playing a guitar and singing, and occasionally one of the barbers joined in with his harmonica.

I got my beard trimmed. Frank, my barber, did a good job, and it looks a bit less hobo-y.

Beard Trim
Beard Trim

I continued on the trail for a short distance to the trailhead at PA 61 where, with the assistance of another hiker, got a ride to the Microtel in Hamburg. Megan, a schoolteacher (on summer break) was quite happy to give me a ride to the hotel. (Thanks again, Megan!)

When I got to the Microtel, the room I would be sharing with One Feather was unfortunately not ready (it was a bit after noon, and checkin was not normally until 3), so I waited in the lobby with One Feather, Hammer (a hiker I met at the Terrapin Station hostel in Front Royal, who I've seen on the trail relatively frequently since then), and others.

Needing food resupply and lunch, I arranged for the hotel to allow One Feather to get the keys (since they already had my information), and walked over to the nearby Walmart with Mountain Goat, whom I first met in the teepee at Woodchucks in Damascus. From Australia, she's in training to become a nurse. (And of the at least four different Mountain Goats on the trail, the only woman.)

After we were done there, we joined father-son pair Magellan and Strider at the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet in the shopping center the next street over briefly, before they returned to the hotel, having gotten to the restaurant half an hour before us.

As if on cue, One Feather texted me to let me know the room was ready (but they wouldn't let him check in until I got there) just as we were getting up to pay. We walked back to the hotel, Mountain Goat taking a detour through the giant candy store, and I went up to my room (which One Feather had been able to gain access to by that time).

After showers and laundry, One Feather and I went down to the bar attached to the hotel, where we joined Magellan and Strider for drinks and food. (I wound up zoning out of the conversation because the two of them would only speak using library voices, and despite being in a relatively quiet bar, I couldn't hear them from two seats away!)

I returned to the room and finished packing my pack, to be ready to leave as quickly as possible after breakfast tomorrow.