Deleted all my alarms off my phone, feels so good!
Day 1: Duncannon, PA to Peters mountain Shelter (11 mi)
Started in town, bid farewell to Cindy and Jim at the Doyle Hotel and eventually found our way to the single track trail (probably 30 - 45 mins in town and on sidewalks crossing the Susquehanna river). Then we had a pretty long climb (2 hours) with full packs. We finally got to Clarks Ferry Shelter and had only clocked 4 miles. It was shocking how long it took us to get there! Luckily, the weather was perfect, there were no bugs, and we had fresh legs.
When we got to the shelter at 4 mi, there were about 6 other NoBo thru hikers all hanging out and taking a break, snacking, and chatting. The chatter was all about how rocky PA is, how two of them saw a huge bear yesterday, and what their respective water strategies were.
Jamie went with a few of them to a stream to get water and we decided to fill up an extra 4L of water (2L each) because the stream at our final campsite/shelter was unreliable. The other hikers clearly knew exactly how much water they would need and detested carrying any extra, so we ended up with some of their leftover water and took it just in case (we didn’t and still don’t have our daily water consumption quantity figured out).
All day we saw TONS of poison ivy and we were so grateful to be wearing pants. Jamie’s pants are too big, and mine with the drop crotch style cause a little inner thigh chafe which isn’t problematic yet...
I had a few close call falls, my toe box kept catching on rocks - I think it points up and is bigger than what I’m used to. Finally I fell pretty hard and almost face planted. I had a flash back to my fall in Spain last summer. Luckily the fall was kind of in slow motion and not catastrophic and I’m totally fine, but it really hurts to have a 25 pound backpack fall on top of you!
One of our fellow hikers suggested we change our socks midday. This was a game changer. We put body glide on our feet and hot spots, put fresh dry socks on and continued on.
Miles 4-8 went by so much faster than the first 4 mi (elevation gain was much easier). However, our bodies were aching from carrying our packs all day and by the time we got to our shelter we were ready to be done for the day.
Got to our shelter, Peters Mountain. We set up our tent near a few others’, and cooked dinner. It is pretty full here at the shelter with thru hikers, section hikers, a group of Boy Scouts etc. Glad to be in our tent and not the shelter.
Females are hard to come by out here and I don’t particularly like it when I’m the only one. I am not used to being around so much male energy, so it is certainly interesting.
Day 2: Peters Mountain Shelter to Campsite with Trail register at Yellow Springs Trail (13.4 mi)
We ran into one of Jamie’s fav ultra runners who happens to be from central PA, Zach Miller (on a training run). That made Jamie’s day! We took a pic and continued on.
Saw a rattle snake! It rattled at Jamie and he flew backwards. We walked around it way off the trail.
Yesterday we think we carried too much water, so we tried being more strategic about carrying only what we thought we needed and planned better, BUT we sort of ran out of water and had to fill up at a sketchy stream with some still pools. We filtered and used iodine to treat our water just to be sure. Had to fill up because we were still 3 miles from our campsite which didn’t have water! Luckily we have enough for dinner and enough to get us to the next water source, hoping it is better than the last!
We saw something black on Jamie’s belly that we think could be a tick? We can’t really get it out, bc it is deep in there... hoping it is something else!
Legs and backs are quite tired. We took a lot of breaks to rest our bodies and look forward to the lower mileage day tomorrow. We splashed ourselves in a creek midday and got some trail magic in the form of watermelon! We regret not getting all the way in and swimming in the creek as the subsequent water sources were bleak.
No blisters or bug bites! Our feet have a few hot spots here and there so we stop to change our socks and put body glide on our feet a few times a day. We burned incense and it helped tremendously with the gnats and bugs in our faces as we hike or take breaks. I got a few gnats in my eyes and it is painful! I think between the permethrin-treated clothes, incense, and the Herbal Armor bug spray we are doing a solid job at keeping the bugs at bay! Yay!
All our fellow thru hikers started 3+ months ago and are cruising on past us, so we probably won’t have trail names or a trail family until we are clocking 15-20 mile days.
Delish dinner tonight, basil walnut, pesto penne - hit the spot!
Weather has been great, no rain, sunny and warm, not too hot, but today is quite humid here at camp. With two of us in the tent (which has two sides covered with a rain fly) it is like a sauna - hot and sticky.
Day 3: campsite w trail register to campsite with stream (9.3 miles)
We started off our day hiking with a few other hikers who were cruising, the conversation and pace helped the day go by quickly. We stopped about halfway and swam at a creek by Rousch Gap Shelter. We washed clothes and the dip felt amazing!
Today was hot hot hot (high of 95). We trudged through a swamp and got our feet soaked (boo) and made it to our campsite by the stream by like 1:20 pm. We swam in the stream about 4-5 times and were glad to be resting our bodies while it was scorching hot (95 deg, “feels like 100”!).
Still meeting lots of North-bounders crushing 20+ miles, but there are rumors that there are some flip flippers right behind us that started back in Harper’s Ferry.
All in all we are enjoying every moment so far and are easing our “trail legs” and “trail bodies” into it.