Greetings muggles! I hope everyone had a great Thursday because I sure did! And I had a great day despite this miserable state that I am in. I hate talking poorly of any state that the AT runs through too. Each state brings a uniqueness to the trail that makes it fun and enjoyable, whether it be the views, the state parks, the towns, the food, the people, or the wildlife. But damn it if Pennsylvania doesn't just suck. Ok that sounded a bit harsh, especially to those of you that may live in PA, so allow me to rephrase if you would. The Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania is horrible. Water sources are miles and miles a part, it is SUPER humid and hot, the gnats here are the worst I have ever experienced in my entire life (please keep in mind that I lived for many years in the self proclaimed capital of the gnat world - Statesboro, GA), and please, whatever you do, please don't even get me started on the rocks. Good Lord, do I hate rocks. I could write an entire blog post about just the gnats or the rocks. The gnats are a constant in your life from the moment you unzip your tent in the morning till the moment you zip your tent up at night. They just hover around your head and torso like a persistent, annoying storm cloud. And I'm scared I'm complaining about the rocks too soon too because apparently they get worse from here. I don't know how that is possible based on what I saw today, I honestly don't. But anyway, enough with the bad stuff. I can tolerate all the stuff I just named because of all the great things I am about to name!
Last night at the shelter was so much fun! One of the reasons it was so great is because of the shelter itself. A man named Mick owns a house right on the trail and runs a shelter in his backyard! He has a bunkhouse built as well as a little bathroom and shower. The shower is pretty cool. He has a water tank built that he fills up every day...and that's about it. Turn the valve, water comes out. Cold but refreshing! Mick is an extremely odd fellow and kind of comes off as a jerk when you talk to him, but he is super nice for allowing thru hikers onto his property at all. The bad comes with the good I suppose. Well a shelter like that will attract a crowd, and we had a big one last night! I'd say over 20 thru hikers stayed the night and I was fortunate enough to know all of them! Last night also marked the reunion of me with my really good friends, Spider and Sriracha!! You guys don't know this, but Wendy and I have been trying to catch this group for literally months! I lost them when my brother, Luke, came to hike and we backtracked 50 miles. Ever since then we have been just a few days behind, and every time we got close something would happen and we would lose them all over again! So frustrating! We spent all day today hiking together, swapping our most ridiculous stories, and of course complaining about the bugs and rocks. It was so much fun, I hardly noticed the bad stuff :)
P.s. I spent a good portion of the day hiking with my German friend, Red Specs! He is the one in the photo dying from the rocks! He is a professional photographer, and once he found out I had an interest in photography, he spent the rest of the day giving me pointers. Hopefully my pictures will improve! He also extended me an invitation to come stay with him in Germany any time I'd like! Now that is definitely something I will take advantage of!!