Pass Mountain Hut [mile 938.6]
The flip, the flip, the flip. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Even with a flip I still might be looking at an early November finish, given my daily mileage. I was thinking I could take the train from the trail info NYC, but a ridgerunner just told me that that train runs only on weekends. She said that since I’m from Philly, I ought to flip at the Delaware Water Gap. (She said a lot of hikers flip there.) Take Trailways to wherever I need to take it to get to Katahdin.
That has some appeal. The next big thing I’m terrified of is Dante’s Inferno at the Water Gap, so that could be my Katahdin. 😉 And maybe somebody would come to the Water Gap for my finish, whereas Katahdin would be too difficult for my friends and family. And I’d be hiking home after the flip, which is motivating and exciting. But… that means I’m flipping a lot sooner than I was mentally prepared for. It means Katahdin is kind of right around the corner… and I’ve realized that I’m scared to death of Katahdin and the Whites. (On the other hand, how excellent to do them earlier when I’m merely conditioned as opposed to later when a hiker’s body is beat to death.)
Ah, well. I’m getting way ahead of myself. I’m still in Virginia, and the DWG is on the far edge of Pennsylvania. One day at a time.
And here’s how this one went: spectacularly! I slept well and warm and dry. The alarm got me up at 5:30, and guess what? No rain! I know, can you believe it? No rain at all. Even my footprint was dry. Angels sang and the sky rejoiced and even the bugs were buzzing hallelujah in eight-part harmony. So I hit the trail by 6:45. I had a Skyland breakfast to get to!
The weather was great for hiking. Sunny but cool, with a nice breeze that dried the sweat even when the afternoon turned hot.
Oh! I almost forgot! Happy summer! It’s officially ‘Hike Naked Day,’ but I didn’t see any naked hikers. And I certainly wasn’t going to hike naked. Nobody needs to see that, for one, and for two, after yesterday’s unfortunate and inadvertent moon over Big Meadow, I feel like I’ve fulfilled my naked hiking duties.
I had a huge breakfast at Skyland. But I totally turned into hiker trash. It was embarrassing and hilarious. I stuffed my English muffin and bacon into my hip pack (in a ziplock). I asked for a table near an outlet and uploaded my blog entries. And I did laundry in their bathroom sink, lol! I spent quality time with their soap dispenser and my repulsive socks.
I have new respect for people washing their socks at public sinks. And I apologize to Skyland for dragging down their standards so significantly.
When I left, I saw a bear! Right outside, next to the parking lot. Bears are fast. It ran when it saw me, but then slowed down, and we walked parallel for a hundred yards or so (it was a safe distance away). So cute. The outside of me does all the right things: stay away from them, don’t feed them, be wary and careful, etc. But the inside of me is all They’re so cute and I want to hug them and take them home with me! I got pics, but it’s another ‘Where’s Waldo.’ I’ll stick ’em down there in case you feel like squinting at them.
In other critter news, I saw a deer. And at the shelter, right near the picnic table, a snake. Just one of the foot-long black ones.
There are boy scouts and girl scouts here at the shelter! But there’s plenty of tent space, and I’m on a nice flat spot near the ridgerunner, who’s staying here tonight.
The ridgerunner said that Freebird had to get off the trail at Luray with a knee injury! I’ll have to text her and find out if she’s OK.
And I think that’s that. Did about 13 miles. A little more, a little less. And tomorrow is the last wayside… my last chance for a famous blackberry milkshake. I should be getting there around lunchtime, which is convenient for my belly.