Last daily post before Maine!
Random miscellanea from a lazy day:
Ordering a new AT Guide, SOBO edition. I could make do with my NOBO, but it’s beat to death—the equivalent of a pair of boots held together with prayers and duct tape. And reading the book backward would be slightly inconvenient anyway.
Do I want to take my stove? Do I want to mess with a whole new meal system when I’m already facing another shot of culture shock? I’d have to force myself to use it. I didn’t before, which was why I finally dumped it as useless weight. But among the learning-curve mistakes I made early were two big ones: not enough calories, and not enough humans. Connections are made around the shelter picnic table. If you pound a Cliff bar and jump into your tent (which, admittedly, was appropriate when it was 10 degrees), you end up with a lonely hike. On the other hand, most shelter people will be NOBO anyway. (But some of them won’t!) And then there’s the weight issue. I got rid of all my food at the Bears Den, so I basically strolled into Harpers Ferry with a daypack. It was glorious. And I’m already having to add back some clothing weight. Not to mention bulk.
I headed out of the hotel at around 7:30 and strolled all the way up the ginormous Harpers Ferry hill (like the Manayunk wall, for Philly peeps and anybody who watches bike races) to the Coffee Mill, only to find that even on a Saturday you can’t get a cup of coffee until 10 AM. I’m definitely an impatient Yankee in a relaxed southern town.
The historic district is cute but not overwhelming. Then again, being from Philly, I’m jaded about that sort of stuff. Also, I confess, I’ve never been that fascinated by American history. Give me Saxons and Normans and Celts, oh my! And Romans. And maybe a little Pompei. With a side of Egypt. The Civil War? I’ll leave it to the people who are so passionate about it, and they can give infidel me the Cliff Notes version. 🙂 Although I do like the Ken Burns documentary, and maybe I’ll watch it during the intermission.
I’m going to need a better music player. Something that can hold a metric boatload of music in an easy-to-find catalogue, and with as much battery life as I can get. I was thinking iPod Touch, since I won’t be wasting battery on games or video. I’ve never owned an iPod, though, so I don’t know if that’s my best bet. I currently have a crappy little mp3 player that runs on regular batteries, but it only holds a gig or two, and you can’t really find stuff very easily.
For the record: I was hiker 159, I believe, out of Neels. 259? I’m hiker 834 at Harpers Ferry. Six-hundred something hikers have passed me. Bless their hearts! Now I’ll be passing them! 😉 [And oops! Laurie gave me a new number: 46! They number the hikers by direction. Note: There are 119 more hikers in the book today than there were on this date last year. As Laurie said, “That’s huge!”]
There’s a scale at the ATC. For the record, I’ve lost a whopping 35 pounds! I confess, that’s more than I thought.
My new shoes feel like entirely new feet. I had no idea how much the old pair had degraded. Odd to think that if I’d replaced my shoes at 300 miles rather than 500, I still might be going NOBO. But that might be more serendipity; I think flipping’s the best way for me to go. A thru-hike is like a survey course of the AT anyway, and this way I get a taste of both NOBO and SOBO. And I get to do the hardest parts when I’m in the best shape, before parts of me start falling off or wearing out entirely.
One of the workers manning the ATC used to be a ridgerunner at Baxter (where Katahdin is). I picked his brain! Thanks for the info, my friend!
I’ve spoken with a few other early March starters who are persisting NOBO. I have a feeling the majority of them will be flipping. I’m also starting to meet fellow flippers. They’ll all be passing me farther north. 😉
Spent an outstanding afternoon with Sisu and got caught up on a lot of things. Thank you so much for lunch and for driving all the way out here, Sisu. Trail magic! I can’t wait for your hike next year. I’m already in your fan club, and looking forward to reading your journal!
And that was the day. Lazy, hazy, crazy day of summer, before the breather and the big chill.