Day 224: Radioactive

Unstealthing [mile 1948.4; SOBO 930]

OK. I need to stop wallowing in the morning.

This morning every molecule in my body rebelled and I could not get out in the dark. Even after I was dressed, I kept sighing and curling up again. I’m like some giant reluctant cat. I finally forced myself to pack up by reminding myself that by the time I got outside the tent it would be light; that got me moving at around 7:00 (still pitch dark) and on the trail at the ungodly late hour of 8:15.

That’s really late! And indeed, I’ve ended up with a low-mileage day thanks to my sloth and the slow rocks of Pennsylvania.

Also, the weather is changing. The morning was gray and overcast (felt like snow, in fact). Eventually the sun came out, but it’s a wan sun that didn’t warm the air, and the wind has been biting all day.

In my early-morning fight with myself I discovered another enemy: silence. Not the earplug thing. I mean the silence of isolation. At 5:00 AM it’s 30 degrees, it’s black as pitch, and there are no human voices. I wanted to be able to turn on a television and let it blather in the background. (I actually don’t have TV service at home, so I don’t know where that came from.) I actually grabbed the iPod and found myself scanning for Philadelphia radio stations. I found a bunch. Just ten seconds of the sports talk guys was enough to make me realize how badly I just want contact with home things. Wake up, turn on lights, drink coffee, turn on internet radio, check the computer….

I turned off the radio immediately. One, I don’t have the battery to burn, and two, there are too many miles left to permit that kind of nostalgia.

Tomorrow I’m setting an alarm.

Not that it matters all that much. I’ll be bottlenecked in Hamburg in a few days for an overnight to charge my electronics, and I may give my feet a rock-free zero. I’ll see how it goes.

So! Rocks, as predicted! Mostly toybox rocks, but toward the afternoon I came across one of the massive boulder crawls I’ll be scrambling over for the next week or so.

Also… poison ivy, trail? Really? You ‘re going to make me watch for this in November?

They can say what they want about PA, but the signage is the best of any state I’ve seen. Big and readable and at a good height. It’s often too high in some states; for example, in Maine I kept walking under signs without even seeing them (until backtracking) because they were about ten feet up. AT hikers are rarely looking up. In Connecticut the signs were a lovely shade of sage that rendered them mostly invisible. It wasn’t until New York that any of the streets had labels, but New York didn’t have any signage except at very major points. Shenandoah did a good job: the signs were posts set into the ground. That makes sense, because AT hikers are looking down. 🙂 Anyway, PA signage: big and bold.

I’m currently near the Superfund site—some sort of toxic waste dump that’s been under some kind of salvage program for years. It’s like the Morgul Vale after the War of the Ring. The AT is diverted around it.

I hope there’s water at the Outerbridge Shelter tomorrow morning. Because, as everybody knows, you can’t drink the water flowing out of the Morgul Vale! But flowing in is OK.












Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Day 224: Radioactive

  1. Bill

    Not far to go. Savor these last weeks. What an amazing journey. Keep the posts coming.

  2. janetg96

    Have a wonderful hike. You sound focused. Enjoy each day. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

  3. I’m so psyched that you are almost done. I’m counting your mileage, too! hope the weather holds. It was a lovely warm evening tonight.

  4. Beth

    I felt the loneliness in this post, Karma, I do hair for a living, trust me the human race can be overrated sometimes. I just wanted to say hi and let you know you may feel alone out there but there is a bunch of us in here that are rooting for you, praying for you and envying you. No TV? Really? Well good on you. Still following….B&B

  5. Marge Figun

    Since March, you have been my “up close and personal” reminder of how small each of us are in the whole scheme of things…..and yet how much we all need and rely on one another. And not just humans…..the lakes, fords, rocks, the trees, the leaves, the Moose, the porcupine, the snakes and toads, fish in a bottle, SOBO, NOBO, drivers, waitresses, cashiers, trail angels, family, etc. We all NEED each other and are connected in ways that you have so beautifully and descriptively expressed and acknowledged. Although you are not home yet, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your AT thru journey, especially on the silent dark nights you described tonite. May the God of my understanding continue to hold you in the palm of His hand. I can hardly wait to see you. Warm hugs!!

  6. Shari wb

    The changing leaves are gorgeous. So fun that you are in PA!

    No rivers or lakes… I hope you are getting some negative ions somehow!! ( the feel good atmosphere that surrounds moving water…).

  7. jack/snorz

    You shouldn’t feel alone,there are many of us following along with you! Port clinton may be a lift.There is plenty of in that area. Best of luck, I’m rooting for you

  8. jack/snorz

    OK..I’m grammatically incompetent!

  9. Slo & Because

    So amazed, as always. Reading to the very end. Weird, did not meet to know you long to feel like I know you. You have been such a pleasure to follow. Your pictures, grand effort to inform mixed with humor was bliss. Sending you a hug and high five!

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