Unstealthed a little shy of Bake Oven Knob [mile 1957.4; SOBO 939]
The only trouble wih unstealthing is that I’m never entrely sure where I am. Last night I was a little short of where I thought I was, so I think the mileage today was OK, particularly given the weather and the terrain.
Today’s theme song, in honor of the superfund site: Razor Skyline— Corporation [you’ll have to YouTube it if you want to hear it, alas]
So last night was mischief night. Nobody toilet papered my tent overnight. But who am I kidding? I’ve turned into such hiker trash that if they had, I would have been all Woah! Free toilet paper!
I couldn’t manage a 5 AM wakeup, but I managed it at 6—and I managed it by plugging into my iPod before I even put on my glasses. And let me tell you, that thing was on ALL DAY. Just tunes, not radio.
Aside: A couple of people have asked me what kind of music I like. I can’t really answer because what I listen to is freakish and eclectic. But here’s a Halloweenish mini playlist right from the iPod, if you’re curious. I can’t get links, but YouTube will have the songs.
Omnia: Twa Corbiez
Omnia: The Well
Sharron Kraus: The Horn Dance
Dar Williams: Flinty Kind of Woman
Boiled in Lead: Silver Carp
RHPS: Time Warp
Anyhoo! I was up at 6:00 and it was raining and windy windy windy. By the time I opened the tent flap to leave, it was light out; but when I crawled out I realized that the brightness was just thick fog reflecting on the fallen golden leaves. The fog! It set a creepy tone for the day that’s carried all the way through.
I got to see some of the superfund site today. Talk about creepy. That place is blighted. Dead’grass the color of ash. Dead wood. Dead, dead, dead. It really does look like Mordor in spots.
Somebody built a teepee up there. Coming out of the fog, the whole scene felt surreal. Horror-show otherworldly.
Eventually the trail got back to being trail-like: a wide road between increasingly rocky banks of weeds and high grasses and small trees. Then bam! I finally came to that descent I’ve been dreading since last October.
I was hoping that Maine might have made this less scary, but it was still intimidating: a vertical descent down the side of a cliff. But what Maine did for me is make me just sigh and grab rocks and keep moving. The fog helped, too: I couldn’t quite see how far down it was.
When I got near the bottom the rain started. It never really stopped for the rest of the day. Also, I didn’t see any animals today! They were too smart to be out.
After I crossed the Lehigh River there was a climb on the other side. I was sitting on a rock at one point, taking a break, when three hikers came down the hill. One of them was having a birthday, and their traditional celebration is to bike ten miles, hike ten miles, and kayak ten miles. OK, maybe it’s only the biking that’s a full ten. But it’s their own little iron man tradition. And it beats the hell out of my tradition of eating an angel’s food cake and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.
Guess what? They saw the Barefoot Sisters the year they hiked! (The Barefoot Sisters are these famous… um… sisters, who hiked the AT… um… barefoot! Counterintuitive, I know.) These were the first people who didn’t ask if I was hiking quote-unquote all by myself. No, they had questions like “So how many pairs of shoes have you gone through?” Fun guys! I was all bundled up like a whale, and they were in shorts. Happy birthday, birthday guy!
After that it was just walking. Rocky, rocky walking in the rain and fog. I crossed one more boulder field, and the rain picked up. Right about then I passed a campsite and without even thinking about it I was pitching the tent. I think I had it up in under five minutes. I just wanted to be warm and dry, and here I am.
Hey, local peeps! Tomorrow I cross 309! How cool is THAT? (309 is near where I live.) Also tomorrow: the Knife Edge, another bit of rockfoolery I’ve been dreading for a year. But whatcha gonna do? Gotta keep moving; it’s the only way to get this puppy finished.
I should still be OK schedule-wise. I won’t be able to zero in Hamburg, but I’ll make lists and try to get it all done in one afternoon.
Happy Halloween (or Samhain, if that’s your cauldron of tea!) If anything knocks on my tent door, I’m not answering!