Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania [mile 2087.4; SOBO 1069.0]
Sooooo tired. Tired, and also warm and showered and in a soft bed, because I’m indoors again, baybee!
The temperatures tonight are taking a dive, and at the end of the day I was in town. Bingo!
Last night, the box did its job. I slept until about 4:00 AM, when I woke up and realized my air mattress had deflated to the point that my hip was resting on the cold, hard wood.
I don’t think I have a leak. Air mattresses have the obvious issue that they can get leaks. In fact, they probably will. I’ve had to ditch two bad ones on this hike. But the other disadvantage, which nobody talks much about (probably because it’s a winter issue and most people are too smart to be out here in the winter), is that they’re not constant. Their volume changes depending on the air outside, just like a car’s tires. Three times now, I’ve realized during the night that my downmat was no longer completely puffed up. If it had been midnight last night, I would have pumped it up again; but it was an hour before wakeup time, and the wind was screeching, and I just sucked it up until 5:00.
Then I got up and realized there was snow on the ground.
I’m glad I was in the shelter.
I eventually got out of there. The snow and rain had stopped, but my shoes were wet almost immediately, and even my raingear couldn’t quite keep that wind out. Thank you, Miles Davis!
Still, today was one of my favorite walks. Flat as a pancake, almost rock-free, through farm fields, alongside little rivers…. There were bridges and boardwalks and roads. Early this morning I saw three deer swimming across a river. I’ve never seen deer swimming! They seemed pretty good at it, and they bounded up on the far bank with typical grace and strength. I wondered if they were cold.
Later in the day something funny happened: I was chased by cows. The trail goes right through pastures sometimes. I’ve learned to pretend that it doesn’t make me nervous. So this time I stopped when the trail came closest to the cows, and I took my pictures of the five or six of them, then I kept walking. About ten paces later, I looked over my shoulder, and they were following me. At a trot! They were bumping into one another to get closer. I think they thought I had food for them.
I walked faster. And when I looked ahead for the way out of the pasture, there were THIRTY cows… and they were starting to trot right for me. It was a giant cow mob, and they were out for blood. Human blood.
It was a bovine nightmare! Would they get to me before I jumped the fence?
No! Score one for humanity! I climbed the ladder and turned and shook my sticks at those crazy chasing cows! And them I took more pictures.
Maybe they weren’t iPhone fans.
After The Nightmare on Cow Street, I walked! It was cold and windy and sunny, and I walked. And eventually I ended up in Boiling Springs, and here I am.
I had a big bowl of ravioli at the local Italian joint, where the waitress was incredibly friendly and said she loved my hair. Lol. Then I hoofed a mile to the grocery store. By that point, I was beat. Beat. I was dreading walking back to town with groceries, when a random lady in the store asked me if I wanted a ride back. Trail angel! She picks up hikers, and takes them into her house sometimes, and feeds them. Margo, her name is. Thank you so much, Margo!
Margo and Grace, her 9-month-old lab puppy, drove me right to my B&B.
And here I am. I wish I could stay in Boiling Springs for another day or two, but a hiker’s gotta hike. I’m on a schedule!