Signal Knob Tentsite(985.8) to Bears Den Hostel(1002.9) 17.1 Miles
I did not sleep very well at all last night. I think there might have been a bear roaming around the perimeter of our camp. Outro and I both heard the same noises. I was up and out of camp at 6:45. I didn't want anything to do with lingering around any longer than I had too.
The first part of the day was very easy hiking. I went through Sky Meadows State Park. The small portion of the park that I saw was very nice.
Before I knew it we had come to the dreaded Roller Coaster. I've been pumping myself up for days, if I keep saying it's going to be fun maybe I'll believe it. AWOL's trail guide describes the roller coaster as 13.5 miles of ascents and descents. Hikers describe it as hell on earth.
I quickly lost my enthusiasm. Not only was the trail full of steep ups and downs, but it was rocky too. We only did 9.5 miles of it today, so I still have four more miles to look forward too.
The one positive of hiking through the coaster was, we crossed the 1,000 mile mark. Tomorrow we will hit the symbolic halfway point in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia at the ATC headquarters. I am beyond excited for that.
We sat around and relaxed for a little while next to the 1,000 mile marker. I still can't believe what I have accomplished. I have met so many people and done so many cool things in the last 1,000 miles, that I can't wait to see what the next 1,189.2 miles have to hold.
After crossing through the 1,000 mile mark, we still had 2.9 miles to hike for the day. It was brutal. I felt like it was 6 miles that I hiked. It was, however, well worth it. The Bears Den Hostel is amazing. It's a castle-like stone lodge, owned by the ATC and operated by the PATC. It was built in 1933 by Dr. Huron Lawson. The history of the building is listed in the picture below. For $17, we received a bunk, shower, free run of the house including the kitchen, and a pancake breakfast. Probably my favorite hostel stay so far.
"Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own." -Adam Lindsay Gordon