Sunday, June 21, 2015

Day 81- Another One Bites The Dust

June 21, 2015
Pen Mar County Park(1064) to Quarry Gap Shelters(1084.8) 20.8 Miles

I woke up at 5:00 this morning to guarantee that I would be up before anyone came around my illegal campsite, too bad I went back to sleep until 6:00. I quickly got up after that and broke camp. I moved everything up to the pavilion and cooked breakfast. I've been struggling with getting enough calories for breakfast. Pop tarts just aren't getting it done anymore. I made a triple serving of oatmeal and added peanut butter for good measure. Around 6:30 a police cruiser pulled into the parking lot, I was a little worried, but they never got out of the car. I didn't leave the park until 8, my latest start in a very long time. I immediately crossed the Mason/Dixon line. During colonial times, Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania had a border dispute. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon were the surveyors who came up with the demarcation line. The Mason/Dixon line also represents the cultural border between the Southern United States and the Northern United States. (Isn't history fun)
I'm officially in the North. Pennsylvania is the seventh state of my expedition. 
Mason/Dixon Line ( I wonder if Dixon resented Mason because his name was listed first)

Due to all of the rain last night, the trail was a sloppy mess. For extended periods of time it resembled a stream more than a hiking trail. 
That's the trail, not a creek
Also the trail

Needless to say, but my feet stayed wet all day. It also slowed me down. It was a delicate balance between trying to keep my feet relatively dry and not falling in the mud. Most of the time I chose sure footing over dry feet. 

I decided to take a longer lunch break so I could air out my feet. I came across another county park, Old Forge Picnic Area, and was delighted to see trail magic. Someone had left out big containers of fruit, baked goods, bagels, peanut butter, Nutella, and jolly ranchers. Since I am running low on snack items, I took some of the baked goods and Nutella packs for later and enjoyed an orange and bagel for lunch. 

After lunch I had a tough uphil climb, the heat and humidity made it super fun. Once the climb was out of the way I checked my phone for reception, jackpot I had five bars of 4G service. I quickly posted yesterday's blog. I then made my way up to Chimney Rocks to see the view and to call my dad. 
Chimney Rocks
Happy Fathers Day Hannibal

The next section of trail I cruised through. I was making really good time and getting a rhythm going, when I surprised a rattlesnake. To be fair, I was just as surprised. It was a good encounter though, he slithered away as fast as possible and left me alone. 
Timber Rattlesnake

I was a lot more careful after this encounter. I had just entered a very rocky section and kept imagining a snake under every rock. I passed by three more groups of Boy Scouts. Every time I approached they got out of my way. I was glad to see that these scout leaders had properly informed the boys on trail etiquette; the hiker going uphill always has the right of way. 

After the steady stream of Boy Scouts, I only had a few more miles to go until I got to Caledonia State Park. A beautiful park with a swimming pool and snack bar. I didn't pay to go swimming, but I did enjoy a large ice cream cone of mint rocky road with a 32 oz Mt. Dew. I sat in the shade at a picnic table and watched all of the families spending a nice afternoon together. I cooked up a pad Thai backpackers meal, which was amazing. By cooking so early in the evening, 5:00, I was able to hike later into the night. I made it to the shelter at 8:00, and had my camp setup by 8:20. This shelter area is pretty spectacular. The caretaker is very serious about his duty. He has potted plants hanging around the shelter and he even put in a sundial. It definitely ranks in my top 3 shelters on the trail to date. 
In front of shelter
Welcome sign and a ducky on the side of the shelter 
Home for the night

"Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home." -Matsuo Basho 


  1. I forgot to mention the people staying at the shelter tonight(it makes The General feel better to know who I'm camped with)
    I caught up to M&M, Clover, and Mia(their dog) and Laces. I also met Little Free Bird.

  2. I am enjoying your history lessons very much. You have some very good-humored comments, today, too. I really like the Dixon jealous of Mason idea! Continue to travel well, Yoda!

  3. A muddy mess it is and enough water to get your feet wet. Hope your feet will be ok.
    Thanks for the history of Mason/Dixon line. Also, what the caretaker did to welcome people.
    Hope the extra food for breakfast helped with your morning. I bet you enjoyed the ice cream and trail magic.
    Glad you had enough cell to call dad today and he liked the picture of the two of you.
    Try to stay out of way of the rattle snakes!!
    You would never know there is a hammock under the tarp. Kind of cosy looking. Haha
    A man's home is his castle. LY

  4. Loved your phone call today. Keep up the good pace and constant smile - looks good on you!! Dad

  5. LOL, I bet Dixon was like "WTF? My name is first alphabetically!" So you are officially in the North. Good thing winter isn't coming. :)

  6. Welcome to The North and the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania! My home state. I was just in Pine Grove Furnace for the weekend. You aren't far from your mid point. You are doing great, keep on hiking! And try to avoid the 5-0.

  7. Sounds like a full day. I hope you hook up with another hiker or two before you get to the notch or wedge or whatever it's called. No one should do that alone.

  8. Getting the history lessons from you is way more interesting than it ever was in high school!! Keep on keeping on!