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