Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 82- Milestones, Markers, And Challenges

June 22, 2015 
Quarry Gap Shelter(1084.8) to Stealth Campsite(1104.5) 19.7 Miles

I like days with achievements and today was chalk full of them. We got a good deal of rain overnight, which meant another day of sloppy trail. I was up at my normal time, but it took my slightly longer than normal to leave camp. I had my hammock hung .1 miles north of the shelter, which meant that I had to walk .2 miles to get my food bag and return to my hammock. Instead of heating water up for oatmeal, I ate it cold. It was actually pretty good like that. After breakfast I packed my bag and hit the trail at 7:30. I was full of excitement all morning. Today was the day that I officially crossed the halfway point at 1,094.6. I had about 10 miles to hike to get there and I was moving right along. I spent the morning flip-flopping with, Tree Beard, Burl, Little Free Bird, Mia, Clover, and M&M. It was a nice easy hike except for the muddy sections. I did my best to keep my feet clean and dry, but I did step in a few big puddles. Every time my shoes would dry out, I stepped on one. The morning went by so quickly that I was surprised when I heard, Little Free Bird call out in joy. I have officially hit the halfway point. I have taken approximately 2.5 million steps in 82 days and walked one thousand and ninety four point two miles. 
The sign was pretty unremarkable

I was disappointed with the sign. I thought it would be more grandiose. The official halfway point was at a road called, Dead Woman's Hollow. I'm guessing that at some point in history a woman was found dead at this location, but it didn't have a name so from that point on they called it, Dead Woman's Hollow. 
Better sign than the halfway point

I decided that this would be a good point to stop and have an early lunch. I didn't want to eat lunch too late in the day because I was going to a state park later in the day. 

Shortly after lunch I caught back up with Tree Beard and Burl. They showed me how to recognize blueberry bushes. They are starting to produce berries now and for the next two weeks we should be able to pick them. 
Fresh Blueberry
Blueberry Bush

I spent the next part of the afternoon focused on making it to the 1,100 mile point. I was walking so fast that I almost missed this....
Official Halfway Point Sign

The trail mileage changes every season due to reroutes. It not logical to move the sign every year, so the ATC puts a picture of the sign at the official halfway point and this sign stays in the same place(4 miles further down the trail this year). If you look closely at my first picture you can see this sign in it. 

From there it was only one and a half miles to the 1,100 mile marker. I was excited to see what it would be today, but was disappointed and excited to see there wasn't one. I like making them, but it is time consuming and I wanted to get to Pine Furnace Grove SP at a decent time. 
There was nobody around to take my picture with it and I couldn't get it in a selfie 

Once the mile marker was made I hurried as fast as my tired legs would carry me. Pine Furnace Grove SP is home of the half gallon ice cream challenge. It is tradition for thru-hikers to participate. I went with, cookies and cream ice cream. My favorite is mint chocolate chip, but I thought that might get old after a pint or two. I managed to eat it all in 22 minutes. All 1,920 calories of ice cream didn't stand a chance. 
I think I need a nap

PFGSP has a lake with free swimming. After binging on ice cream I sat around for 30 minutes. My tummy was a little queasy. Eventually I moved on down to the lake. I decided to go swimming in my running shorts and sports bra, it was like a bath and shower all in one. The water was ice cold and refreshing. 
Lake with a beach

Laces, Mia, Clover, M&M, and I walked another couple of miles to a sweet camp site just off of the trail. We cooked a small dinner and hung out for awhile before bed. I've known them for a while, but we have never camped so closely to one another. We took this chance to examine each other's gear. It's nice having a dog in camp, we played fetch for awhile during dinner and in not worried about bears tonight. Tomorrow, due to camping restrictions around Boiling Springs, PA, we have a short 14 mile day. I'm going to take my time hiking so I don't get to camp at 2:00. 

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles." -Anne Frank


  1. What an exciting day for you. A big congratulations on half way point and I like your trail marker (sticks & stones)
    A half gallon ice cream and a swim, what could be better!! Do they give hikers a discount on the ice cream challenge?
    I bet it is a little comforting to have dog around camp. Shoo bears!
    I finished A Walk in the woods, didn't care for the ending.
    All I can say about this quote is, Amen. LY

  2. Congrats on making the halfway point. Yes I agree the sign should have flashing lights or something ;) it's a long way you have come. I see you polished off that half gallon challenge...wtg The story behind Dead Woman"s Hollow is. What is in a name?
    You can find some colorful names along the length of the Appalachian Trail. Names such as Charlie’s Bunion and
    Tar Jacket Ridge make the trail a more interesting place. So when you find a called Dead Woman Hollow along the trail, it is always worth a hike and a little research. The truth about this place is even stranger than the name and chronicled in both a book and a movie. Dead Woman Hollow got its name by the fact that a woman, whose identity been long forgotten, was bitten by a snake and died in this hollow. From that time, the hollow was referred to by locals as Dead Woman Hollow. As reported in "The Potomac Appalachian May 2014 volume 43 Number 5" So now ya know.

    1. Thanks for the history lesson! I love learning about stuff like this. I know you had a few hammock questions. Email me at 5millionstepswithyoda@gmail.com and I'll get back to you. Sorry for the delay in responding.

  3. Congratulations on making the real halfway point after the psychological one in Harper;s Ferry! And I find eating half a gallon of icecream another accomplishment! Safe hiking.

  4. Congrats, Katie on being halfway there! Wow!!! And your quote today gives one time for pause and reflection on what great gifts the outdoors and nature bring to all of us. Your trip has given you many hours to meditate, contemplate, and just feel pure joy in what beauty abounds, and what it means to accomplish goals, many of them certainly not easy ones! Also, you are experiencing an appreciation for those of various stripes and talents who are journeying with you! Hike on, Yoda....and keep taking us with you! Happy Trails!!!

  5. Yay, well done! (For both halfway and the icecream)

  6. Enjoyed meeting you at Harpers Ferry...we met you near the Jefferson Rock...I asked you how you enjoyed breakfast at the Eco Lodge...Joel...

    1. It was great meeting you. As you can tell I love talking to people about the trail and sharing my experiences.

  7. Congrats on the half way point, that's great!!

  8. Oh to be able to eat a half gallon of ice cream without any guilt!!! Good for you:)
    Hooray for half way!!!! Hoping to see you next month!!!

  9. THIS was a good day! So proud of you on many levels!