Day 83: Backpacker’s Campsite to Duncannon, PA

June 5, 2013

Today’s mileage: 26.1
Total mileage: 1142.5

Let me elaborate on a few more details of yesterday before I begin the summary of our marathon hike today.

I was so tired last night, I forgot to mention that I fell. No, not in the dark when I could has easily tripped over a rock. I clumsily got my feet caught up in a loose stick on the trail earlier yesterday. I scraped up my left shin and somehow managed to stab the back of my leg with my hiking pole. Sweet. I sat there for a moment feeling the pain and watching the blood beginning to ooze from my fresh wounds. Miles wasn’t far ahead of me, but he had his headphones on, so he didn’t hear me fall. I hoisted myself up and kept hiking. What else was there to do? At least the searing pain on my leg helped me forget how much my feet hurt.

So, last night we go to bed after getting into camp at 11:00 PM. Around midnight, I fall asleep, only to be woken up by an approaching train blowing its horn as it raced down the tracks. On our map, the railroad does appear close to the campsite, but we didn’t realize that it was actually right next to the tracks! The train approaching woke me up suddenly. And when you’re half-asleep, it sounds like there’s a train coming right at you. Well, it almost was really. I fell back asleep after the split second of fear passed and the train cars headed west. We had the pleasure of passing trains waking us up all night. About every hour, a train went by, the click clack of the wheels, the roaring engine, and the blaring whistle waking me up every single time. Anyways, I wouldn’t recommend camping there if you like sleeping.

Now, let’s focus on today.

After our erratic night of sleep, we packed up and headed into Boiling Springs for a quick resupply. We were planning a long day into Duncannon, so we didn’t need to buy much food since we would be in town tonight. We signed the log book at the ATC Mid-Atlantic Headquarters, filled up our water, and began our big day. We had been looking forward to this day for awhile. In our guide book, the terrain is almost completely flat for thirteen miles, so we knew we could move pretty quick through this section. We crossed several roads and mainly hiked along cornfields. It was a nice change of pace with the terrain and the landscape. It was the Pennsylvania I remembered as a kid when we would drive through on our way to Ohio. We even saw three groundhogs today. They quickly dove into their holes when they saw us pass by. Other wildlife sightings today include a small snake, ducks, and ducklings only sighted by Miles.

After hiking 11 miles, we decided to eat lunch at the Scott Farm Trail Work Center. We sat at a picnic table under an old barn roof overhang, reading the log book and eating lots of food. It was another beautiful day and not as hot and humid as it has been recently. The mountain laurels are blooming and we see all sorts of wildlife everyday.

We trekked on back into the mountains after hiking in the Cumberland Valley. We had a couple of uphills before taking another break. We get bored sometimes, as you might imagine, so we like to make up songs. Today’s songs were, “Here Come The Bugs,” to the tune of “Here Comes The Sun,” and “Walking on Tons of Rocks,” also known as “Walking on Broken Glass.” Oh the things we do while thru-hiking.

Our guide book warned us that the last six miles into Duncannon would be very rocky. Wrong. Sure, a couple of sections near the end were very rocky, but the entire section overall wasn’t any worse than other parts that we’ve hiked previously. There were rocks, yes, but nothing to freak out about. Our feet hurt regardless of whether we were hiking through rock fields or not, so I just let my music fuel me the rest of the way.

We are now in Duncannon after our longest mileage day yet! A tenth of a mile short of a full marathon. We hadn’t broken past our previous record of 24 miles until now and it’s been awhile since we set that. We’re tired and sore, but we don’t regret the night hiking and long day today. We feel pretty good all things considered. I can tell that my shoes are worn out because my feet start hurting less than ten miles into our day. I’ll have to suffer for another week however. My parents are bringing down my new shoes next weekend when they come to visit. My Oboz have gone almost 700 miles and they will get me through the rest of Pennsylvania. I cannot recommend the Oboz Sawtooth enough. A top notch pair of rugged trail runners.

Miles is down at the bar watching the Bruins game and I’m about to catch up on my journal and then pass out. We’ve had a very busy and exhausting past couple of days, so I’m ready to pass out without the threat of trains waking me up.

I’m going to write up the Q&A post tomorrow, so if there any other questions regarding our thru-hike so far, don’t hesitate to ask!

5 thoughts on “Day 83: Backpacker’s Campsite to Duncannon, PA

  1. Just wondering if you got my package sent to Boiling Springs? Wish I’d packed tortellini but didn’t realize that was a treat for you until after I mailed it.
    You guys are doing great!!!

  2. Just HOW close were you to the train track? That would certainly get my attention (to say the least). Congrats on your longest day yet!

  3. SO, drinking beer at the Doyle, life is good! Rita and I fly to Pa tomorrow for wedding in York……may stop at Doyle for a Yuengling myself……..keep smiling and mile-ing!…….Sherpa
    I remember my long day thru Cumberland Valley in 2003, 29 miles — my biggest, and most exhausting day!

  4. The Dirty Doyle, second best burger on the trail, after the Little Red Hen Diner in Andover ME. Congratulations on the marathon day, can’t remember if you had one yet. You’ll definitely be at DWG by the 16th. FYI, Palmerton is a great trail town, and easy hitch in from the trail head at the stop light.

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