Appalachian Trail Mile 1125.4

Monday, July 24, 2017 (Day 82)

I was rained on last night. I tried not to set up my tent. I tried to drape it over myself. This was silly. Eventually, I just set the darn thing up.

It was not terribly late when I rose. It was not early either. In an effort to save time I opted for caffeine pills in place of my usual cup of coffee. Round and bright yellow in the palm of my hand, I popped two in my mouth and packed up, ready for the day.

It was not long before I developed a slight head-buzz, with a gentle undertone of relative certainty that I may very well be a crazy person.

A nice, hot shower is just what I need, I thought. I was only about a mile from Pine Grove Furnace State Park. They have a restroom there with free showers.

Before reaching the park, I passed Ironmasters Mansion Hostel. They had a hiker-box on the front stoop. I rummaged through, as the care-taker came outside. She was extremely amiable. She told me that I was welcome to use the facilities. She showed me an old portion of the building that had been part of the underground railroad. I crawled down and she stomped around on the floor-boards, re-enacting officials in search of escaped slaves. I could not begin to imagine what it must have been like.

I played fractions of classical pieces on the old piano in the dining area. The weight of the keys felt nice beneath my fingers and uneven nails. I bid the kind lady farewell and continued on.

I reached the park and the showers. The water temperature was not adjustable, but being as the temperature was quite perfect, I was happy to be releaved of the burden of calibration. There was no shower head, so the water shot out in a heavy, powerful stream from a pipe in the wall. Just as well, I thought. A gentle showering would not be nearly as efficient. I ripped a corner of the plastic trash bag and used it to collect hand-soap that would serve as both shampoo and body wash. I used my bandana to dry myself as best I could, and wrapped my hair up in a bun. Refreshed? I asked myself. Yes. Yes, I think so.

I felt very peaceful walking the tree-lined gravel road which reconnected me to the trail.

I stopped at the Green Mountain General Store just off of PA route 34. The man at the counter was very kind. I purchased canned beets and navy beans and ate them on the front porch.

I then came to wide pastures and open skies and a setting sun.

I walked through Boiling Springs, PA in time to see a dusky mist settle hauntingly, and beautifully over Boiling Springs Lake.

I purchased a banana and apple from the gas station and ate those with some hiker-box peanut butter for dinner. I enjoyed this on the benches outside of the ATC Regional office, located in town just along the trail.

After passing through the town. The trail crossed road and parking lot and pasture, then repeated.

I walked directly in to a large spiderweb and let out such a squeal of surprise, that I was brought back to childlhood. It is interesting what forms embarrassment takes– a certain mix of amusement and self-realization– when there is no one around to witness.

The spider was not harmed.

I continued to a stream crossing and found a flat space near the water and slept.

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