So far Pennsylvania rocks....literally and figuratively! The trail is only getting better and better. Today marks 228 miles since Shenandoah NP (March 25th). However, we are just now getting to the "rocky" section. The PA/NJ border is in our near future (~150 miles to go)! I don't know if it's surprising to anyone else, but it's surprising to us. And we are feeling GREAT! Hiker strong...AT strong! No more blisters for me!!! Andrew's back is feeling better than it has in the last 13 months! That is HUGE!
A few days ago we were tested though....results being that we are just long distance hikers, not thru-hikers. There were m&ms and pretzels dropped in the trail and we walked right over them. They say you know the difference between a day-hiker and a thru-hiker is that a day hiker steps over the m&m in the trail....a thru-hiker yells, "Oooo someone dropped an m&m!" But, just in the last 24 hours our appetite has sky-rocketed. Last night our dinner ration didn't do much for us. Very quickly we decided to eat another dinner ration knowing that we would be walking through another town tomorrow and would be able to pick up more food. This is where gifts from our trail moms and trail angels have come in handy! The extra bucks from those folks have made our town trips most memorable...fueling our granola and cheeseburger habits!
We have met so many awesome people in the last week! Hikers and towns people, they have all contributed to this once again amazing journey. People are always surprising, and it's humbling being out here and being utterly flabbergasted by people's generosity and kindness. Leaves me speechless.
We saw our first snake today, non-poisonous and fast moving thankfully. Another interesting encounter...last night at the shelter Andrew wakes up to a very loud yet distant chomping noise. He immediately realizes this was the shelter/outhouse violator they had been looking for. So, he jumps out of the tent with his headlamp and camera and finds a porcupine at the privy. It immediately jumps into its defense stance, back side and tail pointed at him. After several minutes it runs out the other side of the privy and up a tree, only to find a gray squirrel coming down the tree to defend its space. HA! What a sight! Andrew got it all on film which you will see later.
We walked into Duncannon, PA, today. Plan was to stop and do laundry, eat a burger, then head north a few miles to the next shelter. After some good food in a very hiker friendly place, chatting with friendly locals, we're staying the night. We'll hit the trail again tomorrow morning and make-up the extra four miles on full bellies! Fun times! Next re-supply stop, Pine Grove, PA.