Packed up and headed up the hill where I met a day walker who needed to ring home as he thought he had left his coffee perculator on at home but at the same time had forgotton his phone. We found some reception at the top of the next hill and I lent him my phone. He then walked me into Boiling Springs offering plenting of useful advice about walking in the Whites along the way. The day was very drizzley and humid.
I called in at the Mid Atlantic ATC Office. As I came out of the door who should be coming down the pathway but Thumper and Dog Whisperer. I thought I had missed them and they were in front of me. I had a lovely brunch with them before they headed into Carlisle to resupply. Walked through flat farmland and across many roads. All the streams were contaminated and I was starting to think I would have to drink from the next one anyway, when i came across some trail magic in the form of bottled water and cold tea. Just finished drinking my fill when a big dog came bowling along the track and straight into the stream. Never was I so glade for the trail magic.
I finally came to the last road crossing but half way up the hill I could still hear traffic and the never ending rifle shots (People from Pennsylvania love their guns). At least I thought there are no lawn mowers going. (these people love their lawn mowers as much as their guns). Next minute one started up. Came to the last reliable spring before heading up to the shelter with no reliable spring. The choice was obvious to me even if it felt like Ground Hog Day and I had to climb the hill as soon as I got up in the morning.
Day started off fine and hot. Dilly Dallied looking at the Pine Grove Furnace. The iron furnace was from one of the most productive iron communities of the 19 century. Waded through throngs of Americans setting up for Independance Day. Some of the thru hikers were going to stick around for the day as they saw an opportunity for free food.
Had lunch with The General at a Deli .2 of a mile off the track. I asked for a pottle of chips like my mate outside had. The people behind the counter looked at each other in confusion and then did really well at interpreting what I had said.
Got to the rock maze and was unimpressed I had to take my pack off to get up and over a rock then realized I could have gone around it.
Got to Little Dogwood Run and it looked like rain. I couldn’t be bothered going up the hill to a shelter that had an unreliable water source when I had a lovely campsite right by the stream. Just as I got set up it started to rain
Got to Toms Run Shelter and found out a rattle snake had been chased and killed and then hacked to pieces for its rattle. I was pretty upset about it.
Made Pine Grove Furnace just after lunch and heard all about the 1/2 gallon ice cream challenge in which you have to eat this amount in 30 minutes’ from Thumper. Dry whisperer had booked a campsite for Thumper, himself me and The General. It was a bit of a walk but Dog Whisperer insisted on taking my pack as he had already been to the site. Thought about going onto the lakes about 1 mile away for a swim but the showers at the camping ground were just too tempting.
Later went back to the shop where there was internet and tried to do my blog. A film Crew were filming some girls that had just done the icecream challenge and Thumper was busy inviting all and sundry especially if they were female back to our campsite. Lost and Found arrived and I took great delight in watching her try to make her self sick doing the challenge.
Went back to our site to find it crowded. Dog whisperer wanted to know how it had got that way and I dobbed Thumper in telling Dog Whispererhis nephew had put up A sign welcoming everyone to the site. The Ranger came around and tried very hard to ignore there were so many people on the site. All of theat were meant to be there found it very funny.
Everyone between Rocky Mountain Shelters and Route 30 were off to an early start as they wanted breakfast in Fayetteville.
I was hoping for a shower at Caledonia State Park so kept goingto a nice suprise the other side of the road crossing, some trail magic in the form of icy cold drinks. Had to wait too long for the pool with the showers to open and there was no laundry so kept going.
Got to Birch Shelter to Find Dog Whisperer and Thumper there. Sunny arrive right on dark with her trail family. They had spent the day at the pool and did what had taken me all afternoon to do in 2 hours. I felt very frustrated I had to keep going all the time rather than be able to take long breaks, then walk fast to catch up.
Some late comers arrived and camped almost on top of me when they had heaps of camping spots to choose from. I wasn’t happy as they kept me awake clomping backwards and forwards past my head.
Pretty uneventful day. Had lunch at Old Forge Picnic Grounds with Turtle and Pussyfoot. They wanted to wit for me but I knew I was too slow for them and told them to go on Thumper and Dog Whisperer have hiked on to next major road so they can spend the night at Fayetteville.
Lunch at Raven Rock. I could not pick up any water as the water was 0.3 down a steep side trail. It was too hot to go there. Thought I might find some water at High Rock.
No water at High Rock just a circus as someone was getting married on the rock which was covered in graffiti. It looked awful. If I was getting married there I think I would have got everyone I could to clean it.
Very hot and trying to get to Pen Mar Park but found the start of the dreaded Pennslyvania rock. Rounded boulders ankle size that you cant walk between and cant walk on top of with any speed. The 2 boys I had met at Jim and Molly Denton Shelter overtook me but kindly gave me enough water to make it to Pen Mar.
There was a sort of shop at Pen Mar but it was closed for the weekend which didn’t make sense. You could order pixxa if you were at Pen Mar by a certain time. Thumper and Dog Whisperer were, the boys and I wern’t. We were hanging out for a soda and debated gate crushing the kids birthday party at one end of the park or the wedding reception, (from the wedding on the rock at the other end of the park), or at least asking for scraps. The music from the reception decided us to move on even though the views were fantastic.
Crossed into Pennslyvania and camped with Thumper and Dog Whisperer at Falls Creek Canpsite. Thumper thought I looked hungry and tried to off load some of his squashed cold pizza onto me. Lovely thought but I wasn.t hungry enough.
Up to Washington Monument for morning tea on a very warm day.
Lunch at Pine Knob Shelter.. Deviated to Annapolis Rock. Ordinary camping area but nice view. Spring was too hard to find.
Water was spose to be unreliable at Cowell Shelter. I dont know whuy as there was a nice flowing almost river. Went to look for Thumper and Dog Whisperer and eventually found them. All three of the campsites were taken up and any other level space had been used as a toilet or to dump rubbish. I was very disappointed that people could be so dirty. I ended up camping nearly on top of Dog Whisperer.