One day when I was planning on doing 25 miles it was going to be in the upper 90s. I also knew the terrain would be open fields, and I would bake in the sun. I was not excited about this. So, to combat this I was going to get up super early and do some early morning hiking. The thought was to get up at 3am and get hiking by 4am. I have done similar crazy things when training for a marathon and I have to run my 20 milers before going somewhere at 8am. So, I figured I could do this. Although running on the flat, familiar roads of South Dakota would be different than the rocky unknown trails of PA. This was the plan until I couldn’t figure out how to set my watch alarm. I do not wake up on my own at 3am. So, i figured I would get up when I got up. That happened to be about 4:50 and I was on the trail a little after 5:20am. No one else in the shelter was up. They all thought I was crazy. Well, I never said I wasn’t. 🙂 It was a gorgeous morning and I didn’t even need my headlamp. I went through Boiling Springs, got rid of my garbage and met a dog walker. Very pretty town.
There were tons of spider webs and I think my face was totally covered and my hair had it’s own netting. The terrain was fairly flat as I went through fields and some woods. It was as if the trail crew wanted to remind us that we were in fact on the AT as they would take us into the woods for a brief time before coming back out into the field. There were corn fields and some was really short and some was tall. It made me think of South Dakota. This is the PA I have seen and enjoy. It was very pretty and a nice change from seeing only trees.
I got to the Darlington Shelter a few minutes after noon. This meant that I did 18.4 miles in 6 hours and 40 minutes. There were definitely some times
when I was walking four miles per hour. That is booking it! I think that may be the last time that I do that though. 🙂 The rocks of PA are calling. After a 2 hour break to wait out the heat I finished by walk by going down a mountain and through some more fields where I felt the heat a lot more. Then to the Cove Mt. Shelter. Lots of rocks before that one. There were notices up that there have been porcupine sightings and so we should hang our packs. There were gnawing marks on the wood where people have sat. Porcupines like sweat I guess. I never did see one. I did see a cat though, it was very persistent and wanted food. I did not feed it. It followed me around for awhile. Not sure how she got there.