Day mileage: 0.5
AT total mileage: 1,079.0
After finishing my long day of hiking, I slept. I slept like a professional. Despite my tiredness, I woke up for the first time around 5 AM, since that's now a habit of hiking the Trail. I checked my e-mails, and rolled over to go back to sleep. There had been a comment posted on the blog the day before from a PA resident and blog reader who offered any kind of assistance he could while I was in the area between Pennsylvania and Maryland. Despite the amount of planning I put into hiking my long day, I never thought beyond it. Cutting weight out, I didn't have much in the way of high calorie snacks for post-long-distance-hiking. Looking forward, it seemed I would have a few days before there would be a town to resupply in. Fingers crossed, I emailed Shannan via the contact provided in my comments section and asked about the likelihood of any assistance. I received a phone call not 30 minutes later from him which I slept through, but via text we soon after communicated and he offered to pick me up and take me shopping for food. Trying not to push my luck with such an amazing offer, I asked if he'd be willing to wait for Pneumo to make the 10 mile trek from the shelter he stayed at the night before. Shannan was more than willing to wait, and we made a plan for noon to meet where the Appalachian Trail crossed Pennsylvania's US-30.
When I exited my tent to pee, I turned around and noticed I was in the presence of a U.S. Park Ranger. Shy of saluting the authority in front of me, I said hello and asked how he was. He inquired as to whether or not I was aware of my being in the middle of a state campground. I replied that I was not, and he sternly asked me to dismantle my tent and move along before other campers saw me. Completely understanding the riots that would occur if other campers saw an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker camped alongside a river out of a designated camping area, I obliged and 'moved along'. Pneumo and I met up and walked back to the road crossing in great time for Shannan to pull up in the breakdown lane of the road to pick us up. Driving a Jeep, once we were underway I inquired as to how Shannan found my blog. It turns out he's also a member on JeepForum.com, a Jeep enthusiast website that I've been an active member on for many years. The power of the Internet is amazing. We headed into Fayetteville, and stopped off first at the Dollar General to resupply. A quick and beneficial stop, we then headed to a local diner for lunch and great conversation. As I've said before, it's fascinating to meet an otherwise stranger who knows so much about my recent life events. Shannan has begun hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail after living locally his whole life, and actually recently section-hiked part of the trail I hiked through the day before. After a delicious lunch of a cheeseburger and buffalo chicken salad, we headed across the street to the somewhat defunct Scottish Motor Inn. Pneumo had raised the idea of taking a zero day, as I was having difficulty walking, and Shannan weighed in that it wouldn't be a bad idea. I'm stubborn, and hesitant to take a day off, but for $35 each it was worth a day and night in a hotel. Checking in, we unloaded our shopping bags and parted ways with Shannan who was off to get some work done before spending the night with his wife for her birthday. I thanked him profusely for his incredible generosity and unbelievably perfect timing in my moment of need, and we parted ways. Shannan, thank you again.
Pneumo and I spent the afternoon relaxing, doing laundry, and watching TV. Packing up food and taking a hot shower, I didn't again move from the bed. Today was the first time I looked in a mirror and really saw weight loss in myself. My collarbone is much more prominent, neck and chin are thinner, and I've realized I'm starting to look like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. The goal by tsking a day off was to let the swelling in my feet subside, and I obliged by simply watching TV and dunking chewy chocolate chip cookies in cold milk. Heaven comes in many forms, this one was a cheap and outdated roadside motel in Fayetteville, PA. Bedtime came around 2200hrs, turning off the still-hysterical Owen Wilson movie 'Wedding Crashers'. It took quite a while to write yesterday's long blog post so I worked on that until I fell asleep.
Windows open, AC turned on in fan mode, and my clean smelling sleeping bag set me up for a great night of sleep. Tomorrow the plan is 25 or so miles, of which Pneumo's dad will be joining us for some of. Despite my not wanting to take the day off, it was a good decision. I hiked two and a half days of mileage in one day, so I think I earned this one. If nothing else, two zero days in 1,079 miles isn't unreasonable.
Today we rested. Tomorrow we move on.