Well… These railroad tracks proved to be well trafficked between the hours of 2AM and 5AM. Perfect f*cking timing. What amazing sleep. There’s nothing like the roar of 487,000 tons of steel screaming by your god-damn bed at first light.
Best. Alarm Clock. Ever.
What can I say, that’s what I get for taking the free spot. But hey, at least it’s something to write about. If I had paid $69 plus tax to stay at the swanky little hotel in town, I probably would have had absolutely nothing interesting to talk about. Maybe some nice paintings or something.
I get to talk about how I failed to check my campsite properly before setting up, and how when I woke up for the 12th time in a row at the crack of dawn, I finally gave up trying to sleep next to the trail of Iron Behemoths. I jumped out of my hammock, finally fed up with the calming sound, and step in, I shit you not, human shit. How I didn’t see this the day before was a mystery to me.
Now before I go on ranting, shit is whatever. I’ve dealt with much grosser things in my life (and that smelled worse) than human shit. So my rant has nothing to do with utter disgust of the act of stepping in it.
IT’S THE FACT THAT THE PEOPLE OF BOILING SPRINGS PUT A GOD DAMN PRIVY 10 FEET FROM THE CAMPSITE. FOR F*CKS SAKE.
Ah well, at least it was a real pretty town. Stopped in Cafe 101 for a most excellent breakfast. Ran into the Penn State gal from Pine Grove with her parents lol. So that was cool getting to meet them. Real nice folks.
Getting back out of town was quite a stretch. I recall being in and out of a tiny little forest corridor between fields and then walking through the fields themselves.
At one point, I was just seeing way too many flowers and had to deck my beard out, because it’s spring and duh I gotta attract the ladies. As I frollicked through the fields, I grabbed fistfuls and bunches of various flowers, stuffing them into my beard, in hopes they would stay in place.
I certainly had quite a few day hikers stop to take pictures of/with me along the way. Why hadn’t I been doing this every day?
Shortly thereafter, ran into Gadget and hiked with him for the rest of the day. We stumbled across a stash of swiss rolls that were a most excellent energy boost. We also hiked over several interstates, and talked the about the finer points of being a ground hog vs. a whistle pig.
Also, my feet are really starting to hurt today. I talked with Gadget about any ideas, and maybe I should go ahead and order another pair of Superfeet. But my boots are so close to dead… Should I wait? Uh the challenges…
Towards the end of the day, we made one last hard push across an open field area. We could see a massive storm headed our way.
“You think it’s gonna hit us? They always do” Gadget said.
“Nah, I think we’ll just barely make it”.
So off we went, steamrolling through these seemingly endless fields. We could see the storm gaining on us, the sky becoming steadily darker, and darker. Large clouds rolling in from the west, carrying their auspicious misty grey area underneath that shrouds like a curtain of water. From our vantage point, the sky north looked clear. The farther we hiked, the clearer the west began to look, but it was still going to be a close call. And I am no means a meteorologist. Rain control was deployed anyway as a precaution. By the time we got to the base of our first mountain of the day, we kept on pushing to get to camp before it hit us. We hiked on together in silence, mostly in anticipation of being hit by the inevitable storm.
After 1000 feet of elevation gain, we got to a small overlook, that had a bench carved out of the stone in the side of the mountain. The sky above us seemed clear, so we stopped to take a break. And when we sat there for a moment and looked back south where we had come from, we realized we had in fact out run the storm.
We sat there for a good 20 minutes, watching the cloud roll over like a gigantic snail, leaving behind a sopping wet, saturated earth behind it. From the front to the end, we watched the entire thing scoot across the horizon like in a movie. It sounds so simple, but it was such a moving moment. I had never actually watched an entire storm cloud roll in, proceed to wreck havok, and roll away leaving only the healing warmth of the sun all in the span of less than 30 minutes. Normally I was always IN the storm, living, breathing and feeling it. It’s something else to actually watch it go by right in front of your eyes.