I am wondering if you find my blogs confusing. One day I tell you we are hungry but three days away from an opportunity to shop so we have to stick to our food budget. At other times I post photo after photo of shops and towns. And in between I talk about trail magic. So how remote is this “scenic nature trail” really.
In the Drakensberg you can walk for days without seeing anybody other than other hikers, and being 50km from the closest town. That is really remote. But compared to the 3600km of this trail the Drakensberg covers a tiny area. 3600km on the eastern side of the USA can’t be all remote.
Sometimes the trail is in a forest (because in spite of the photos I post 95% of the trail is in the woods) very far from any town or development. Other times the trail runs through a narrow strip of forest surrounded by towns. I would say that the Southern part of the trail (where we started, remember we are NOBO: north bound) was more remote, the area we have been in over the last 2 weeks is probably less remote, and I think the last third of the trail will be quite remote again.
The trail can stay in the woods, or can cut across roads (some of these roads have gas stations with shops not too far off the trail – Trevor’s detour cold drink stops; others lead to towns a few miles away), and at times can go straight through towns (Hot Springs, Damascus, Daleville, Harpers Ferry, Boiling Springs).
Today the trail went through Duncannon, and if I knew what a lovely little river&trail town it is I would have chosen to stay here rather than in Boiling Springs.
The Doyle Hotel has apparently been frequented by hikers for many years, it is said that it is terrible but sort of a right of passage – any decent thru-hiker should spend a night here (a tradition we didn’t know about):
We bought food for the next few days, then had breakfast at Goodies. This place says Hikers Welcome and they really mean it. The food is good and well priced, the coffee is bottomless with granny walking around with the coffee pot topping up your cup constantly, there are charge points so you can charge your phones while eating – they give you good service, value for money but above all, they really make you feel welcome. We saw a lot of our fellow hikers we haven’t seen for a few days (or some even a few weeks) there so it felt like a happy reunion.
After breakfast we went back onto the trail, the route ran along a residential area before going over a bridge and then back into the woods, climbing high enough to get this view:
We had a few tense minutes when Trevor (around 13h) asked what’s for lunch. I couldn’t believe he wanted to eat again after that big breakfast at 9h. He couldn’t believe that I didn’t budget for lunch just because we had breakfast….Luckily I bought a packet of crisps which I was going to give to him as a treat, it then became his lunch.
His mild dissatisfaction with how I run my minestery evaporated when we walked over a bridge into a parking area and found a trail angel spreading trail magic. Iceman is spoiling us, he came to offer trail magic again today! It was quite funny that later, after we left him and were walking, a young couple we haven’t met before overtook us, asked whether we were the South Africans, and when we said yes they said ‘thnx for letting us get trail magic’. Hikers normally ask trail angels what make them do trail magic, and Iceman probably said he is out here to support a South African couple (I hope he didn’t say an elderly South African couple 😀), so we got thanked for his generosity!!
Oh Trevor probably wouldn’t want me to tell you but he took a bit of a tumble today, I’m not sure how it happened but there was a fallen tree obstructing the trail and after he climbed over it he crashed down onto a rock, his shoe must have caught onto something as he stepped over the log. His knee is a bit sore so I hope he won’t be stiff tomorrow.
We are walking in a very rocky area at the moment. Often there are “staircases” built with big rocks. We were stunned to find a big flat rock fashioned into a bench. At Iceman’s trail magic we met somebody who is from a hiking club maintaining this part of the trail and he told us the ATC has a team going out doing this type of work on the trail, they call themselves the RockStars!!!