May9 Alex Kennedy, PA to Darlington Shelter, PA 18.2 miles

Published: May 15th 2009
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Nice quiet night in the shelter. So far this year we have not encountered any shelter mice, and our one other guest did not snore. We were up at 6AM with slightly overcast skies and a light breeze. The other hiker was up at the same time. He ate cold oatmeal while we packed and heated the water. 30 minutes
after he got up he was gone, he had 30.5 miles to get done and was off in a cloud of dust looking like a pack with sneakers. It took us longer, however we were on the trail by 7:20AM early for us. We had 18.2 miles to get done our selves. We had to do this as there is no camping or shelters through the
Cumberland Valley here in PA.
Temp starting out was the mid 50s and quite humid. No rain gear today we were both in shorts, but CC had her ever present hoodie on. The first two miles had a couple of attention getting climbs and CC shed the hoodie before cresting the second mountain top. After these two the next real climb was some 14 miles across the valley, which is an ocean of green rolling farm land. In the not so far past this section was done on paved roads. Now it runs through a "Green Corridor" with only a few short road walk stretches. Boiling Springs was almost four miles into the day taking us just under two hours to walk. We stopped at the AT regional office for a short break then back to walking. The man in the office told us to watch for turkey hunters until the 26th of this month. He went over the days and hours of hunting, which went over our head. After the short stretch of town it was in to the green envelope. CC had her
MP3 player going and was in her mile making zone. Head down, singing and trekking poles flying. The temp was marching up along with the humidity and cloths were getting wet from sweat. Soon enough there was the sound of gun fire to our front and right flank. CC was in swivel head mode trying to fix where it was coming from. It seemed to me to be some organized shoot due to the numbers of rounds going off from different weapons close spaced. Some shotgun some small arms and all getting closer. CC said this must be similar to being is a combat zone, hearing the fire not knowing where it is or where it is pointed. About 15 minutes later we passed a sporting clay range with the Saturday morning shoot
going on and some other stuff going on at a .22 cal area. Miles flew by with all my check points coming quicker than I thought we would do that distance in. We made the halfway point in under four hours. Soon we crossed the PA Turnpike, US11 and the million dollar bridge then I81. It was now pushing 85 degrees with a wind out of the southwest keeping things tolerable, but our feet were saying this feels like the day’s end. Problem was there were six more miles to do with the last two up hill, a steep hill!
After crossing 81 we were technically out of the valley and starting into the foothills and walking the edges of farmer’s fields. Just past our 14th mile we took a break on a bridge marking it with our SPOT. We did something different today. We marked the start of the day and every time we took a break so
Everyone watching our GPS tracker could share our longest walking day so far this year. It is about 8/10s mile short of our all time record of 19 miles in one day last year.
We made it into the shelter right at eight hours after starting total time including breaks. Not bad for a pair of seasoned citizens. There are four young people here tonight and on guy older than us. All supper is finished and we are feeling fairly good after today’s walk. It will probably be the easiest long day we will ever do on the trail. Tomorrow will be 11.3 miles into town and our first showers since hitting the trail nine days ago. A hostel stay, a real bed and maybe even a bathtub soak. That and CC will get her traditional restaurant Mother's Day AT meal. All three years we have made it into town for Mother's Day. Wind is picking up but no signs of rain tonight, should be a comfortable night in the tent.
We have been on the trail nine days, covered 112.5 miles at a daily average of 12.5 miles. CC lost her pedometer today, so the running count of steps has ended.

Patrick, Deborah Mooney aka OD & CC
All Who Wander Are Not Lost


17th May 2009

Hello, My family met your parents at a gas station in PA,(the truck stop off of highway322) a couple days after this entry. I saw their packs and weathered look and knew they were on the trail.We had set of on our own trail a week earlier,with an original intention of starting the A.T..With family in AL who needed some spirits lifted we quickly changed our plans.OD and CC made quite an impact in just a few moments,(very encouraging!!)I can't stop thinking about hiking now that I've met them and can read about their journey,it makes the A.T. seem more realistic. Just thought you might like to know some of the people they've met along the way. Happy Trails to OD and CC! Renee and Tim Hubbard,Port Huron MI
21st May 2009

Thank you for commenting...
I appreciate all of the things you have said about my parents. I forward them all messages and comments they receive, and I know they will enjoy reading what you have written. I hope you are able live out your dream of walking the A.T. and can share your stories with others too. Thank you again, Matt.

Tot: 2.559s; Tpl: 0.04s; cc: 6; qc: 43; dbt: 0.0382s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb