Currently sitting at the picnic table...
The mood this morning was mildly grim; the vacation was coming to a close. I continued to steam-shovel food into my mouth, but the end was nigh. I took one last shower just because I could, and it was back into the hiking clothes for me. I had been masquerading as a civilian for the last few days in clothes from home. Both my mom and I dragged our feet since it was hard to say goodbye. It's been difficult to hike away from people I like. I couldn't imagine turning my back and walking away from someone I loved. We drove to where the AT crossed the road and walked the tenth of a mile out of Pennsylvania together. Then there was nowhere to go. We stopped for a few last pictures and hugs but walked off in opposite directions. For me, it was somehow tougher than saying goodbye in Maine. I hiked in a funk for a while, but I knew in the back of my mind that this was temporary. I passed through Pen Mar park and enjoyed a view of the Maryland countryside. I was treated to more of the same at High Rock. Why couldn't Pennsylvania reward its hikers' effort like this? Anyways, I stopped to take a look at Raven Rock Shelter. It was another immaculate Potomac Appalachian Trail Club temple. The floors were lacquered. Again, I lamented that I couldn't stay the night and headed on.
Maryland has a few of those rocks for which Pennsylvania is famous, but the rocky stretches were short and far between. I could focus and hike without pain, a reward for taking time off to rest. It didn't hurt that the rest of the trail was like walking on a cushy bike path. I bumped into a mother-daughter team hiking south. They had started at Katahdin but avoided the high-water river crossings, leap-frogging to Monson. They ended up getting off the trail in Andover to take some time off, but now they're starting south from the Mason-Dixon line. I enjoyed talking and hiking with them until we reached Pogo Campsite, my intended stop for the day. I had, however, been toying with the idea of going an extra three miles in order to stay in a shelter and to not deal with setting up the tent for the night. I decided it was worth it and bid my hiking partners farewell. The next three miles were nice and easy, making me think I made the right choice. I'm alone here unfortunately, but I have the sound of I-70 to drift me off to sleep. It was a little tough not to make the split-second decision to hop in the car and head for the southern mountains or even for home, but I've found that it's best not to let impulsive quitting notions take hold. They are sometimes intense but almost always ephemeral. Starting the hike today was like jumping in a cold swimming pool. I just had to do it, and the rest took care of itself.
Nobo count: 0
Sobo count: 0