Ohhhhhh yeah. I woke up today, and I had planned it would be a gametime decision whether or not I would hike out of town. After my ambitious last few days (well, first half of the trail, really), I was pretty sure I'd be in Duncannon for another day. I got out of bed onto a stiff shin and hobbled over to the bathroom. I was secretly a little relieved to have an excuse to take a day off. My last and only zero was in Lincoln, NH, almost 700 miles ago if I'm not mistaken. I knew that today would be restorative, so I didn't hesitate to lay back down and relax. Worries crept into my mind about my future on the trail, but those dark clouds were blown away by my excitement to do whatever I wanted today (nothing). I walked across the street for breakfast, eating some french toast and eggs at a reasonable speed for once. Back at the Doyle, I went upstairs to check out the hikers' gear box. I didn't find anything worth taking in the box, but I did discover the Doyle's extensive loaner book collection. It was short on stuff I would normally read, but I didn't mind, picking out a girly mystery novel. I rested in bed and elevated my feet before checking out the nearby coffee shop/thrift store. Coffee was free for some reason, so I didn't argue and sat down to flip through an issue of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's quarterly magazine. One of the employees joked that she would put me to work moving stuff around the store when her grandson got there. I didn't want to take the chance that she really wasn't kidding, and I skedaddled quickly.
After more bedrest, I went downstairs to play on the computer. To my surprise, I met two nobos and a sobo named Sole. I had been following him for a while, reading his entries in the trail registers, but at some point I must have passed him. Now he had been reading my entries and was excited to catch up to me. He's a fresh-faced recent high school grad who has a pretty similar mindset to the one I have had. He wakes up early and makes big miles, determined to fly through this bland region of trail. Sounds like he'll keep flying after Harper's Ferry, though. That isn't something I can say about myself. I have a visitor and a couple zeros to look forward to, after which I still intend on moving more slowly. Who knows what my pace will be, though. Later on, Bernie also came and got himself a room at the inn. It was great to have company, and to top it off my shin steadily felt better despite remaining grotesquely swollen. I iced and elevated it, taking ibuprofen as the day went on. MEDICAL PEOPLE: don't worry, I didn't take enough to make my stomach bleed.
The three sobos grabbed dinner and talked about changes we've made on the trail. It was a very philosophical conversation. We soaked it in that the halfway point is in only 50 miles. Sole wondered aloud what other challenges could even stop us at this point. I glanced down nervously at my shin, but shook the feeling. If anything, this injury has forced me to look inward and see what would stop me. I know I won't be out of commission forever, and my desire to finish the trail has never been stronger. I can take time to rest if need be, but I'm nowhere near quitting. I'll evaluate the situation in the morning, but I'm packing my pack tonight due to sheer optimism. I foresee myself hiking out tomorrow. Tune in to see what happens!
Nobo count: 2
Sobo count: 2.5