Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 83: The Duncannon “Zero”

May 29: I spent the morning doing work on my laptop. Today, I decided, would be a zero day! Because I really did have a lot of work to catch up on. I did, however, get an email from Chuckles and Little Red saying that they expected to roll into town by around 10:30 or 11:00, so I figured I’d go out and meet them. It had been awhile since I saw them last!


A small memorial along the trail near where I waited for Chuckles and Little Red.


By around 10:00, I headed out and south on the trail. I didn’t go into the woods, though—just the streets of Duncannon closer to where the trail entered the town. I stopped at a gas station convenience store where I bought some snacks and waited for them to stroll into town at a picnic table in the shade on the opposite side of the street.


They strolled into town, right when they said they expected to, and I walked with them to the BBQ joint where I caught up with Heavyweight and Superman the day before. I hadn’t eaten there yet myself and was more than happy to give it a try now. =)


We caught up on each of our adventures along the trail. They told me that Blueberry was behind them on the trail—somehow I had passed Blueberry without knowing it, but he expected to get into town later that evening. Blueberry! It’s been so long since I last saw Blueberry!


Chuckles and Little Red didn’t intend to stop for the night in town, though. They wanted to resupply then hit the trail again. Although I didn’t plan to leave town today, I did still need to resupply so joined them walking up the road to the supermarket—a terrifying road to walk on with no shoulders or sidewalks. I spent much of the time walking on the opposite side of the crash barriers trying not to slide down the slope. Fortunately, it was a short walk and we all made it to the supermarket without being struck by any vehicles.


A mural in the parking lot of the BBQ restaurant where we stopped for lunch.


When we entered the store, an employee asked if if we were thru-hiking. We answered affirmatively, and he asked if we had walked up the road. Well, yes, we did. Then he told us that they’d give us a ride back into town when we were done shopping—just go to the customer service window and ask for it. Sweet! Now that is some pretty awesome customer service! The road here really wasn’t very long, but it’s a dangerous one to walk on. They didn’t want hikers walking on the road!


We did our shopping. I finished before Chuckles and Little Red and waited outside for them, then we waited a few extra minutes for the shuttle driver to pull up and we loaded our new-found merchandise into the minivan.


The driver dropped us off back at the BBQ place where we had left the trail.


Then we walked to the Doyle where they stopped briefly to drink some sodas and recharge their smartphones. They didn’t really have to stop at the Doyle, but they’d heard so much about it that they wanted to stop and check out the legendary place.


The BBQ joint where we stopped for lunch.


And I had such a great time chatting with them, I decided to walk them out to the edge of town as well. I needed more steps in any case. I still hadn’t reached my 10K quota for the day!


The trail continued through town. The trail itself technically went one block over and followed a street parallel to the one the Doyle was on, but a local man said that that was stupid and all of the businesses and bars were on this street. So we “blue-blazed” the trail, following the main street through town rather than the residential street one block off.


I walked with them for another two miles over utterly flat terrain through to the edge of town, eventually crossing the Susquehanna River over a long bridge before crossing a railroad track and diving into the woods. At this point, I finally said farewell and turned back towards town. I didn’t mind walking with them over the flat, easy ground, but as soon as the trail dived into the trees and started heading uphill, that was far enough! =)


On the way back, I stayed on the official AT rather than the parallel road I had followed out and took photos along the way. I still planned to walk it the next day, but just in case the light was better now, I wanted to take photos today for Walking 4 Fun. I might not use them, but I’d rather have the photos and not use them than want the photos and not half them!


Mulzabaugh’s is a wonderful supermarket that even shuttled us back to the trail!


Back at the Doyle, later in the evening, I sat out on the second-floor porch and waited for some letterboxers to arrive. I had announced that I’d be there that evening if anyone wanted to come out for exchanges, and Red Crusader and Ralph Spoilsport took me up on it.


And near dusk, who did I see but Blueberry walking down the trail towards the Doyle. Blueberry came up and joined us for a bit and I asked about the ‘trap’ he had laid for me (two states ago!) and he admitted that he didn’t really have anything up his sleeve—he just wanted to make me ‘worry.’ =) He left his pack next to us then headed out to look for some dinner.


After Red Crusader and Ralph Spoilsport left, I was left by myself with Blueberry’s pack. I didn’t want to leave it unattended, so I took it up to my room where I locked the door, then headed back into town to look for Blueberry. It’s not a big town and there aren’t that many places to get dinner. I soon found him and told him that I put his pack in my room for safe keeping. That done, I went back to my room and got out my laundry to do. I did intend to get back on the trail the next day and I wanted some clean clothes when I did it!


And that was my day. In the end, I got very little actual work done but had a wonderful day just relaxing and catching up with others. It seemed like my first zero day where I actually didn’t do much work of any type—not hiking or online. I called it a zero day, but technically, by walking Chuckles and Little Red out of town, I had completed about two more miles of the trail so even then it wasn’t a “true” zero day. A zero day in spirit, perhaps!


Blueberry got a bed at the Doyle, sharing a room with two other hikers. I returned his pack before we headed off for sleep, but I had a hunch I’d be seeing a lot more of Blueberry in the near future… =)


A mural further into town.


This has to be the creepiest trash can I’ve ever seen!


Plane crash!!!!


Chuckles is hiking across the Susquehanna River.


View overlooking the Susquehanna River.


Little Red is about to head back into the woods and up a steep hill just behind those railroad tracks in the background. This would be as far as I’d walk with them! I didn’t know it at the time, but it would also be the last time I ever saw them on the trail. Now I’m really glad I spent the afternoon hanging out with them! =)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being a letterboxer - glad to hear that folks came out to do an exchange. Fun. I wondered if you carried your letterboxing paraphernalia with you! I've been waiting to hear about Blueberry's trap...although it was a little less than I expected - it's still great that it caused you (and your readers) to keep wondering what was up...and waiting... which was exactly the purpose. :o)