I can actually say, it was cold this morning. I actually jogged a little to warm up! Hey, I rather that than 95 and humid! For not being a morning person, the morning in the woods is my favorite time. From 6:30am until 10:30am flies by, the afternoon seems to drag. This morning the rays of the sun were so beautiful through the trees, I walked alongside a creek and then through a recreational camping park. As I was nearing the edge of the park; I saw two pickup trucks parked, I was ready to climb a steep ascend to the trail when someone was closing in on me. I saw a man walking from the parking lot to my right and I was heading to meet him before I went up. I said a friendly hello, and then realized he was waiting for me; it was Barefoot Carver! I was so bummed out yesterday that I had missed him and his trail magic spoons, and here he was meeting me! He pulled out his Crown Royal bag of handcarved spoons and asked me which one I would like. He singled out a cherry one that he said he thought I would like, and I chose the one he chose for me. My smile was from ear to ear. The walk up was one to warm me up! Once the steepest part was over, it was more gradual up through rhododendron tunnels-my favorite. It was still a cool morning and the smell of a woodstove made me reminisce, my favorite smell is woodsmoke. I wondered what it could be since it wasn't a campfire, I walked up to a shelter that had hanging plants and a man sitting with a dog. The shelter read "Innkeeper" so I asked if he was the innkeeper, he replied "no, Jim who lives right behind there takes care of this place" That explains the wood smoke. The shelters in Pennsylvania sure have been nice! From there I walked in a peaceful, dead silent pine forrest. This is my favorite terrain of all, it is so quiet and relaxing. The pine needles act as cushion beneath your feet and you feel so small among the trees. I came down the hill to what looked like a cabin; with a middle aged couple getting water by the stream, and an older woman sitting by the cabin with two dogs. I said hello to the couple, and then walked over toward the woman and said hello; she replied "this is not a shelter, it is private." As her dogs barked their heads off. Sorry, but did I assume it was a shelter? No-I simply said hello and you couldn't even say that. You would think if someone had a cabin on the Appalachian Trail, they would like hikers; or at least be friendly. If I wanted a remote cabin, away from people; the AT would be the last place I would chose. I bit my tongue and left. This had me in a sour mood for a bit, and I kept replaying the scenario in my head until I dropped it. The terrain and weather, much like yesterday was great. I came across someone sitting at a campsite and said hello, when she looked up I realized it was Spike. I stood and talked with her for awhile and then headed on so I would make it to the AT Museum before it closed at 4:00. I sat on a rock around 11:15 to eat lunch and a middle aged couple came up and greeted me with "your not gonna get to Georgia doin that!" Good. I replied, I'm headed to Maine. They asked me some questions and walked on, and then Spike passed me asking if this was the halfway point; nope this is my lunch rock. She hiked on saying she told herself she wasn't going to stop until she reached it. Soon after I followed, and the walk was great up until the halfway point where I saw her sitting on the ground. I asked if that was it. She laughed and said kinda. I walked up to an 8.5x11 laminated piece of paper on a stick saying the halfway point for 2014. How monumental. I've seen online a photo of a huge monumental halfway point and knew there was one in a few miles. The 2014 sign pictured the one I was talking about, seems that is the 2011 halfway point. What made 2011 so great that they have a perminent structure?! We took some photos and hiked on to the better one. Spike hiked in front of me even while I was slackpacking! What is wrong with this picture. When we arrived at the 2011 structure it was something to document. I decided to do a jumping photo and it took us a couple tries to get one in the air. I kept the mess ups and now it looks like a sequence. I was so thankful to have Spike there to photograph me since most of my photos have been selfies. Spike and I walked together for the last couple miles talking the whole time. I haven't had a woman hiking companion since Lynn, it was nice. The time went by quick and before I knew it we hit the road and were on our way to the general store and museum. We got to the store and talked with some other hikers and a guy asked me where I was staying tonight. He saw hesitation in my voice and said that he owned a hostel, I explained how I was being assisted so lodging wasn't a problem. He asked if my girlfriend was staying with me; my girlfriend I replied? He said, you Americans always take things wrong. I meant the woman you walked in with geeze. Oh, no she will be out in the woods so maybe you can hit her up on that offer. Then I left it as, "I'll ask the wife what she would like to do tonight." He got a kick out of that and laughed. I told Spike I was going to run over to the museum and see if my grandparents were here yet since I didn't have cell service. I ran over, but didn't see them. Inside I signed the guest book and came back outside to the PT pulling down the road. I met them and we went into the general store; the cooler for the half gallon challenge was not working so all of the ice cream melted, how conveinient. We went over to the museum where we looked around and I got my journal stamped. On the way back to the campground we stopped at an adorable elephant on the side of the road for the elephant museum. No idea what an elephant museum entails but I was going to have my picture taken with it! It was so bright and colorful, like me. From there we stopped at the ice cream shop across from the campground and I got an Oreo flurry. Why not?! When we got back to the campground I showered and prepared everything for tomorrow. We took a ride down to the office, and snack bar so I could buy the wood sign I saw when we first got here, and so Papa could get a burger. It being the holiday weekend and all I thought I should have a hotdog so I got one! Making tomorrow's pickup plans as I write, and tomorrow they will move to our last campground; goodbye Gettysburg-Hello Lickdale.
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