Pine Grove Furnace, Iron Master’s Inn and hostel, AT NOBO mile 1097.9, Monday April 21, 2014 — Today we hiked a NERO or near zero miles. Just 3.3 miles by my count.
Armies and hikers run on their stomachs and by the grace of repair parts. My glasses needed repair, my laundry was beginning to ripen, not to mention me, and the old feed bag was on a quarter tank.
I could wait two days for Boiling Springs and pay a lot for a motel or stop today at a much cheaper hostel. The Super Walmart store would be the same one in either case. No contest. The hostel won.
Today I passed the old official halfway point and took a selfie. It’s also the northern boundary of my trail club’s area of responsibility. I’ll miss my PATC colleagues.
A shuttle which took me to Wallmart and back. All missions accomplished. I plugged in my electronics on the general store porch to charge while I ensconced myself at a nearby picnic table to wait for the hostel to open at 5 pm.
The store is the home of the “Half Gallon Challenge.” Hikers bulldoze their way through a half gallon of ice cream in 30 minutes. I was saved again by being off season.
Just then a SOBO named Groceries hobbled up to my picnic table. Seems she twisted her ankle in some fashion. We spent the afternoon talking until Yodel, a German hiker I met in passing a couple of days earlier, hiked in to join us.
Groceries’ ankle is now “knee deep” in ice and my trusty compression sock. We’re hoping she’s better in the morning.
Rain tomorrow afternoon is the weatherman’s bet. It’ll be a race to the shelter to beat the rain. Common sense prevailing, of course.