Twas a wonderful Friday evening when "Junker" shuttled our group of four from our cars to the PA/MD line, PenMar. We began our walk at 7:30, intending to hike 4.5miles to the Deer Lick Shelters. The group was chatty, and excited for our weekend adventure. A short time before 9, we crossed one of many roads, and failed to follow the blazes, good conversations happening will do this. We walked down a fire road that DID have "some" blazes on it, that WERE white, but not to the standard of the ATC. Eventually we came to conclusion we had to back track. Upon returning to the road we found we should have turned left onto road for a moment. All was good again, and we made it to the Deer Lick Shelters around 10pm. Many tents were set up, shelters were in use, so we looked for a good place to setup camp. Several of us decided to "cowboy-camp" under the stars that night. Tenderfoot passed out as the rest of us prepared our din-dins. We said our goodnights. I, Unicorn Dust, am convinced there was a rattler 6 feet from my spot, as I heard the tell-tale noise at one point. We were early to rise, hung around camp until the 8am departure and were on the trail just before 8. In Old Forge park, 2 miles into our day we took a brief break to get some potable water and return to the trail. Tenderfoot really wanted to chuck her tent into the garbage can, Amber and I suggested a hiker box, or leave it in a shelter for a hiker in need. Tenderfoot attempted to leave her tent in the Tumbling Run Shelter, at the base of our longest climb of the day. The caretaker of Tumbling was quite displeased and asked her to take her belongings,...which she did. However, there was some grumblings coming from Tenderfoot along the climb regarding this matter, and a comparison was drawn with Lt. Dangle from the show Reno 911. I should also mention, that during the trip Tenderfoot expressed a dissatisfaction with her trail name. Later she was unofficially but officially I guess, Occifer-Dangle, which she gladly embraced! At the top of our climb, Gig reminded us to look for an overlook. Chimney Rocks,...WOW! It was pretty awesome! Good call Gig. From there we made our way to the Rocky Mts Shelters for lunch and a break. From there Dangle took off at warp 9, and we didn't see her again until Caledonia State Park. At the park we gathered for a restroom break and some potable water before our last ascent to the Quarry Gap Shelters. We made it to this absolutely shelter site around 5pm. We claimed a side of the shelter and settled in to relax, laugh, tell stories, listen to some John Lee Hooker, and then some JJ Cale. Many thru-hikers came through, some stayed. Heard some interesting trail stories,...like "how to hike on the Summer Solstice" ;) There was much talk about the Super-Moon for that evening. In the middle of the night some of us made our way from our comfortable slumber to check THIS OUT! It was pretty awesome! Glad I was able to see it. Sunday morning we were on the trail be 7:45 and only had to hike 9 miles to our cars. From the shelters we had one last climb, anything we walked later were PUDS(pointless up and downs). With four miles(I mistakenly said 5 at time of break) to go we took a brief break. Upon returning to the cars, we rejoiced in our completion of awesome track of the A.T. From the hike we drove to the Appalachian Brewing Company in Gettysburg, PA, 30 minutes away. We all enjoyed burgers, fries, and some enjoyed some brews too! The burger buns had the ABC logo burned into them, was quite cool. We really lucked out this weekend with a strong set of hikers, great conversations, camaraderie, and some fantastic weather! Even the bugs weren't that bad!!! Looking forward to the next adventure!
Ben aka Unicorn Dust