Summary: Over the Mason-Dixon Line and into Pennsylvania
Pine Knob Shelter: 1046.6
Random Campsite: 1066.2
Total miles: 19.6
We made it out of camp at nine so we could attempt 20-22 miles for the day.
We were fairly slow in the beginning of the day, since there were a number of nice overlooks. We first stopped at Annapolis Rocks which offered a beautiful panorama of the surrounding area. Coming back from the rocks, we briefly met Whistle Britches (name winner?), who thru hiked in 1982 and soon planned to hike some sections in Maine with friends so they could experience part of the trail with him.
At Black Rock Cliffs, we ran into Illegal again who was finishing a break. He had spent a day exploring Washington DC for the first time. He's from Switzerland, and recently took eight weeks of English classes followed by a couple months in Canada. He had no problem carrying on conversations so well that we thought he must use English at his work (he doesn't).
*Green Briar Lake where we were yesterday
We made it to a sizeable brook at 2 for lunch. After lunch, Illegal caught up to us and we hiked with him for a while. He is a speedster. Apparently hiking in those Swiss mountains prepared him well. Another big overlook, High Rock. High Rock is more known for being completely covered in graffiti and would be our last stop before Pen Mar, the last park basically just at the border. Grant had been telling us all day that we were close to the park all day.
The hike to Pen Mar was fairly short, but there was a sizeable rock scramble down to the bottom. It felt like a sign of things to come given that Pennsylvania was fast approaching. We searched desperately for the vending machine at Pen Mar, but, alas, the ranger told us it had been removed since too many kids had vandalized it. But, it did get us the attention of Dennis Sewall and Gone Away. Gone Away had sectioned hiked since Waynesborough but his pack had shaken apart over the recent scramble. He gave us each a slice of his veggie pizza, which sounds controversial, but veggies are the furthest things from the trail. It was great. Also, Dennis is a trail Angel and said he could help us out with shuttles or whatever else we needed.
We had a complicated plan to bounce into Fayetteville to pick up more snacks for our six day trip, but Dennis's offer sounded like it would save us some headache. He took us out to the nearby Wal-Mart and told us a bit about Pen Mar. Apparently the area used to be an amusement park and retreat area from the late 1800s until 1944. Later, the area closed down and left a number of tiny homes in the area that were the retreats of these rich people in the earlier years. After the parks close, it later became a state park. Dennis told us all this, and a bit about his childhood, and moving to the area when he saw a bunch of hikers emerge from the woods and thought he had just moved to an area with heavy hobo influence. Just us hobos. We grabbed snacks from the walmart, Subway sandwiches, and a coke for Dennis, who shockingly said it was the first time any hiker, in twenty years, had brought him anything from the store. Damn people. Damn.
Back at Pen Mar, we enjoyed our sandwiches and talked to a number of day hikers and campers. One guy who runs a local bbq joint talked about his plan to retire to Maine. A group of five recent high school graduates also asked us a number of questions. They were amped.
The campers realized we were trying to make a few more miles before dark and let us go. We left them to watch what was sure to be an epic sunset. We made a more miles just beyond Falls Campground to the top of the hill beyond. We had already eaten dinner so we headed to tick check time. Grant was horrified that he had found a tick under his armpit. We looked and told him it was just a scab. He insisted, so we pulled it off. It was a scab, so it bled. That was the excitement of the night. Then we crashed.