Random campsite: 1201.2
Port Clinton: 1218.1
Total miles: 16.9
Grant and Dean headed out at four in the morning. At least it didn't rain over the night or in the morning. But our shoes were still damp so the rocks continued tore our feet up.
The creek remained along the trail for a couple of miles. When it finally cleared up we stumbled upon some trail magic run by a former sobo, Hawk Woman, her husband, Rice Krispie and her sister, First Light. Hawk Woman sobo'd from June to January last year so we can only imagine what sort of suffering she endured over her winter in the Smokies. They had quite the setup, homemade muffins, scones, cake, cookies, juices, coffee and would be grilling for lunch. Also, Hawk Woman is a German teacher so we even got a exchange a few slow sentences with her. But sadly we had to carry on to make it to town so we would have time to rest in the evening.
The rocks continued and continued to tear up our feet. The trail was indeed flat elevation wise though. The trail was quiet again despite a perfect forecast. We made it through to Port Clinton all the same and heard that Dean and Grant made it through free and clear as well.
We passed under the freeway and saw some other hikers heading back to the trail who had hitched back. Just as we were trying to figure out how to get to the Microtel in Hamburg, a thru hiker came out of the woods who said he could give us a ride as soon as he got to his car parked at the Port Clinton train station. He was good to his word and we thus met I think I can. He has two cheapo cars that he uses to slack pack himself up the trail, always hiking southbound while going northbound. He shuffled us over to the hotel, and went back to a hotel himself since he actually hasn't even had to camp on the trail yet.
We settled into the room with Grant and Dean and ordered pizza. There was a Wal-Mart about a mile from the hotel so, just as the pizza order went out, Tyler headed there to finally do something about his glasses. The woman at the vision center, Lori, was perfect for the job. She's proficient with all the tools in the center so said she could make any of the frames work with Tyler's lenses (since he has no astigmatism). She was a delight to talk to and shared a few stories from her own life include her battle with cancer over the recent years (from which she has made a full recovery). She ended up grinding the lenses down a bit so they would fit in a pair of metal lenses, though she slipped and did put a slight mark (not in the field of vision) in the right lenses. She said her professional standards would not let Tyler pay for the frames after the slip up, so in all it was a set of new frames for free for a wonderful two hour conversation. On the way back to the hotel, Tyler ran into Monty who we would hopefully be able to hike with again soon. The day into Duncannon he had stopped early at a shelter rather than pushing on into the Doyle.
Back at the hotel, everyone ate some pizza, drank a six pack of Sunkist soda, and watched tv. Eventually Tyler and Grant stopped down in Paddy T's, a tavern attached to the hotel, for a couple beers, and were mesmerized by Family Feud. Dean went to bed early, hopefully to finally catch up on some much needed rest after his crazy push, and Emily worked on the blog. As usual, electricity kept the rest of us up too late.