Day 62 on the Appalachian Trail

Another day of contrasts, with wood lots, crop fields, a sylvan stream, forest, and rocks. Last night, after I'd gone to bed, a band at a horse club a few blocks away started playing. I plugged my ears and eventually fell asleep while the band played. Lisa, the hostel owner, didn't want to shuttle hikers back into town until at least 8 am. I got up early anyway, ate breakfast, and started walking back to town at 6:30am. A guy in a truck picked me up 10 minutes later. He was on his way to the local sewage plant to make sure it was working properly. I began hiking at 6:45am, first on a town street then through a wood lot – a  narrow band of forest sandwiched between crop fields. The wood lots featured young trees, thick shrubs, and poison ivy along the trail. The crop fields featured corn, wheat, oats, and soy beans. Alternating wood lots and crop fields continued for 10 miles. I walked across a car bridge over the clear water of scenic Conodonguinet Creek, 100 feet wide and 2 feet deep (see photo). I ate an early lunch in the shade under the bridge then continued north for 2 more miles through more wood lots. To make up for a lack of elevation gain today, the Appalachian Trail climbed over forested Tuscarora Mountain then dropped down the other side. At mile 18 on the day, I got water from a stream then headed uphill for 3.6 miles to the Cove Mountain shelter. Once I reached the ridge top, the AT lapsed into a rocky slog to the turnoff to the shelter. I found the shelter empty, but POB arrived an hour later as I finished dinner. My left knee hurt all day for no apparent reason, but my sore number 4 toe on my right foot is much happier than it was yesterday. I'll call it a draw in the bodily pain department. Today's miles - 21.6. Total miles - 1142.6.

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