Just like a kid in a candy store

That 8.1 miles was easy this morning. Not sure why, it was more of the same ole rocks. There were not any large Boulder fields nor any rock slides nor any inclines or declines of any difficulty. Plus I knew Pappa Bear was going to be there at the end again to meet me. Oh, by the way, he doesn’t like Pappa Bear. He thinks it insinuates he is my dad instead of hubby. Maybe Hubby Bear would be better. Anyways, today was easy. My feet say thank you. Despite the short day my sore between my toes is hurting pretty good today. It was almost healed but a couple weeks ago it started to act up again.  

 It started as a small blister on my first or second day of the hike way back when. The blister broke, dead skin peeled away and this thing has been there ever since. Some days it hurts so bad I want to quit. I’ve tried everything short of amputation; wraps, corn pads, tape, moleskin, nothing helps except barefoot. It’s just one of the reasons my feet hurt at the end of the day. 

Today was uneventful which was nice since the rocks were wet from last night’s rain. I did see my favorite centipede. I think that’s what it is.  

Also saw lots of these fuzzy caterpillars. They are everywhere.       A few nights ago I was hanging my food bag and tied my line off on a small little sapling with about a dozen or so healthy fully leafed branches. I noticed it was blanketed in those little creatures. The next morning I went to retrieve my bag and that cute little tree was void of any green vegetation. I should have taken a photo but at 5:30 am I am so focused driven to break camp and get hiking I didn’t think to. 

Last night when I was at the road/trail crossing waiting for Hubby Bear I was taking with a trail maintainer. We were saying how those caterpillars were everywhere. He made the comment “yeah, you can even hear their poop dropping from the trees” I didn’t really register that fact until this morning when a petite green pea sized drop landed on my arm. My first thought was just more of that mud that keeps landing on me and my pack. I had noticed over the last several days lots of these spots on my pack and back of my clothes and occasionally on my arms. Then it dawned on me what he said. Gross, it’s caterpillar poop. Yucky yucky yucky. 

A new flower today and tree fruit.

   Much nicer than excreting crawling things. I have been taking photos of all the new flowers I see on the trail. I want to put together a book of just flowers. It will be very pretty. 

At the extraction point, Wind Gap, PA, we saw Momma Bear and her three cubs. The kids had big hugs for me, well, the two little ones did and Tough Guy, the 9 year old had a fist bump for me. They hitched a ride back from town where they spent the night at a hostel. I was relieved. Now I didn’t have to worry about the little ones climbing Lehigh. They said they loved it. Didn’t slow them down one bit. I said good bye and the kids were confused then sad. They thought they had caught up to me and thought we were going to hike together again. They are so awesome. 

After we left there we headed to LLBean. I found a retail store close by and called last night to see if they had a certain pair of boots. They did so off we were to get them. I was like a kid in a candy store. I love LLBean. I got my boots and was ready to leave but Hubby Bear needed to do more work calls. I “browsed”. I managed to find a few items I needed to help me hike better. That’s my story and I am sticking to it. Tomorrow I will be sporting a new hiking skirt and tank top. Oh yes, and the boots. Guess I have to do a big day tomorrow. I don’t have any excuses not to. 

Time to go feed this hungry hiker. Dinner will be more trail food at the hotel. Tonight we will have my creation of Trail Pad Thai. It is Gluten Free rice noodles – expensive ramen noodles – dressed up with extra spices, bacon and peanut butter. Yummy. 

Happy Hiking. 

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.