Day 98 – 8.0 miles to Hamburg PA at 1217.0

Finishing off this section and going into town to rest and resupply.

The rockiness of the last few days and yesterday morning in particular were obvious when I woke up feeling sore all over. I couldn’t hardly clench my left fist as it was too stiff. Still, I only had 8 miles to do before I could get off trail and head to a motel, so I got going and enjoyed the lightest my pack ever is, on a final day. All my remaining 4 snacks were in my hip belt pocket and the only food left to weigh me down was a small amount of olive oil. Full speed ahead! Except the terrain was pretty average and I was really tired so: half speed ahead!

Around 8:30am it got very dark indeed to the extent that I could legitimately have used my headlight. A storm was coming and for the final 2 hours on trail it would rain, though only relatively lightly.

When the dark fell

When the dark fell

After a very steep final half mile descent I made it to the gravel cycle trail between Port Clinton and Hamburg, and very happy I was too to make it.
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Port Clinton was to the left, is on trail and is just a further 0.2 miles away but I was headed right, to the only standard motel in the area, sadly a further 2.4 miles which took another 50 minutes, just when I could feel the bed, shower and air conditioning. I immediately passed over and by Port Clinton railway station which seemed very Americana.
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I reached the motel at 11:30 and was luckily able to check in right away so I was feeling clean and civilised by 1:30pm. I only had the room for one night and I had to do a full resupply plus sort out my water system so I headed out on a 3.5 hour expedition, the first stop of which was Red Robin “Gourmet” Burgers (not their quotes) for a double burger, two orders of sweet potato fries, Southwest beans, one chocolate milkshake and 3 “freckled” lemonades with strawberries. I consumed most of it, to the waitress’s bemusement.
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Next I hit up Cabela’s, “The World’s Foremost Outdoor Store” (their quote) and basically couldn’t find anything I wanted. Not very foremost for hikers methinks. They had no 2 litre Sawyer bladders except in a $50 package with other things. I decided to try out my other idea instead, which was to wrap plumber’s tape (from Walmart or Lowe’s nearby) around the minimal thread of a Platypus bladder and hope that stops the leak when the filter is screwed on. Cabela’s did have a large display of stuffed animals, so there’s that.
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So the final leg was to Walmart. This whole area is typically car-oriented so you have to watch out. For UK readers it’s a bit like walking along A roads which have no pavements. All the stores are spaced perversely far apart for no reason so I probably walked another 2-3 miles just on this one trip plus 1 more inside the stores. My feet were unhappy about this.

I picked up 3 days of food from Walmart (it’s a 5 day, 82 mile, section, but there are a few options for eating and minor resupply within a mile of the trail and I’d rather waste a couple of hours and do a couple of extra miles than carry 4 extra pounds of food.

When I got back to the motel, about 5:30pm, I wasn’t in great shape. My feet were very sore and I generally felt exhausted. With a ton of chores still to do I didn’t feel like getting back on trail in just over 12 hours time so I called the front desk and was lucky they’d just had a cancellation so I booked another night and will zero tomorrow instead. Now I could actually relax instead of being up until midnight working.

I had an Epsom Salts bath and rested until my stomach took me down to the on site bar which turned out to be hosting Open Mic night. Ordering a shrimp chowder and chicken wings to wash down my Yuengling beers I sat at the bar and enjoyed a succession of older pony-tailed singer-guitarists do their best to entertain a small crowd of locals most of whom were more interested in playing pool. It made for a strangely enjoyable couple of hours, or at least the beer did. While all the singers were, at best, trying, one young kid who looked like a skateboarder had rough edges but was an oddly talented saxophonist. Go figure.
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Back in my room I stayed up watching the live coverage of the U.K. referendum of whether to stay in the European Union or not. Nitnthat we are fully in it to start with. Around midnight (5am) it was clear we were voting to leave, and I could go to sleep.

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