Day two of hiking without Tandem, now Mio isn’t with me either. I woke after Johnny Utah was almost done packing, so I hurried to pack my wet tent and eat a couple of breakfast items. We were the first to leave the Pogo Memorial campsite at 7:45 in a thick fog.
After a brief climb out, we leveled off at 1900 feet for a rocky 90 minute, five mile hike to MD 17. We hitched a ride into Smithsburg with a mother and two kids in a van. Johnny Utah had to sit on the floor. The kids asked us where our car was, and we told them about hiking and not having one. We were dropped at the Food Lion, where Johnny Utah had to restock food, and I just filled in a couple of gaps.
We enjoyed Cokes as we packed our food bags, then headed for the post office. We walked a mile to the post office on Main Street. When I asked about the package, the postmaster returned with it immediately because it had just arrived — we weren’t expecting it until tomorrow. That altered my plans for staying at the Free State Hiker Hostel to do laundry, shower and charge my devices. It was a good change, though
Instead, we went down the street to Vince’s New York Pizza for lunch. We ordered too large of a pizza, getting the deep dish Sicilian supreme. We each ate four pieces and took a few more for dinner on the trail.
We started walking back out of town and up MD 17, thumbing for a hitch. We never did get a ride and completed the two mile yellow blaze up the AT. The package from home had included the next quarter of the AWOL guide and the latest ATC member magazine. As we were headed past the Ensign Cowall shelter, we stopped to sign the log book and leave the ATC magazine.
Our next goal was to make it to the state line and camp just past it to see Tandem and her fellow Four State Challenge hikers. We passed several hikers going the other way and a few northbound thru hikers.
After hiking 14.5 miles for the day, we arrived at the Pen Mar County Park where we were greeted enthusiastically by the park ranger on his golf cart. We introduced ourselves and discussed our thru hikes. He warned us that there had been a pollution spill in the creek in the campsite a mile ahead where we planned to stay and told us to fill our water containers before leaving the park.
While Johnny Utah ate his leftover pizza, I found a Geocache and dropped my third travel bug of the hike. The German thru hikers came up and sat for a while before continuing on to a shelter five miles away.
After the ranger locked the bathrooms at 19:00, Johnny Utah and I headed toward the campsite. Along the way, we crossed the state line into Pennsylvania — and the Mason-Dixon Line.
We then hiked half a mile down to the campsite and picked a pair of flat spots for our tents. We set up our bear bag ropes and chatted before retiring to our tents. I write this blog update while waiting for Tandem to show up. Some hikers who went through said Tandem and the others were still in the Pen Mar park.
They just arrived at 22:45 and had a bottle of beer for me! I helped a Tandem with her bear bag and drank the beer. Today was a 15.5 mile day with only four hours stuck in Smithsburg!