September 20th, 2018
I woke up to the sound of angry pheasants and a chill in the air. It would be another day of comfortable weather, however the sun decided to disappear again.
We’d take a lunch break 7.4 miles in at Eckville Shelter. Eckville Shelter is not like most shelters. It’s not located in the mountains. You have to walk down a road to get to it. It’s located next to a house where the caretaker lives. In the past, I’ve heard from others that he’s a pretty grumpy man, however he didn’t seem to be in such a bad mood. He came out to make some small talk then went back inside to eat his lunch while watching “The View” on tv.
It’s a pretty nice shelter, especially with the luxury of a flush toilet and a shower! Instead of freshening up, we kept our break short and took our B.O. smelling butts back down the trail. We wanted to keep moving on to the next shelter where we’d be closer to town. I had a huge hankering for town food after being told by Frisbee that there was a “Five Guys” and a Chinese lunch buffet awaiting there.
The fog began to roll in, so by the time we made it to Pulpit Rock viewpoint, which was only a short side trail away, we didn’t get much of a view. Odds were it was just a view of a grassy field with a red barn, a white farm house, and a pond, which is pretty much the standard scenery in the Mid-Atlantic region which I’ve seen many times before. I actually prefered the beauty of the trees in the fog.
We’d end our hike at Windsor Furnace Shelter, which was only 6 miles away from Port Clinton. Upon arrival, we’d be welcomed by a local named John and his hiking partner, Duncan the dog. John was a friendly guy with a true, new found love for the outdoors after his adult son encouraged him to take up hiking as a hobby. He was a little on the heavy side, and sadly berated himself any chance he could get over his slow speed, how out of shape he was, and how few miles he could handle in a day. We kept reminding him that what mattered was he was getting outside, enjoying himself, and that the only person he is ever in competition with is his past self. Whether it’s our health, our habits, our knowledge or skills, we are all just a work in progress, no?
After a brief visit from a physically wiped out couple who were clearly frustrated with one another, we continued chatting with John about our hike and his dreams of purchasing a van to travel across the country. All of this was triggered by an epiphany after a financially successful friend of his died at a young age after slaving away at work without getting the opportunity to enjoy much of anything else in life. John had a successful career as well, high in the ranks at a large, local construction company, and he wasn’t planning on following his friend’s footsteps. He wanted to live life before time slipped away from him. We couldn’t agree more.
Distance Hiked: 16.5 miles (26.6 km)
Start from the Beginning at Part 1