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[at-l] Ready's journal June 25 Monday TD 20

note from k.  Thanks Sly for the heads up on the brackets.  looked fine on 
my browser so I didn't know it was a problem!
If you are enjoying the journal give Ready a shout and let her know.  I'm 
sure it's at least a little hassle for her,
especially since her pocketmailer is problematic.  readyhiker@pocketmail.com

What a perfectly exquisite day!
We got up late'ish. (This is a habit we aim to change; we're losing too 
much good "cool morning" hiking time.)
After packing up - an activity that we are getting better at as a new 
hiking team - we headed out. Easy terrain again. We walked in relative cool 
- amongst fields of ferns, pine trees, blue skies overhead and dappled 
sunlight across the forest floor.
We walked at a leisurely pace, which, over such even terrain puts us at 
over 3 miles per hour. We chatted and laughed the whole time; our "vcation 
day" of yesterday had extended through today.
We reached Pine Grove Furnace and the Ironmaster's Hostel around 1:45 PM. 
We proceeded directly to the general store, where we picked up cold drinks.
Spur peruses the hiker log and exclaims that we've missed Homeless and 
Unemployed by only 10 minutes! That's how it can be out here. One fewer 
break, a bit longer in the stride somewhere along the path, and your 
experience can be greatly altered. Oh well, we wished them well in absentia 
and hoped to catch them along the way another time.
I bought a 1/2 gallon of ice cream - chocolate peanut butter - and declared 
that with just a bit of help from Spur, I could succeed with the 
"1/2-gallon challenge." I hadn't gotten even 1 quart into it before I gave 
up the task. Who was I kidding?! Spur had the good manners not to say, "I 
told you so."
As we sat at the porch in front of the store, Andy, Firecracker and Blur 
Grass showed up. Their mission for the day was to provide "trail magic" to 
any thruhikers coming in.
Firecracker and Blue Grass had hiked from Tennessee to Pennsylvania earlier 
this year and had been hoping to catch some of their hiking pals. They'd 
timed their visit to Pine Grove State Park to coincide with their friends' 
progress. They were delightred to hear some of the names of hikers just 
behind us.
We enjoyed a Mountain Dew and some watermelon with them as we chatted. Andy 
then offered to give us a ride to the beach; of course we accepted! Spur 
jumped into the back of the pick up truck, while I rode shotgun.
En route Andy, a firefighter from Shippensburg, explained that while he had 
never hiked, for the past month and a half, he'd heard all about the 
kindness and support that hikers had shown to Firecracker and Blue Grass. 
When they'd invited him to participate in their day of trail magic, he was 
more than game!
We were certainly a curiosity to all the bathers on the beach. Most stared 
openly at us while we crossed the sand carrying our packs.
The beach was great. We swam a bit in
the cold lake, which varied in depth from 0' to over 40' and, typical of 
quarry lakes, had pockets of cold water amidst warm - shocking to the 
system. The sun felt good as we lay on our thermarest pads on the beach. 
Now this is a vacation!
One young couple approached us, asking if we were hiking the Trail. When 
they learned that we were, we had a lively conversation about the 
adventure. They'd dreamed of doing the same and we had a great time 
exchanging information.
It turns out that Debbie was from the Forest Hills area of New York City. 
That's where I'd been living when I first met Spur! Small world! Alexander 
is a fiddler and plays at contra dances. He proposed to take on the 
trailname, "Fiddle for Food."
The hostel opened at 5 PM, so we made our way there to check in. It was 
great to see Shawn (the hostel manager) again. It was chore time, again. 
Shower, laundry, sort food drops, etc.