June 3, 1998

6/3/98 Darlington Shelter

18.2 miles (1110.4 total)

The "Dinks", as Piper called them, got up at the crack of dawn and didn’t seem to care if they woke everyone else up. After they left, we got up and started to pack. We didn’t walk but a mile or two before coming to the trail through farm fields of wheat and clover. Eventually, we ended up in Boiling Springs.

Piper and Smiley head across the farm fields
of the 16-mile wide Cumberland Valley

The trail goes through the city park along a lake before taking a turn at the regional ATC office. Unfortunately for us, this city of 1500 doesn’t have anyplace that serves breakfast. Not to leave empty handed, we sat by the lake until Amile’s Italian Restaurant opened. It was a nice lazy morning, talking and feeding the ducks, geese and swans (along with their chicks).

Piper finds a bunny. "Should we eat it?"

After eating way too much pizza, I finally left town about 1pm. It was a beautiful day, sunshine out, not too hot. Eventually, I caught up to Piper as we crossed the farms of Cumberland Valley. We discussed my idea of selling "Dragon’s Breath" Houseboats - an Amsterdam-like houseboat for the rich and famous. And because food is always on our mind, we also stopped at the Middlesex Diner on US11 for carrot cake.

By now, the sky is looking like rain, so we decided to get back on the trail. Finally we reached the end of the valley but not before Piper and I had to cross a field of very aggressive cows. Every time we turned our backs, they charged. Good thing I had my poles.

Mad cows chasing us through the fields
"You want a piece of me?" Piper screams

On the way back up to the ridgeline, Piper and I discussed the shortcomings of women and how to fix it! Got to the shelter to find Ron and Cheryl, the Soulmates, there. I hadn’t seen them since the Smokies.

Just before bed, who would show up, but Longstride. You really can’t say anything bad about him. And I really like the guy.