Day 89 We were stepping up our mileage again today and started out by climbing up a hill to an old firetower site. We left camp around 8 am with Otto and Testament was a short distance behind us. We were walking on an old railroad bed up the hill, so the rocks werent too hard on us. When we got to the top of the hill, we saw the terminus of the Horseshoe Trail, a 121-mile trail running from here to Valley Forge. We took a break up top before heading downhill a ways to a creek. Otto went on a few minutes ahead and we shortly caught up to him, stopped dead in his tracks. There was a very large rattlesnake in the trail, unwilling to move and angry as can be! We finally gave up on him leaving and gave a wide berth to get around, walking off trail by about 20 feet and looking around for more snakes. Most importantly, we left a sign warning the next hikers of the snake. For the rest of the day, we walked through defunct coal communities, first Yellow Springs and then Rausch Gap. Unlike the Smokies, there are no visible remnants of buildings. The only real signs of former habitation are the roads we walk on. When we took a break in Rausch Gap, Clifty and Pelican showed up and we ran into DK and Big E, who Nokey knew but I hadn’t met yet. They’re done for the day, but we still need to climb Second Mountain and head into camp. Clifty and Pelican were going to our campsite as well, so we said goodbye and that we’d see them soon. We climbed Second Mountain and were feeling tired, but pushed on through a field and down past a creek to the campsite. We were close to the road into Lickdale, so we decided to hitch in and get dinner, as well as clean water as there is a serious lack of that on the trails here. Testament, Nokey, and I got into Lickdale and got burgers and fries and headed back to camp to take some to Otto. Testament had some friends come up to visit as well, so we all hung out around the fire with Clifty before crashing and calling it a night. The photo is of the giant snake!

Day 89
We were stepping up our mileage again today and started out by climbing up a hill to an old firetower site. We left camp around 8 am with Otto and Testament was a short distance behind us. We were walking on an old railroad bed up the hill, so the rocks werent too hard on us. When we got to the top of the hill, we saw the terminus of the Horseshoe Trail, a 121-mile trail running from here to Valley Forge. We took a break up top before heading downhill a ways to a creek. Otto went on a few minutes ahead and we shortly caught up to him, stopped dead in his tracks. There was a very large rattlesnake in the trail, unwilling to move and angry as can be! We finally gave up on him leaving and gave a wide berth to get around, walking off trail by about 20 feet and looking around for more snakes. Most importantly, we left a sign warning the next hikers of the snake. For the rest of the day, we walked through defunct coal communities, first Yellow Springs and then Rausch Gap. Unlike the Smokies, there are no visible remnants of buildings. The only real signs of former habitation are the roads we walk on. When we took a break in Rausch Gap, Clifty and Pelican showed up and we ran into DK and Big E, who Nokey knew but I hadn’t met yet. They’re done for the day, but we still need to climb Second Mountain and head into camp. Clifty and Pelican were going to our campsite as well, so we said goodbye and that we’d see them soon. We climbed Second Mountain and were feeling tired, but pushed on through a field and down past a creek to the campsite. We were close to the road into Lickdale, so we decided to hitch in and get dinner, as well as clean water as there is a serious lack of that on the trails here. Testament, Nokey, and I got into Lickdale and got burgers and fries and headed back to camp to take some to Otto. Testament had some friends come up to visit as well, so we all hung out around the fire with Clifty before crashing and calling it a night. The photo is of the giant snake!