Day 18 – Strolling Down the Road
Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are nought without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end.” – Edward Whymper, Scrambles Amongst the Alps
We woke to the sound of a road crew cleaning out a drainage ditch. John-Michael shouted out to the worker to ask if we were in his way. He said no, so we laid back down to stay warm until the sun could start thawing out both our tent and us. It was by far the coldest night yet. Out of the little teardrop window in our tent-fly, we could see snow coming down. As we sat in the tent, we decided to come up with a better game plan to tackle the mountain passes. We had walked 37 miles over the past two days in difficult weather conditions and we were spent because of it. We knew that just 6 or 7 miles away, there was a small town called Breezewood where U.S. 30 meets the Pennsylvania Turnpike. We determined the smartest course of action would be to just walk to Breezewood and then rest. We said goodbye to the Buchanan State Forest. It was bittersweet. We were happy to have had a place to camp for the last two nights, but those nights were cold endings to long and hard days.
We arrived in Breezewood after a short two hour walk that was, thankfully, mostly downhill. The way we acted when arriving, one would have thought we had been lost in the wilderness for a week.
While warming up and searching for a place to stay, we were greeted by Bob. He stopped to talk to us about our trip and wanted to know why we didn’t do something else, like hike the Appalachian Trail. After explaining our reasons to him, he admitted that when he was younger he wanted to walk the Appalachian Trail. However, after reading a book about it where the author detailed how it becomes monotonous after awhile, he rerouted his dreams toward sailing, which he now does on the Chesapeake Bay. Bob had a pleasant smile that helped lift our spirits. Unfortunately, we were so tired that we forgot to get a picture with him.
After eating a sizable lunch of pasta and breadsticks, we headed toward the cheapest motel we could find. After being welcomed by the owner’s two aggressive dogs, we settled in for the evening. We washed ourselves, our clothes, and our gear, and then headed to bed.