Morning in the basement of the borough hall. Post office doesn't open till 8:30. Got breakfast, did laundry and now killing time to see what I mailed to myself here. This may be the last shower/laundry till I reach Duncannon in 11 days or so. I'll be pretty gamey by then I am sure.
Had the basement to myself last night. Feels like I have the whole town to myself. That sense of hiker isolation is very strong, probably just in my head. Seems like even when I am among non-hikers I am apart from them, that I have nothing to do with or concern about their lives. The former is probably true and is no different from my relation to most people I meet when not hiking. I do have concern about the people I meet and see: I wonder what their lives are like and wish them well. Especially since so many are so kind to me. But even this is a remote relationship since I know nothing about them. So I just hike on. My strongest relationships are with other hikers. We share tha same experience and desire to be out walking. So far I've had company at shelters and met people on the trail.
Met a Pennsylvania section hiker yesterday and saw some weekenders south of Smith Gap (had to be weekenders from the size of their tent). Climbing down into Lehigh Gap was an experience--First time I've had to pick my whay across boulder fields on this trip. Seemed excruciatingly slow, probably because it was late in the day, but like all trail miles, the descent ended after I'd taken enough steps. They always do.
Early PM: Back at Bert's Steakhouse for a final town meal before heading south. Sinc I wrote about feeling isolated from non-hikers, I had a couple of experiences to give those observations a different perspective. The borough clerk gave me a Welcome to Palmerton hiker goody bag. The grocery stor gave me a free apple and the librarian said she saw me walkining into town yesterday. Guess I'm not as isolated as I thought.
Evening: At George Outerbridge Shelter just south of Palmerton. Actually sleeping in the shelter---no flat space to camp. Sharing the shelter with Robin, a thru-hiker who left Springer on March 5. Enjoyed my time in Palmerton. Walked out around 3:30 in the heat--bank sight said 87. Climb up to the shelter was hot but mercifully short.