July 25: Woke up at 5:15am to my alarm to see if I could get up early. Nope. Snoozed until 6:30am. Crawled out of bed and took a walk to the latrine. I am always waking up and having the necessity to use the restrooms; must be the beans. Made the breakfast of champions, oatmeal with raisins and applesauce with a helping of pretzels and nutella. It was chilly this morning. I bundled up with two layers on top, two layers on the bottom, and a layer on the skull (US Forest Service winter cap). Since I have been awake, I've been have these huge pockets of gas that are exiting as fairly loud flatulence. I hope I don't wake anybody up as well as attract any bears. They all smell of last night's dinner. As I was waiting to make another second round, I sat and did the usual. Played cards, read Born to Run, and wrote in my journal. Throughout these activities, there are red squirrels making the most high-pitched chirping sounds (look up red squirrel videos on YouTube to get real sound). I felt like the dog from the movie Up! Every time I heard a squirrel, I looked and pointed (with my eyes) right in the middle of playing cards. No hesitation. And eventually saying in my mind, "Squirrel!" What a loser. This morning was fairly low-key so I made an effort to organize all my gear within the bearbox and my tent. Spent about 45 minutes (from 10-10:45) giving my site a makeover. It just needed some TLC from the divided weekend. It was mostly that things were not in their places (Mom, if everything has a place, things stay clean longer and will easier to clean in the future). I organized my backpack for the trip down, removed the mystery black garbage bag out of the communal bearbox that had been there the entire weekend, and tidied up my tent for following weekend. The garbage bag had some trash in it, but it did have some food. I snatched the packet of instant oatmeal (peaches and cream flavor, yum) and threw away the rest. Plus, I kept the hiking fannypack for myself. The perks of a caretaker. Two side notes: I saw an older couple both wearing a set of headphones hiking "together" (more a brisk walk because of their lack of heavy-duty backpacks). They were walking in single file with about 5 feet between em. I thought it was a pretty strange sighting. Walk together and talk, weirdos. Also, I found a white garbage bag in the bathroom that was definitely somebody's trash he or she left behind because he or she didn't want to carry it out. People are just so nice these days. You're giving me your trash? Just for me? Wow, you're just swell. Pathetic! From 11am until about 1, I worked on making the pile of sand/gravel mix disappear and finally officially finished filling in the friggin tent pad (a little bit of a tongue twister)! Bam! As soon as I finished, an older man biked up to my campsite with a fully packed backpack (probably about 35-40 pounds). We got chatting and he had asked how long I stay up at the campsite for. I responded with 4 days (Friday to Monday) and this older guy was gonna do the other 3 days, but a possible job opportunity popped up that he was pursuing. You know what he said? "I think I'm that older guy." I meet Paul from Maine that was gonna be the caretaker during the week at Franconia Brook. Hm, so that was kinda neat. He expanded on the job opportunity as a temporary district ranger position for 8 weeks that was located about 12 miles from where he lives. They ended giving it to a guy that was transferring from somewhere else, but he grabbed a part time job with his friend. I let him do his thang and set up camp (at the tent pad) while I made my final rounds to the occupied and vacant campsites. I rediscovered the underground fire at site #11 that was not completely out from the attempted extinguishing the night before. The difficult part was the shovel was less effective than my bare hands in digging up the smoldering soil. I was tearing up the ground and becoming more frustrated with the extent of fire's area coverage. I was at it for a solid 40 minutes before completely putting it out cold. I passed by Paul a few times along my travels of filling up my bucket at the river. I noticed he rides a Blue Water Huffy bike, fairly goofy, and an extremely outgoing person. Then I thought to myself, is this me in 40 years? I didn't really mind what I was witnessing. Once the fire was put out, it was 2:00. I checked on Paul one last time and asked him what he was planning on tackling for the upcoming week. He is staying along the East Side Trail and exploring the old campsites from the early 1900s. The trails used to be an extensive railroad system when they were clear cutting the forests. He had a map of the campsites and he had some coordinates a bushwackers club had on their website. He continued to ramble (as do I) about how his wife and him find it almost boring now to use the actual trails. They enjoy using the map and compass technique to reach a destination. Another positive fact, he is happily married. His wife even let him get away for the week while her side of the family visited. Some allowed freedom from the house, awesome! If I am this guy in the future, sounds like a quant little life he lives. A father and daughter stopped in to sites #16-19 to set up camp. We all got talking for a while and I realized it was 2:20 and I needed to stop by HQ before heading back to Plymouth. I bid them good morrow (movie quote from Role Models) and headed back to my site. Next thing I know, I am rushing to the bathroom debating on whether I am gonna make it in time. I was doing the run/walk thing that sometimes makes things worse. I ended reaching the toilet in time, but it was a close call. I crafted a manpon (reference to Rob and Big) for the ride down just in case on an emergency. I made it down to the parking lot, changed up out of my uniform (changed the boxers) and headed to HQ to drop off the bear incident reports. Left at 4:45pm from HQ after discussing the incidents with Justin and Clara. Drove home to Plymouth starving, ate anything I could get my hands on, unpacked, showered and headed to Hannaford's to spend my race winnings on a serious shopping list. I spent 50 minutes or so picking up canned soup (on sale), angel hair pasta (only kind I like), tortillas (not quesadillas), burrito seasoning to flavor my new cans of plain pinto beans and kidney beans in sauce (worth a shot to get away from the refried bean much), big container of mini pretzels (I ran out), dozen eggs (protein!), gallon of whole milk (because I afford the extra fat and it's delicious creaminess), ground beef (for burgers), chicken (more protein), bananas (potassium and less likelihood of cramps), yellow squash (for some much needed nutrients), and a green pepper (for my burger and it was on sale). After all this shopping, I was too hungry to cook so I stopped downtown to grab some Subway (Italian BMT is the sub of the month) and FaceTime with my dad. Unfortunately, the power went out after some time due to the thunderstorm and I retreated back my bunkhouse.
Summary: A relatively relaxing day and I prepare myself for 3 days of horticulture at PSU. Running this week should be a solid week. I am worry less about pace and get in the mileage because of the 9+ miles of racing. I am gonna try some barefoot running and get in a longer run on Wednesday. I don't head into the campsite until Saturday because there is the Weeks Act 100 Year Celebration on Friday all day.