June 6, 2015 - Day 2
Departing Boston took longer than we wanted, mostly because of the need to adjust the loading technique; pretty typical for a first-time tour. After descending the hill from Yough Shore Inn we turned upstream and resumed following the Youghiogheny River. Despite the previous day’s heavy rain the Trail was in fine shape and the rain had increased the flow of the many small streams and waterfalls.
|Along the Youghiogheny River|
We encountered numerous riders and walkers along the predominantly flat terrain from Boston to West Newton where many people did their comings and goings. Among the walkers we met a young man before reaching West Newton whose on-the-trail name was Tenderfoot, a name he felt fit the nature of his first serious walk. He’d started walking south on the Appalachian Trail in Duncannon then west upon reaching the GAP by way of the Kentuck Trail. His intention was to walk until he grew tired of it and that he planned to turn northward eventually so he could walk the AT from north to south before he was done. He’d covered about 350 of his many-miles walk.
The large parking area at the West Newton Trailhead benefits trail users, the West Newton Bike Shop and The Trailside restaurant. Both the bike shop and the restaurant were very busy. The guy manning the bike shop was joyless and the only server working the deck was overloaded with the arrival of a lot of people. From sitting down to leaving consumed ninety minutes that we would have liked having at day’s end. The food was good and probably worth the cost.
|The Trailside above and West Newton Bike Shop below at West Newton Trailhead|
|West Newton Trailhead|
After leaving West Newton the Trail begins to climb, at first imperceptibly then noticeably approaching Connellsville. From there to Ohiopyle the climb is constant, but we could maintain a comfortable 10 to 12 mph because of the quality of the Trail. Unfortunately, Ohiopyle became a for-future-reference point when we decided that we’d rather stop there than continue on to Confluence, another twelve miles ahead. Weekends are made for outdoor and water activities and there were no rooms at the inn . . . any of the not very many inns . . . and no answer at Ohiopyle State Park. A call to Wendy World Family Campground did nothing to make things better.
With several hundred lumens blazing we continued toward Confluence hoping that Outflow Campground would be open. There were several potential freestyle campsites but hope was being held-out for something slightly more civilized. Was it a surprise that a lovely lady named Robyn was on duty until 11 PM? You betcha! Was there joy at finding a place to pitch a tent? Indeed!
Thus, the day ended after seeing a couple of bears, a turkey, some rabbits, waterfalls and lotsa riders and walkers. There’d been moments of elation and some of disappointment, but there was no lessening of the pure joy of accomplishment and sense of adventure.