Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail: Chapter 14

Day 79: Duncannon, Pennsylvania

“Ohhh,” she shrieked, clapping in excitement and raising up on tippy toes. “I’m so excited for you! Now you boys just go up to your rooms and enjoy your pizzas and that Yuengling. I’ll let your dad and uncle know where to find you,” the owner of the Doyle restaurant and hotel said.

Hotel room secured. Check. Shower and laundry. Check. Email. Check. Pizza and beer secured. Check. Now we only had to play the waiting game. I led the way to the stairs, passing by the bar counter while balancing three large pizzas in my hands. “Looks like the ceiling is lowering,” I commented, noting the clouds outside the bar window. I thought about the incoming flight, hoping the weather wouldn’t force my dad and uncle to miss the night’s celebration.

The (in)famous Doyle Hotel

Once inside the room, I set the pizzas on a small table. Ben carried a case of beer behind me, and Dylan followed close at his heels holding a paper cup of coffee. The accommodations at the Doyle Hotel were opulent by hiking standards, but hopelessly out of code and fashion for anyone who had standards. It is a beloved and legendary trail stop. I took a pizza to my seat on one of the two queen-size beds.

“You better eat that whole thing. And when you’re done you should walk back to that pizza place and get another,” Ben said, studying my thinning frame. “That’s just crazy,” he commented, shaking his head.

I’d stepped on a bathroom scale earlier that afternoon and had been astonished by my weight: 172 pounds, some 23 pounds lighter than the day I first stepped foot on Mount Katahdin. My body really had been running on fumes, and now I knew the reason for my declining energy. Ben didn’t approve.

“I didn’t even lose a pound,” he continued. “What about you, Dylan. You lose any weight?”

N. B. Hankes

N. B. Hankes

Founder and best selling author of "Waking Up On the Appalachian Trail."
Humboldt County, California