Thursday, March 28, 2013

Overnight Hike

*Guest blogger: Clay*
Clay has been working to 'Link' up the various sections of the Appalachian Trail that he has hiked into one long unbroken chain. With this 2 day hike on Good Friday and Saturday, he accomplished his goal and has an unbroken 291 mile chain of the trail completed from Waynesboro, VA to Duncannon, PA. Hooray!

Today's hike started by dropping off the car at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in PA, named for the large stone furnace that is still visible in the park. It is a great state park with car camping, a swimming lake, and a great day use area. It also is home to the mid-way point of the Appalachian Trail and the Appalachian Trail Museum. We plan to go back here camping and check out the museum this summer or next. One of the best parts of section hiking the A.T. is that you get to experience the local neighborhood around the trail a lot more fully and there are some beautiful towns and countryside all around.
A local trail maintainer decorated a wispy pine tree with Easter Eggs. Happy Easter!
This is Quarry Gap shelter, easily the best maintained shelter on the central A.T. Clay just stopped for lunch, but enjoyed inspecting all the nice home touches provided by the caretaker. Nice job!
Being March 28th at 2,000 feet in the hills of Pennsylvania, there was still snow on the trail in the shady spots or on the North facing slopes. Clay added his hiking boot footprints to many already there.
Clay stayed the night at Birch Run shelter. There was a lot of snow at this location and you can see a friendly snowman waiting to welcome weary hikers. Turned out Clay was the ONLY one sleeping in the shelter that night and it got down to the mid-20s, which turned out to be just about the lower limit of his sleeping bag unless he zipped it all the way up and just let his nose stick out. But it wasn't a bad night sleep, all things considered. And there was a nice stream passing right in front of the shelter providing a little white noise.
THIS is the official mid-point of the A.T.! It stretches 1092 miles in either direction. Thru-hikers have a tradition of stopping at Pine Grove Furnace State Park and eating a HALF gallon of Ice Cream from the store. The store makes sure to carry plenty of extra ice cream to cater to this tradition!
Finally back at Pine Grove Furnace State Park after 2 days and ~20 miles. Here is the store. Ice cream anyone?!?

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