Day 102- 7.1.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 20.8 miles (1071.4-1092.2). We woke up happy that we decided to stay in the shelter instead of tenting- no wet gear to pack up! We got water at the Old Forge Picnic Area then headed to Tumbling Run Shelters. Yes, shelter with an ‘s’ on the end- they have a shelter for snoring and a shelter for non-snoring hikers!
We received a message from Tim, one of Fuego’s fraternity brothers, asking where we would be camping tonight. He wants to come meet us on the trail! We had a long lunch at Caledonia State Park. The park is really nice. There is a river that runs through it that people were playing in, a pool with a slide, picnic tables, grills and restrooms. The park also has a snack bar, so Fuego got two hot dogs and I got an ice cream cone.
After lunch, we had a little bit of a climb then reached the cutest shelter I’ve ever seen. It’s tucked into a forest of rhododendron and you walk up to a cute fence around it. There were potted plants, tent pads, two shelters, covered picnic tables and a little creek that ran along side it. It seriously looked like it could be Snow White’s house. The welcome sign had a little duck on it :). Once I peeled myself away from the cuteness, we headed to the next shelter where Tim would be meeting us. On the way, we saw a huge rattlesnake! It was blocking the trail and attempts to get it to move to the side did not work. We ended up giving it a wide berth and walked in the shrubs alongside the trail. I may have hopped and screamed while I went by…
When we arrived to the shelter, Tim was already there. He brought us each a sub from Subway and a bunch of snacks. He also carried in a 12 pack of strawberitas and a ton of beer. Needless to say, he made friends fast at the shelter :). Everyone was sitting by the fire hanging out. This was the largest group of they hikers we had camped with in awhile. It was nice to be part of a large group again. Hanging out with Tim (who we hadn’t seen in like 5 years!) made me realize I need to put more effort into making sure I stay connected with friends.
Day 103- 7.2.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 11miles (1092.2-1103.2). We woke up and it was actually pretty chilly. We hiked with Tim to his car and then sat down to drink some Straberitas. We met Arlene and Martha, two section hikers that we talked to before heading out.
We hiked to the official halfway point- 1094.6 miles! It was actually kind of anticlimactic. The half way point moves every year because the length of the trail changes every year. The actual halfway point for 2015 was a picture of the sign that is at the mile mark for the halfway point from 2 years ago. After we passed the signs, we passed the 1100 mile mark- lots of milestones today!
We had an easy hike down to Pine Grove Furnace State Park- home of the half gallon challenge! This is where hikers try to eat a half gallon of ice cream at the half way point of the trail. Fuego and Bagels each finished their half gallon. I, surprisingly, ate only slightly more than a pint of my half gallon. There was way too much plain vanilla in my cookies n’ cream! After that, we went to the AT Museum at the park. They have some old gear from early AT hikers like Earl Schafer and Grandma Gatewood. We took free showers at the park then decided to croc it to a campsite. Pretty much decided that we would camp as close to the base of the hill as possible so we could enjoy being clean for the night. We made a huge fire and went to bed pretty early.
Fancy Pants: We hiked 17.5 miles (1103.2-1120.8). Bagels decided to try to hitch to Slacktime’s house for the 4th, so we decided to stick with Plan A and hike on to Boiling Springs. We found out that a lot of our friend group was going off-trail to another friend’s house for the weekend. It definitely stung since we had all been in contact about plans for the weekend. I was thinking of a bunch of weekend Hail Mary plans for Fuego’s birthday, but everything I could think of sounded like it would involve a rental car and a lot of off trail time. I decided to wait and see how the weekend would play out.
The trail in this section was super flat and went through corn fields and hay fields. Just south of Boiling Springs, there is a campground that hikers can stay at for free. It is just a mowed area with a porta potty, but it’s better than nothing and the only hotel in town was all booked up. We set up camp then went to the community pool for $2 showers. Since we weren’t paying for a place to stay, we decided to go to the Boiling Springs Tavern. It was built in the 1830s and has a lot of character, with lots of dark wood and old decor. The bartender was awesome and even gave Fuego a birthday beer. We hung out with Easy Go and Lost Boy.
Happy birthday, Fuego!!
Fancy Pants: Zero day in Boiling Springs, PA. At the recommendation of the bartender at the tavern, we went to Cafe 101 for breakfast with Easy Go and Lost Boy. We each got the backpacker platter- 2 eggs, meat choice, toast, home fries and French toast. Fuego had to finish mine! Boiling Springs has a tradition where they host an Anything That Float Race on the lake in town. I’ve never seen anything like it and it was hilarious!
A volunteer at the ATC office in town showed us a posting on the bulletin board inviting thru hikers to a barbecue that afternoon. It also mentioned showers and laundry could be done there. We decided to go and I’m so glad we did! Everyone there was so nice and welcoming! They had a full spread of food (including veggie burgers:)) and a cooler with some beer. There were about a dozen hikers that stopped by. We left around 7:30 to go back to the campsite. We were very grateful for the invite and I was happy Fuego got to have a fun birthday on the trail.
Fancy Pants: We hiked 13.7 miles (1120.8-1134.5). On paper, the hike today should have been a cake walk. For some reason, we were slow. It was really hot, but the trail maybe had 100 feet of elevation change over 10 miles. We took a lot of breaks and were happy to get to our campsite tonight.
Fancy Pants: We hiked 16.7 miles today (1134.5-1151.2). The first part of today was pretty uneventful. We were expecting more rocks because of a warning in the guide, but I didn’t think it was exceptionally rocky. There was a nice view of the Susquehanna River from Hawk Rock. Once we got into Duncannon, PA, we stopped at the (trail) famous Doyle Hotel to pick up a package from Guthook. I’ve heard that the food and the bar ore okay, but that the hotel gets to be in worse condition as you go up to higher stories. Worse as in the rooms have not been updated at all since the 1940s. They allow hikers to shower there, so that sentiment was corroborated by other hikers there with us.
We hiked up to Clarks Ferry Shelter at the hottest part of the day. Because of the forecasted rain, we decided to stay in the shelter. We camped with Briar and Nettle, sisters who started their hike on May 1st! Running into May starters is making us feel like bums!