Sunrise, Ice Cream, Swimming: Two Days on Trail
Hiking the AT can be tough. Ya know, living out in the woods with minimal responsibilities and not much to do each day but walk.
Thought I would share what a few hours on the trail are like.
Monday, July 16
1,075.3, Chimney Rocks
We got up at 5 a.m. for the beautiful sunrise. Amazing view, good coffee, and even better company. That’s what this is all about, ay?
Caledonia State Park
We had heard a little about there being a place to swim and shower in CSP. The $6 price tag posted in the guidebook had us thinking it was a bit hefty for some hikers. We can always shower and swim in the stream, though the concession stand definitely caught our attention.
It didn’t take but a few moments after the waterslide and pool were in view before a decision to go swimming was made.
We had lunch poolside, and of course Miss Feet whipped out the jet boil. We needed our “elevensies” coffee. We got a few things from the concessions before taking another dip in the pool before heading out.
Before leaving, ya know, I wanted to rinse down and get all that chlorine off me and my only pair of shorts. I ended up going full hiker trash, running between the shower and hand soap dispenser from the sink across the bathroom. Rinsing and lathering up then hopping back in. It wasn’t until I had strategically spun the hand dryers at each other and stood in the middle before I noticed two others in the restroom.
Nailed it. I don’t even care. I’m cleaner than I was?
We finally hiked out after some ice cream, to prepare us for the half-gallon challenge, knowing we still had a ways to hike.
Saw a beautiful shelter, possibly the nicest I’ve seen on trail yet. Only being a little way into PA, it is very clear how much they enjoy taking care of their part of the trail, as well as the hikers.
We made it to the shelter that night, where we had our first bonfire in quite some time. It’s always nice to end a day of hiking around a fire.
Tuesday, July 17
1,093.6, Birch Run Shelter
We got up early, preparing for the ten miles into Pine Grove Furnace, which is home to not only the Appalachian Trail Museum, but also the half-gallon ice cream challenge!
A couple miles out from the shelter we came across a wonderful couple doing trail magic. We chatted and snacked for an hour before hiking on to Pine Grove.
There were a handful of hikers completing the challenge outside the Pine Grove general store, and we had a special visitor waiting for us. Uncle Hooyah, our trail angel from Damascus, had come and surprised us. It was great catching up and seeing you, Hooyah. Thank you so much.
We had a rough go on the half-gallon challenge. The store was out of all the flavors we had mentally prepared for. Giggles had even brought sprinkles from a few towns back.
Anyway, I settled on raspberry, the girls going with orange sherbet and vanilla. I was able to finish in under an hour, and the ladies took a tad bit longer. We had a great stay and checked out the museum before heading out.
1,103.9, Fuller Lake
After completing the half-gallon challenge, we started hiking out as it began to rain. As we passed by the lake, a woman questioned how we were going to walk by without getting in. We quickly found a spot to set up camp and then went for a dip.
We brought our food bags with us to possibly make dinner down near the lake but ended up meeting an unbelievable family from the Dominican Republic who had been barbecuing all day. They were heading home and had tons of food left. They loaded up the grill with chicken they had left and gave us sodas and bread. They left us with a massive feast. Thank you all so much.
We had an incredible 48 hours out here; lots of ice cream, laughs, swimming, and a little bit of hiking. Pretty sweet life.
Smiles, not miles, right?
Hope all is well. Finishing off Pennsylvania soon.
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