Half way there

Day 81 Pen Mar Park To Quarry Gap Shelter – AT Daily Miles 20.4; AT Total Miles 1088.1

The five days at home flew by and I was back on the trail by 9 AM at Pen Mar Park. I can’t say I was that motivated to get a strong day in, but that’s always the case after I’ve been home for a visit. In the end I got in over 20 miles so I consider the day a success. The weather was very nice in the low 70s so not too hot for hiking though a little bit warm on the up hills. Early on I crossed the Mason Dixon line which was nice. I thought there were a lot of rocks to scramble over which is a carryover from Maryland. Pennsylvania is famous for them so I better get used to it. Being in the green tunnel there weren’t a lot of great views, but still, it was pleasant considering a lot of the flowers in bloom.

Tomorrow I will be at the state park that is the official mileage halfway point and will need to decide if I want to participate in the half gallon ice cream challenge. Not sure I wanna ruin the remainder of that hiking day having eaten a half a gallon of ice cream but I’ll decide that tomorrow. For now I’m very tired and looking forward to a good nights sleep. Only problem I see with that is that I decided to sleep in the shelter tonight and can already hear rodents or something scurrying and chewing. Could be a long night.

Gorgeous Flowers

Mason Dixon Line

Rocks Starting Already

Day 82 Quarry Gap To Rainy Stealth Site — AT Daily Miles 20.8; AT Total Miles 1108.9

I was right that it was a mistake to stay in the shelter. I never get a good nights sleep even if I’m the only one in it. Not sure why, but that is always the case. I do best in my tent.  As easy as the hiking was today overall I should’ve gotten in a lot more than 21 miles. The two things that slowed me down were having a burger and fries at the state park and rain and thunderstorms in the evening. Overall, it was a great day in the end with lots of pretty scenery, though not the dramatic views from earlier in the trip. Still, Spring is awesome. I ended up passing on the half gallon of ice cream challenge in favor of the late lunch or early dinner whichever it was. After I was done eating and talking to a couple hikers at the state park I was headed back out at 5 PM with rain in the forecast by 6 PM. I was able to get in three more miles during light rain and thunder. Just as I finished setting up my tent the heaven’s let loose. It was nice to crawl into the tent as the rain was starting.  Lots of great highlights today! I crossed the official halfway point so I’m now on the downhill side of the trek. I crossed the 1100 mile mark which means less than 1100 miles to go!

Tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day for hiking with temperatures in the low 70s and no rain in the forecast. I should be hiking through a small town towards the end of the day so maybe dinner before I head to a campsite again?


Half way

Great trail

So much green!

Day 83 Rainy Stealth Site To Boiling Springs — AT Daily Miles 15.7; AT Total Miles 1124.6

It was a very short 15 mile day today. I was at an in between distance because of restricted camping in this section of the Appalachian Trail. You can only stay at the designated shelters, or in towns and hostels, but stealth camping is not allowed. I had not researched that or might’ve done my mileage differently. As I was hiking, I was faced with a short day or a really long day and I chose the former but Ireally second-guessed myself. If I had to do it over again, I would’ve done the additional 8 miles instead of being done early and sitting around.

I think today was pretty easy with a couple boulders scrambles in the beginning and a long walk across farmers fields at the end. That really adds to me second-guessing myself. Next time I’m in the situation I will go for the longer mileage, but will probably regret that too!

Tomorrow, I’ll have about 20 miles to get to the next town for a better resupply. I’m thinking that should be pretty easy. I’ll probably be wrong again lol.

This way

Boulder hopping

Love the clouds

Day 84 Boiling Springs To Duncannon — AT Daily Miles 25.2; AT Total Miles 1149.8

Well, I feel better about my hiking after a good night sleep and a nice breakfast in town. I had gone to bed not happy with myself for quitting at 16 miles in thinking I should’ve gotten in another eight. I was determined to make today a much better day if not just longer.  The 25 miles I put in wasn’t really hard until the very end. In the beginning, it was a lot of fairly level farmland hiking. By the end of the day, it was a lot of rock hopping. Pennsylvania is nicknamed Rocksylvania. What scares me a little bit is that I’m not sure the rock hopping I did today is even part of what makes the state famous for rocks. What if a lot worse ones are coming up soon?

My big decision was whether to quit at 21 miles and camp at a shelter or push it to 25 and get into town. I think it was a good decision to get into town because I was able to get a shower by about seven and immediately head down to the local pub for a sandwich and 2 pints of beer. In the morning, I’ll do my laundry, have breakfast, and do a resupply. hopefully, I will be on the trail by about 10 AM. Not sure yet where I’m headed but somewhere between 20 and 25 miles down the trail.

Boiling springs

Cruising farmer’s fields


Day 85 Duncannon To Rocky Stealth Site — AT Daily Miles 16.4; AT Total Miles 1166.2

Today started with me doing a load of laundry and eating a big breakfast at the local diner. As soon as the hostel’s store opened, I did a quick resupply. Quick isn’t probably the right word to use though as I didn’t end up getting on the trail until 9:30 AM. Still, that was better than if I had spent the night on the trail and just gotten into town in the morning.  My pack felt really heavy with the resupply and the climb out of town up into the surrounding hills was both very steep and sweaty. It was a hot morning and only going to get worse. In fact the whole week looks like it’s going to be a warm one. Summer might finally be here to stay.

There weren’t a lot of great views today. They don’t call the Appalachian Trail the green tunnel for nothing. I thought it was very rocky and an AT maintenance volunteer, called a trail runner, told me it would get worse during the last 40 or so miles in the state. That means I have about three or four days of just kind of bad before the real bad lol. It was about 5: 30 by the time I got to a good campsite with good cell signal where I could call my wife. I knew if I went another few miles to a water spring and that I would have no signal plus could possibly be harassed by the local Ranger for camping in a questionable area. I thought it a good idea just to stay right there knowing it was safe.

Tomorrow it’s about 20 miles to another hostel that I might camp at or stay in that has some supplies.  I don’t know that I will need to do any laundry but a shower is always very nice as is pizza and ice cream. That would all happen at the very end of the day, so we’ll see if the day
cooperates or not.

Cool hostel

Crossing the Susquehanna

This is a trail?

Day 86 Rocky Stealth Site To Swarma Gap – AT Daily Miles 19.3; AT Total Miles 1185.5

I think today ended up being a pretty average day. I got out of camp at an average time, hiked at an average pace on average terrain, and got to camp at an average time. My goal for the day was to get some supplies at a hostel and then decide whether to stay there or move on. In the
end, I had a frozen pizza, some ice cream, and stayed for laundry and a shower.

The almost 20 miles on the trail today went by pretty quick. There is a little bit of everything including rock hopping, areas that were regrowing after a fire, crossing a beaver pond, and even a cool dark living tunnel. I could’ve done a few more miles but it felt about right to quit where I did. It sets me up for 20 miles tomorrow to the next resupply place where maybe I could have a sub, ginger ale and chips for dinner before camping for the night.

I think this is a good time to end this particular blog after six days of hiking in this state and six more days to go. I’m a little apprehensive of these next six days though because I think that’s where the rocks are supposed to get really bad. Tune in to the next blog entry to see how bad it really was.


Beaver pond

Cool dark tunnel




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Comments 2

  • Leigh Ann Hunker : Jun 10th

    Congratulations on making the halfway point, Jeff! Look forward to your updates and photos! Hope the rocks take it easy on you!

  • Marcie Scruggs : Jun 17th

    Well done Jeff! Looking forward to your next post. I am hoping the rocks go easy on you.


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