Mid State Trail days 4-6: Everett to Williamsburg
It wasn’t raining anymore, but our noses were in Guthook on the way out of town.
Some comments on various waypoints noted some recent trail relocations on the way out of Everett, but we couldn’t find any.
After stomping through piles of mulch in an abandoned-looking parking lot, we found some faded blazes and resigned ourselves to walking the old railroad bed.
Popping out onto a highway, a 2.5-mile road walk through open farm country was hard on the knees. Jello moo’d at some cows to pass the time, and I sang “Do you wanna buy a farmhouse?” adapted from the movie Frozen.
We made an abrupt turn onto the mud-and-cowpie road of a farm and promptly lost the trail.
“I think it goes through the cow pasture,” said Jello, pointing to an electric fence and a field of mud. A few cows turned to look at us, swishing their tails. Cows are always bigger than I think they are.
We threw our packs underneath the single electric fence wire, ducked carefully under, and squelched through the poop. The cows weren’t impressed.
I’m always fascinated by the well-traveled paths that disappear into the woods behind Pennsylvania farms. They seem to go somewhere important and nowhere at the same time.
We followed one of these steeply up the mountain, happy to be away from the road and back in the shade. The spring green of new leaves reminded me of Virginia on the AT. So did the sweat, the burning calves, and the urgent need to shit.
After a brief bushwhack, the rest of the day was spent balancing the ridge. Jello saw his first porcupine. The trail was rocky and brushy and rough and overgrown. Tracts of private land just off the trail had been recently logged, providing incredible views.
A fun but draining day ended with a quiet campsite beside a spring, and a single Barred Owl asking “Who cooks for you?…”
A grassy road walk through state game lands led us down off the quiet ridges to a highway just outside of Loysburg.
Flopping down in the dirt to eat some Cheez-its, a man and his dog came by, letting us know that the turn from the road walk back onto the trail was easy to miss. We assured him that we were experts at missing turns.
The highway walk was lovely in the sun. I’m supposed to complain bitterly about road walks as a hiker, but I don’t mind the road walks on the MST. Most of them are old, grassy management roads, and quieter than any popular trail on the east coast.
And besides, it was a beautiful day for any kind of walk.
A calf-burning climb up the mountain led to gentle rolling terrain beside a stream for the rest of the morning. The afternoon was spent on grassy forest roads, once again walking a ridge top in the sunshine.
Town was on our minds. On Google maps, I checked to see what was in Williamsburg, PA, and stumbled across the only place to stay – the Blue Lantern B&B.
We were feeling tired and had put in extra miles the previous few days. As soon as we had enough service, we booked a night for when we would arrive in town.
The night was spent on the breezy ridge, which, nonetheless, cannot be beaten for a sunrise.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t clean my cook pot. I scrape the mac and cheese sauce out with my spoon, throw the whole mess in my bear bag, and call it a night.
Jello thinks that’s nasty, so when we hit our first water source two miles into the day, he let me use his fancy gravity filter system to clean the burned noodles out of the bottom.
Soon after, we hopped back onto our first singletrack trail in close to 24 hours. It felt good to climb a steep grade again, if only for a few minutes.
Double-track trails were again the name of the game, and for much of the rest of the day, we made great time on rolling terrain. Some singletrack ridge walking broke the monotony towards the end of the day, and one last night was spent on the ridge.
And you can’t beat a ridge for a sunrise.
I’m writing from the back porch of The Blue Lantern, which is a fantastic, beautiful old house dating from 1905.
This morning, we hammered out a five-mile paved road walk into town. It was wise to do so in the morning before the temperature rose and scorched the cornfields and the cheese in my food bag.
We picked up our resupply box at the post office and filled in the gaps at the Dollar General. The normal hiker stops were next: the laundromat, the pizza place, and the local park to swing on the swings.
I love small Pennsylvania towns. I grew up in a Philadelphia suburb, where cows and farm fields were as foreign as water on the moon. The more I walk across my home state, the more I realize I haven’t known it much at all.
Williamsburg is a beautiful, old small town between mountain ridges. We’ll be sad to go, but back to visit.
In the meantime, we have a date with a few more mountain ridges. And after all, you really can’t beat a ridge top for sunrise.
By the way, you can find the corresponding vlog here.
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