Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trail Recap 14 of 27: Half Way Pt. to Pine Grove, PA

Far and away the best AT logo on the trail:
Stained glass panel on front door of the ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional office,
Cumberland Valley, Boiling Springs, PA

Near Pine Grove Furnace State Park to PA 501 near the town of Pine Grove, PA (no connection other than the similarity of names):  ~102 miles

General Impression/Theme: Civilization!  This section gets my nod for the least wild part of the AT, but that's not to say I disliked it - it was a fascinating section to hike, full of variety.

People:  Bob 'Popeye' Pyhel, caretaker of the 501 shelter, who shared with me the amazing story of his 2007 attempted thru-hike in which he nearly died of a heart attack, only to recover and do a successful thru-hike the next year.  The Mtn. Club of Md. hard working maintainer working at the PA 850 parking area.  'Cool Hand', 'Desperado', and 'Solar Speck' out hiking a section Duncannon to Port Clinton who recognized me from my Trail Journals posts.

Supply/Overnight:  Commuted from home at first, then trailhead parking lots (all have good cell/internet access in this populous area), I-81 rest areas, Duncannon.

Halifax Township fire, Peters Mountain
Worst Memory:  Fire.  This and the next section both had significant fires right on the AT during the unusually dry spring season.  I passed the Halifax Township fire just days after it happened, with the embers barely out, still smelling strongly of smoke.  The more publicized Port Clinton fire was no larger, but was visible from major highways and population areas.

New Centerpoint Knob plaque, installed July 2012
Best Day Hike:  There is a 'best vista' - that of Duncannon and the Susquehanna River from Hawk Rock.  There is a 'best interactive experience' - the unabashed rock scramble over Rocky Ridge: start at Whiskey Spring Road and go south.  There is the most historic landmark: the long lost, but recently found and newly re-installed plaque at Centerpoint Knob.

And there is my personal favorite: the walk through the Cumberland Valley, and in particular the stroll beside Children's Lake in Boiling Springs from the newly reconstructed (April 2012) AT hiker parking lot to the ATC Mid-Atlantic Regional office.  It helps that I hiked this during the peak of spring bloom.

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