Carlisle to Pine Grove Furnace was chosen because of the ease of jumping on the trail and the to make it to Pine Grove Furnace for the AT Hall of Fame Festivities.
Day #1 Carlisle to Boiling Springs
Day #2 Boiling Springs to Alec Kennedy Shelter
Day #3 Alec Kennedy Shelter to Mt. Holly Springs
Day #4 Mt. Holly Springs to Pine Grove Furnace State Park
I outlined this a little bit in a previous post, but I was born and raised in Central PA. The smell of manure in your nose and the taste of scrapple on your palette all with the backdrop of Farms and high tension power lines running from Three Mile Island.
For most thru hikers headed in either direction this is blow by country, the kind of easy stroll that you can run 30 miles through in a day and never look up. I am not to that point and honestly I hope I never get there.
With the hike up Katahdin, and this short section I realized that every time I lifted my head up to look around I saw something amazing. Northbounders were blowing past me in a flat run barely acknowledging my existence.
I remember Pennsylvania as a grey dreary smelly waste of space growing up. Nothing to do nothing to see. Walking the fields and the lightly wooded parts of the trail I found that there is more beauty in my home state than I could have imagined. The fields suddenly became a vista of life, plants I never knew existed sprang into view.
Crossing streams on a log, and shivering in the cold rain did nothing to dampen my spirits. Yes it took me a day to go from Carlisle to Boiling springs but I felt free.
It was while I was staring at a thistle flower in a field and snapping pictures that I made the decision to ignore conventional wisdom. I would get the Start, Finish and Middle Mile markers out of the way so I could concentrate my hike on the journey not the destinations. Because as cliche as it sounds that is really what this has been about for me.
I doubt the sense of accomplishment I felt climbing Katahdin would be any greater had I walked 2180 miles to get there. Just as the Ice Cream at Pine Grove Furnace would not have been less of a rock solid brain freeze had I come up from springer before attempting the half gallon challenge.
And Yes I did eat a true half gallon including the extra pint. (Peanut Butter Cup and a pint of Vanilla in 47.7 Min)
I met some really excellent people along the way. A quick shout out to Roadside, I hope hikers haven treated you well. Honey Badger who is the first person I have ever seen eat ice cream with a pocket knife. The Secret Service agent who joined us at the table see you in Maryland.
Glide, Nukchuck and No Hican, may precious always be many miles behind you.
I also want to send a quick thanks to the volunteers at the Appalachian Trail Museum, you have an amazing journey ahead of you cataloging 75 years of history. Wind at your back explorers!