It is not everyday that I get to hike with one of my siblings so this was an especially exciting hike. My oldest brother, Albie, is a boy scout leader in Indiana. He brought some of the scouts out to Caledonia State Park as they were going to visit Gettysburg, PA for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
He also wanted to hike a bit of the AT…which of course, I was only too happy to help him plan! This section is pretty calm and I thought it would be a good stretch for the scouts. They get a badge for hiking a couple of 10 mile stretches and since this was 15 miles, it certainly fit the bill!
I headed up to Caledonia on Sunday night intending on camping out with the scouts. But of course…it was pouring down rain and lightning when I got there! When there was a break in the weather, the scouts put up their tents…I rolled out my sleeping bag in the back of my Toyota Highlander and literally “car camped”!!! Best decision EVER.
Next morning we struggled to get the boys up and moving, but finally got to the trail head at about 10 AM. Let me tell you…the drive up the gravel Woodrow Road is long!
We got our picture taken at the trail head, then started down the trail. I was out in front but stepped to the side to let the boys go by as they were moving faster than was I. Within a few seconds they were out of sight, and a few minutes out of earshot! We did not see them again until we got to Caledonia. However, everyone coming north on the trail gave us an update! I love the trail community!
I had forgotten the AWOLs elvevation profile map at home. We both wish we had a map. It is interesting to see the surrounding area and know your progress by checking landmarks along the way. Oh well… 15 miles is my longest hike yet…but I felt I would not have any trouble with this section because the terrain was so nice…a real ridge walk…very few ups and downs. The day was perfect, not too hot and somewhat overcast which kept temperatures down. I was able to complete it without any trouble. And Albie would have been able to as well had it not been for the fall. My brother slipped on a rock and fell coming off of a bridge just before Birch Run shelter. He twisted his knee and strained his foot. This was five miles into the hike…we still had 10 miles ahead of us. So he limped up to the shelter and we had lunch while reading the trail log. It was quite entertaining! Then we experienced Trail Magic…the ATC official map was in the shelter. It was left by a thru hiker who was almost done with the section and didn’t need it anymore. Love it when that sort of thing happens!
We didn’t talk a lot along the way…but I don’t think we needed to. It was just a great experience to have him walking the trail with me! He was able to take breaks and actually catnap…I have never been able to manage that! In fact, if I am hiking solo I rarely sit down to take a break. I must learn to sit down and rest!
As you can imagine the last 10 miles went slowly due to my brother’s foot…but I didn’t mind. I didn’t have anywhere I needed to be and I just love being on the trail.It was pretty amazing that he walked the last 10 miles on that foot! I was a little concerned that we would finish in the dark as I had not packed my headlamp, but my brother had one…so I stopped worrying and just enjoyed the trail!
This is a beautiful section, not much in the way of views, but great pine trees and forest. The most amazing shelter is along this section, Quarry Gap. You have to see it to believe it! A sundial, flowers, a gate and many other little details that show true workmanship.
All in all, a fantastic day!