So here I was in the midst of teaching Calculus for the first time and while I was delighted in that assignment…the task of preparing lessons was sucking my summer right down the drain. I felt unbalanced, like a stool that is missing a leg. But then, finally, a day arrived that I could truly claim as my own! Immediately, I grabbed my AT map and planned my escape to the section that had thwarted my completion in May. In May, access to this section had been denied as parts of the AT were under a foot and a half of water! Well, no more…and Sidekick Pauli and I set our compass north heading for Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
We arrived around 9 AM and after a quick pit stop we started down the trail. The first couple of miles were flat and paved with either asphalt or small gravel. It was a pleasant, cool stroll along the stream and I was impressed with the early morning serenity of this place.
After rounding the Lake and crossing a very substantial looking bridge, the trail continues on crushed gravel to the parking area for Pole Steeple. On my way, I was seduced by a side trail…then found a bridge out (and with no water shoes) so I had to back track to the main trail.
Of course by the time I got back on the main trail nature was calling, not in a good way…yeah, I needed to go… Well, I had missed my opportunity down the trail with no bridge, but I refused to back track just to go to the bathroom. I refocused my energy on getting to the turn off for the Pole Steeple Trail. Made it to the parking lot for Pole Steeple in no time, took a short break at the picnic table to eat a snack and drink some water before heading up to Pole Steeple. Sidekick Pauli enjoyed sitting there by the lake!
Packing up the goodies, we headed across the deserted road and up the trail to Pole Steeple. There were a few others on the trail and was delighted to find a pack of children coming down the “steep” side of the trail (as opposed to the “less steep” section). I asked them what it was like…I wanted to determine if the “steep” option would be reasonable for Sidekick Pauli. I mean there is steep, then there is rock climbing steep…
The kids weren’t all that adept at giving an account of the trail. I know that just boggles your mind! They were having so much fun pummeling down the trail and recounting the number of times they almost DIED, that their info, while amusing the heck out of me, was not very reliable. Luckily, an adult couple with a dog came up from behind and assured me that it was not THAT BAD!!! Well, that settled, up we went! And it wasn’t that bad!! 🙂
After coming down from Pole Steeple, I headed over to the AT. At this point, nature could not be ignored, so I found a nice secluded spot off the trail and took care of business.
SECLUDED, did I say secluded???? I was barely getting myself together when a group of people came out of no where, headed straight for me!!! Holy crap…seriously? Oh well, they were decent enough (or completed shocked enough) to avert their eyes…haha :D.
Meeting up with the AT was a welcomed event. I said “Hey there trail, I am back!” and I turned Sidekick Pauli to the right, heading south to Pine Grove Furnace SP. What an easy stretch of trail!
It was a delightful walk back down the mountain and soon we found ourselves back on the nice flat path back to the parking area. Passing the Lake on my way back to the car I saw several families picnicking while their children played in the lake, screaming with delight as water splashed all around them. The smell of hotdogs cooking on the grill and that coconut scent of sunscreen hung thick in the air…ahhh summer!