The last section of Pennsylvania!!! Woot!
It wasn’t clear whether I was going to be able to get this state done before the end of the year. I was determined, however, and put an all out call to any of my Facebook friends who might want to do this last 12 miles with me…and one of them said YES!!!!
My friend, Lola, and I opted outside on Black Friday! I had to leave pretty early from Frederick, Maryland to get to Swatara Gap by 8:15 am. I pulled up beside the iron bridge with time to spare…only to notice that there are new signs declaring cars will be towed. Well, this is new to me. The last time I was here it was okay to park on the side of Rt. 72…NO MORE! So when Lola cruised in behind me a few minutes later we backtracked, going around to the back of the creek, on the old State Road, in order to park in the “real” parking lot. Just an fyi folks…no parking on Rt. 72 anymore! (maybe it was always illegal…but lots of people did it, including me, and never got a ticket or anything)
With one car properly parked, we headed to 501 to begin the last section of PA for me!!! This day was meant to be. Warm temps, blue skies, …Black Friday? Felt like an early spring day!
We were greeted with a fantastic view just south of 501. After that it was pretty decent hiking (with the understanding that it is Pennsylvania and there are the regular amount of rocks along the way).
A nice sunny spot was waiting for me at the William Penn Shelter. I took the opportunity to soak up the sun while chomping on a crisp apple…oh the delights of fall. “What the heck?…Oh, my phone.” It was in my right pocket and digging into my hip in a way that was none too comfortable, so I rolled to my left hip and yanked it out. Apparently, my chapstick felt the need to also exit my pocket in a leap for freedom and promptly fell through a crack in the floor of the shelter to the ground below. The one item I hated to lose. *sniff* “Bye-bye chapstick…so sad you are gone.” 😦
Moving on, the trail resumed the regular rocky until after the old powerline view. For about a quarter mile there are some bigger rocks which required a bit of rock hopping. “Come on rocks, dance with me!” I muttered under my breath as I tipped forward, then backwards, on one of the looser specimens. At this point, I looked to my left and right. I stopped, calling back to Lola, who was doing a bit of dancing of her own. “Look at that” I exclaimed, pointing to the woods beside the trail. “Do you see ANY rocks over there???” It was a rhetorical question, as there were NO rocks to be seen anywhere EXCEPT where we were walking…teetering…whatever. Oh, Pennsylvania, you amuse me…
It seems my feet have gotten soft since my backpack in PA this summer. As we approached the steep downhill into Swatara Gap, they were quite vocal in their disapproval of this 12 miles! When I stepped onto the road, after following the trail underneath I-81, it felt so good! Level ground, no rocks!
Whelp! PA section is complete!
It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and there are some sections I would love to do again! I loved this state most for the people who hiked it with me. Dirigo, Python, Google, CanDo, Queen V, Lola and many other women I met through Trail Dames. Also, my brother, Albie, who hiked a portion of the trail between Pine Grove Furnace and Caledonia SP with me. He showed me that I could do a 15 mile day! Brothers are awesome!! 🙂 🙂
On to Virginia and softer trails! Hike On! 🙂