town days: days 64-70

Day 64: Tom’s Run Shelter to mile 1113.5, 14.8 miles
Day 65: mile 1113.5 to 1139.6, 26.1 miles
Day 66: mile 1139.6 to Peter’s Mountain Shelter, 18.6 miles
Day 67: Peter’s Mountain Shelter to William Penn Shelter, 31.4 miles
Day 68: William Penn Shelter to PA route 501, 4.1 miles
Day 69-70: 0 miles 
Total AT miles hiked: 1193.7

We just had a few short miles from Tom’s Run Shelter to Pine Grove Furnace State Park (for those of you not from Pennsylvania, a “run” is another word for a creek). Along the way we passed the actual midpoint of the trail! We arrived at the park and waited for a couple hours for my mom & brother who were coming out to take us to lunch and drive us to a store to resupply. The benefits of hiking though your home state! The general store was closed for the season still, but there is an AT museum at the park that is well worth a stop if you’re in the area. 

It was a quick visit, and soon we found ourselves back at the park hiking back into the woods with way too much food. It always seems like too much food when we start hiking after a resupply, but after ten miles or so our appetites return and we’re happy for the calories we’re carrying! We made it about 11 miles before setting up camp in a nice spot by a creek. 

The next day we unexpectedly found ourselves in Boiling Springs, a small town in the Cumberland Valley. I had misread our guide, and didn’t realize the trail leads right through town. We opted not to eat there, because we’d just been in town, but grabbed a soda and watched a mother duck nudge her babies off a ledge into the pond, much to our amusement! The rest of the day was mostly spent walking 12 flat miles across Cumberland Valley through farmland and fields. We climbed a small hill, and then continued on easy terrain to a quiet spot next to a small streams.

The following day we walked through yet another town, Duncannon! This time we stopped at The Doyle, a small restaurant and hotel that caters to hikers. Garrett remembered it fondly last time he passed through, and his memory was correct. It’s run by an eccentric couple, and we talked to one half of the couple, Vicky, while we ate our lunch. On our way out she gave me a huge hug and told me that, “you have a good one!” referring to Garrett, and I whole heartedly agreed!

We stopped for ice cream afterwards, then crossed the Susquehanna River on a busy bridge,  and hiked up a steep hill to get back to the ridge. Despite the good feelings we had leaving Duncannon, we spent more time there than we had planned, and with rain on the way overnight stopped about seven miles shorter than we had planned at the spacious Peter’s Mountain Shelter. 

The loss of seven miles was worth staying dry overnight and not having to pack our tent up in the rain the next morning. We normally don’t have to keep to much of a plan, but a few days prior we’d decided we would get off the trail for a few days to visit my mom at our family’s lake house for a couple days. We set up a rental car, and a shuttle to get us to the rental car, so we had to make 35.1 miles by 10am the following day. Despite a forecast full of rain, we set our sights on William Penn Shelter 31.4 miles away. We powered through the rainy morning, and made it 18 miles by 12:30pm to the nearest shelter for lunch. We lingered a couple hours to warm and dry-up a bit, and when we hit the trail again the rain had mostly stopped. We made our goal a little before 7pm, and settled in for the night. 

We felt really good the next day, and the 4.1 miles to the road flew by. Along the way Garrett finally got a picture of an Indigo Bunting. We saw this type of bird a few times in Virginia, which was very exciting as it was a bird I’ve hoped to spy for many years. I didn’t realize we’d see so many on the AT! We arrived at the road at 9am, and waited for our shuttle driver to take us twelve miles to Lebanon to pick-up our car. Driving was a little weird after not doing so for over two months, but we were happy to hit the open road and go onto two days off by the lake! 

indigo bunting

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