October 31, 2017
While hiking the A.T. in late October, a warm place to sleep is sometimes an extravagant luxury. We were very grateful for the offer of two nights in a cabin from our new friends, Dave and Edna. The cabin had charm, comfort, electricity, but no water. Sunrise this morning found us well rested and ready for another day of hiking!
We climbed into Edna’s van as the sun rose over the fields and drove to Boiling Springs, the end of our hike yesterday. This small town is the site of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Mid-Atlantic Regional Office, an excellent place for hikers to get information and relax in comfort while recharging electronics. Edna parked here and took us for a short walk to see the ‘boiling’ springs, millions of gallons of water forced to the surface via an artesian aquifer. We enjoyed reading the historical signs and learning about the area before starting our day’s hike.
It’s always hard to leave a trail town, and after saying good-bye to Edna, Jay and I couldn’t resist lingering to eat breakfast at the Caffe 101. While there, our trail friends, Gator and Not Yet, arrived. We dawdled over tea and coffee, chatting with the two of them, enjoying the unexpected encounter. Gator told of spending a cold, noisy night at the Backpacker’s Campsite, near very active railroad tracks. Not Yet had taken refuge at a convenient hiker hostel.
With “so long” and “see you down the trail”, we finally tore ourselves away and soon began climbing to Center Point Knob. This monument from 1937 marks the original halfway point on the Appalachian Trail.
Many people celebrate Halloween by navigating a corn maze with friends and family. We celebrated by traversing a “Rock Maze,” half a mile of impressive boulders arrayed along the top of a ridge.
From the maze, the trail led downhill to roam across streams and roads. Stomachs growled with hunger as we reached the Green Mountain Store off PA Rt 34, eleven miles from our morning start. We dined with Not Yet and Dave before climbing into Dave’s van.
As late afternoon darkened to dusk, our friend, host, and driver suggested we explore Gettysburg, 17.5 miles away. And so we ended Halloween with a visit into history, reading notices by flashlight, imagining the valiant characters depicted on the biographical signposts.