Monday May 6, 22.5mi/36.2km
Tom’s Run shelter (1100.5) to Boiling Springs Backpacker camp (1123.0) (PA)
I said goodbye to the other three hikers in the shelter, and hiked out at 7:45am. I was in no hurry, since the General store and AT museum opened at 9am and they were only 3 miles away. It was a nice warm sunny morning, such a change from yesterday’s weather!
When I got to the Pine Grove general store, they were closed! Apparently they are only open on weekends until mid-May. This was the store where hikers celebrate being halfway done by trying to eat a half gallon of ice cream. Given how much I love ice cream, this was pretty much the saddest thing ever.
In hindsight, starting the AT in mid-march was bad advice – many things are still closed for the season! Starting April 1 would be much better…
At least the AT museum was open. It was pretty neat, with lots of displays about the trails history, early hikers, and the gear used.
After 30 minutes I continued on, and just in time too. A school field trip had just arrived with a hundred kids!
The trail was nice all morning as it meandered thru Pine Grove Furnace state park.
At lunch, I stopped by a general store in Mt Holly Springs.
They even had Birch beer, which I love and used to drink all the time on road trips thru Pennsylvania. So I had pop and a milkshake, haha.
In the afternoon, there was a short bit of roadwalk, maybe a quarter mile.
And then a short rocky bit, but it was fun scrambling over the big rocks.
The trail smoothed out again after.
I came around a corner, and there was a massive rattlesnake. It was mortally wounded, but still half-alive, poor thing.
After the snake, I was watching out for more of them. But, the trail left the forest and went thru farm fields for the last couple of miles of the day.
It reminded me of the Te Araroa, farm fields, cow smells, and no camping allowed. I camped just outside of the town of Boiling Springs, at a campsite they have setup for hikers. Three older guys from Kentucky were also camping there, and it was fun to talk to them at dinner. They had thru hiked together in 2016, and had lots of good advice. The campsite is nice, and free, but it’s also only 150ft/50m from train tracks, so it will be interesting to see how late the trains run tonight!