Whether one sleeps in the woods or in beds, it takes a lot of planning to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. Today was one of those “getting ready for the next four days” days. Since it was also my second respite in the last seventy-two hours, I wrestled over the necessity of such a day when I awoke to gray skies, but no rain. Thinking I would rather be hiking, I had to convince myself over breakfast that all was for the best. When the steady, bordering on cold, rain began, I realized that my decision was a good one.
So for much of the day I rode in the back seat of the white Volvo, mentally taking notes on just how a supported hike can be fine tuned. Molar Man and Sweet Tooth have a method that works for them. We first drove back to where we left the trail yesterday so that Molar Man could navigate, via very precise AT maps, where Sweet Tooth could meet him with lunch and also where she could pick us up at the end of tomorrow’s hike. Given all the “back roads” and state highways that sometimes don’t even appear on a traditional roadmap, the “preparation and rehearsal” phase is indeed necessary.
After arriving at Pen Mar Rd., where we will finish hiking tomorrow, we drove into Waynesboro, PA and then to Caledonia State Park where Sunday’s hike will conclude. Checking places to meet along the route, we finally made our way up to Pine Grove Furnace State Park, the half way point and home of the Appalachian Trail Museum. Visiting the historic building, which truly captures the essence of the trail, was the highlight of the day. It was especially meaningful since I had read about many of the exhibits on display. Taking a break at the Pine Grove General Store was thru hiker Colin that I had last seen at the Audie Murphy Memorial.
From the park we scouted out places for Molar Man and Sweet Tooth to meet the following day; however, I only plan to hike with them the next three days. In fact, one of my reasons for rejoining them for a bit revolves around next week. Linda will arrive on Tuesday, so I hope we can duplicate the Ohio couple’s scheme for a few days. My mental notes better be good. I wouldn’t want my lovely wife lost some place like Rattlesnake Run Rd. Yes, there’s one in Pennsylvania. But hopefully after learning Molar Man and Sweet Tooth’s strategies, Linda and I will be just fine.
It has been a good day. Despite taking a day off, much got accomplished. Clouds are still lingering overhead, but tomorrow’s forecast calls for sunny skies, at least in the afternoon. A few Junes ago, Don would have been getting his gear ready for some bass fishing tournament on a Saturday morning. He competed in many and won a few. For me Saturday will provide another opportunity to move on up the trail. I couldn’t be more excited to get to the state famous for its rocks. Great days lie ahead as the adventure continues on the one of a kind Appalachian Trail.