Winter Appalachian Trail Thru Hike - Day 62 (30 miles)
I got up at Sandy's house, packed up and hopped in the car. It was 7am and after a short stop at the grocery store I was back in the center of Duncannon and on strolling along the AT.
First up was walking through the township, across the Suaquanna River and then a fairly steep climb up to the ridgeline. Pennsylvania is certainly got it's rhythm; steep but short climbs and extremely long, flat ridgelines.
Today I discovered the last Pennsylvania element that everyone talks about, the rocks. Small rocks litter the trail. I was amazed at how the trail stood out from the surrounding rocks - each hiker scrubs just a tiny bit of moss off a rock as them move through.
I actually found the rocks far easier than I expected, and was a bit disappointed in the hype. I had this romantic picture in my head of continual scrambling and always stepping on rocks all day. But the reality was constant vigilance to avoid tiny rocks sticking out of the ground.
Fog was the view until noon but then the day turned majestic. Perhaps the nicest day on trail to date? It was in the mid 50F (15C) with bright blue skies and a light and cool breeze. This is my perfect hiking weather!
I continued along and was totally blown away by the amount of birds of prey in the air. Hundreds of hawks floated on the breeze, drifting from one thermal to the next. I have never seen anything like that before!
I dropped of one ridge and after a quick climb up the next I continued along this second one until sunset. I still had another mile to go u til the turnoff for the shelter, so continued on after dark. I did notice that my headlight was dying. I must buy some more batteries.
I could not find the turnoff too the shelter in the dark so ended up rock hopping a hundred yards to it. I set out my sleeping bag and crawled in.