After spending many weeks in Virginia, it was odd to hike through West Virginia into Maryland in one day, and then into Pennsylvania two days later.
The trail passes by Washington Monument in Maryland.
We passed the official halfway point on June 24th, right before reaching Pine Grove Furnace State Park. In celebration, the General Store in the park has a half gallon challenge where hikers attempt to eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. Keith and I passed on the challenge, preferring not to incur the wrath of our stomachs. The others in our group were braver and successfully devoured their half gallon of ice cream.
Eating so much ice cream can make you feel less than stellar.
We visited the AT museum and were inspired by the stories of the early thru hikers.
We spent a night in Mount Holly Springs where we sadly said goodbye to three of our hiker family members. We had a lovely dinner with them followed by line dancing.
We passed through the town of Duncannon, which felt a bit like entering the twilight zone. The town is rather run down and sad. The hostel we stayed at was dirty and had exposed wiring.
Our room in Duncannon
The following morning we had breakfast at the local cafe, which was full of strippers and the security guards from the strip joint down the street. We overheard lots of interesting conversation, including the comment, "I'm not smart. That's why I do what I do." We were glad to leave.
One day we came down off the ridge and out of the woods right into fields of corn. What a change of scenery! We traveled through fields for a few miles into the town of Boiling Springs, a scenic and quaint town.
We had been mentally preparing ourselves for the rocky terrain of Pennsylvania, which we knew we would not enjoy. However, our first few days lulled us into believing that it might not be as bad as we had built it up to be in our imaginations. WRONG! PA has been very challenging because we continue to endure an abundance of rainy weather, which is mentally challenging and an obstacle course of rocky terrain, which is very hard on the feet.
It has rained so much that about a mile or so of the trail was flooded and we had to navigate as best we could around the trail. Rubber boots would have been handy!
We are now at mile 1212 and have started the 1000 mile countdown to the finish. We are setting out in sunshine today and hoping that we get a few days without rain.
Next up New Jersey!