September 18 (9 miles, 6.75 hours) AT PA Map 1
We’re trying something a little different. Because we’re venturing farther and farther from home, we’ll straddle two day’s hiking with an overnight stay. Using the excellent website (appalachiantrail.rohland.org) we decided to stay at a B&B and learned that shuttle service was available. We met Michael at the Gelinas Manor where we will spend the night. We parked our car, then he shuttled us south to Sheet Iron Roof Road, a safe parking spot just around the corner from the Rt. 94 crossing. We made the 9-mile hike back to the B&B in the quaint town of Boiling Springs. The $45 fee for 2 days shuttling allowed us to log more trail miles and got a countryside tour as a bonus. We realized that we’re also getting the opportunity to see a part of our nation that would otherwise pass unnoticed. Here’s contact information for Michael’s Shuttle Service: mike@ATshuttler.com cell:717-497-6022.
This section gets high marks for interest. The terrain was one of the most varied we encountered. It starts through a lovely wood. Tree roots line the trail. Then it travels through a stand of tall pines. Their lower branches up to about 30 feet were bare. The morning sun magnificently illuminated them with a golden glow as we passed. Then it’s a steep climb up to a mile-long, very rocky ridge. It’s comprised of huge boulders and the trail winds through a stony labyrinth. We found it physically difficult to scamper around and over the obstacles, and actually lost our way for a bit. We missed a blaze at the top and scooted down to a ledge and faced some challenging clinging on rock ledges to get by. It actually was a fun diversion, but it’s best to keep a sharp lookout for blazes on the top.
While there, we encountered one young man practicing rock climbing. He placed a padded mat beneath an overhanging ledge and he was upside down clinging to the outcrop with his fingers, as we passed. He looked like he was having fun. But I’m sure it’s an experience that Jane and me will avoid. There was a good bit of up and down on this section and it really tired us out.
Having recently read a book about artist Andy Goldworthy and his technique of creating works in natural settings, I could envision some of his sculptures set in the rocky formations we encountered.
We saw a lot of hikers todays including several south-bound thru hikers. One long, lean, lanky Georgia man said he was averaging over 20 miles a day, but posted about 30 miles in the flat section to the north that we will hike tomorrow. Another young woman from Virginia was looking forward to a brief visit home before continuing her journey.