Starting out 2017

Friday, May 12th, 2017
Boiling Springs, PA
AT Backpackers Campsite (1125)

Dad drops me off at spot about 1/10th of a mile from where I stopped last year, due to last year's location being on a busy state road. After going the wrong way in Massachusetts in 2015, take time to get oriented correctly before getting bag on. Modest equipment adjustments, picture, hugs, and off on Trail. I'm close to giddy. It's unintended; just seeing the trail and the forest open up is just, inspiring. 

Have to do close to 10 miles today and 15 tomorrow, more than I'd like but it's geography. From Boiling Springs to the next campsite - a shelter - is 15 miles, and no camping is allowed between. 

Today's hike is cool and overcast, with modest elevations. Trail is rocky in parts but manageable, including needing to scootch up a couple larger rocks. Run into three day hikers and a section hiker from New Jersey. That hiker, R.T. Has done New Hampshire south to where we stand talking. I ask about the rockiest sections further north and he says from Duncannon to the New Jersey border is brutal. Same as what the guides say. 

About 1.5 miles from Boiling Springs the trail dumps out into vast farmlands, with an AT sign saying the lands are being actively farmed. "The lands are being farmed to maintain the historic pastoral setting along the trail." Hikers are asked to stay on the trail. Some of the young wheat has been pushed down, and I'm thinking it might be badly behaved hikers camping out. But seeing it multiple places seems more likely it's deer. 

See the path to an ATC backpackers campsite just before Boiling Springs while exiting the fields, its isolated, so decide to go into Town first. I'm low on water, there's none at the campsite, but there's a small market in town.

Enter town and there's a pond with a bunch of people fishing. Like wearing waders on the side of the pond fishing. There are ducks and geese in the pond, and head past it toward the ATCs Mid Atlantic office to check it out. They have water inside, so get some there and skip the market. 

Three hikers here. Talk to one. Truck driver quit his job and is doing a flip-flop* and is nine days out of Harper's Ferry hoping for Katahdin. Staying at a hostel tonight as he's developed bad blisters after hiking in wet socks and boots for a day. 

Read about the pond, which is man made and originally built in the 1750s to power an iron works. It's fed by 30 springs issuing 22 million gallons a day. The bubbling spring water is what gave the town its name. Other signs indicate it was last stocked with trout on April 1st. 

Go back and set up camp at 2:30. Two other hikers arrive by 5:00. 

Talk with one. His trail name is "Papa Yeti". I asked how he got name, and he said his kids are long out of the house, and his wife went away on a trip. He decided to binge watch a show called "Finding Bigfoot". Every time his wife would call he'd explain what he was doing. Next time the family came together his sons started calling him "Bigfoot" and "Sasquatch", with one finally calling him "Yeti". Once the grandkids heard this they started chanting "Papa Yeti! Papa Yeti!"

Light rain expected tonight and all day tomorrow.

  • FlipFlop: start in roughly the middle of the Trail, usually Harper's Ferry, WV, and hike to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Go back to Harper's Ferry and go south to the southern terminus on Springer Mountain in Georgia. Variety of reasons to do this, but usually for slower or less rushed hikers due to the increased hiking season. 


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