Over the course of 2013-2014, I hiked the Mid State Trail in Pennsylvania with Hillbilly Bart. Most people don’t know much about the Mid State Trail, and they should: it’s a great trail from border to border. It’s got good maps, a good guidebook, and a great community of supporters. It’s more interesting and more challenging than the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.
This is the story of my two-part journey.
Part 1: The North
Detweiler Run to New York
May 30, 2013
Today we left the Standing Stone Trail for the Greenwood Spur and our 2nd to last trail system of the Great Eastern Trail. The Greenwood spur took us along lots of water and hemlocks. When we reached the Mid State Trail proper, the yellow blazes turned to orange.
So far: a lot of rocks and a lot of uphill. We climbed Broad Mountain and the intermittent spring was dry. I set up camp while Bart went in search of water. I was very grateful for his extra effort.
May 31, 2013
We made it to the Woolrich Shelter! Well, kind of. Not really.
Today we went under the infamous culvert, which wasn’t nearly as sketchy as I’d been told. We flew through the next piece of trail, eating lunch at a lovely stream. I powered up the next five-mile uphill and even had to wait for Bart, which is usually unheard of.
Together we reached Hunter’s Path and took the steep spur trail down to a parking lot where we intended to meet trail angel Dave. On the way down the trail, I asked “What would be your dream drink right now?” For me: cherry coke slushie. For Bart: beer. Within half an hour, both of our dreams came true. We were soon whisked away by Dave to Woolrich.
Today was incredibly memorable; a jumble of love and excitement and friends and food and incredible hospitality. I will never forget this experience of being in Woolrich.
June 2, 2013
Not bad mileage considering we started the day in Woolrich and had to get back to the Hunter’s Path. Joe and Lorraine delivered us back to where we’d left the Mid State Trail. It was hard to say goodbye to this whirwind experience.
But it also felt natural to be back on the trail. We started climbing back to the Mid State around 1:30. Although the trail today was rocky, it wasn’t very rocky, and I was able to move at a normal pace.
We had to detour around the closed tunnel at Poe Paddy, which was sad. We saw a copperhead and a rattler, plus a huge turtle. This state is teeming with life.
We tackled Thick Mountain and are a short walk from Hairy John’s.
June 3, 2013
We cruised to Hairy John’s this morning and had a great snack break. We needed it, because today’s elevation profile looks like a treadmill designed it for maximum output of energy.
One wonderful aspect of the day is some seriously cool water sources like Cinder Pile Spring. I’m always amazed by eastern springs and how prevalent and cold they are.
We had incentive to go fast and far today: we planned to meet up with MST legend Tony. We popped out of the woods by Sand Mountain Firetower and he was just pulling in. Pretty amazing timing, as we hadn’t committed to a time or place.
What a great night: stories and laughter