May5 Tumbling Run, PA to Quarry Gap Shelters, PA 13.4 miles

Published: May 15th 2009
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Nice quiet night with rain off and on. Woke up to song birds singing and no rain drops on the roof. Today is the last food we brought from home, need to stop in South Mountain, PA for the resupply box. Getting out of camp when everything is wet is a slow process. We started north at 9:30AM, CC in full
rain gear and me in rain jacket and hiking pants hoping it would not rain. The days trail started like the last few, up a long seemingly steep mountain. The wind was kicking up pretty good so it felt cold. I didn't have my mileage cheat sheet for today and we weren't exact on miles to the road into town. I was sure it was the first paved road we would come to. When we hit a dirt road with a sign for town, it took a minute to sort out if continuing on or taking this on in was better. Decided that the paved road was the best way. We might have to walk the 1.2 miles to the Post Office, but trying to get a ride back to the trail would be easier on the paved road.
Made the paved road by 11:30AM and started walking and trying to hitch as we made our way into town. No one stopped... Then we came upon a large complex on the edge of town. One of the PA State mental hospitals was on our right, could be why no ride. Then again if we were guests there wouldn't we be headed away from town? Weren't sure of the office hours and got there just after noon, luckily they didn't close for lunch until 1PM. The box was a welcome site and still we were rain free. It didn't take long for us to divide up the spoils and have them packed away. I mailed the used maps home and then CC and I stood in the office getting warm sending off our Emails. Just as we finished a woman
came in to do business and I asked for a ride back to the trail. She agreed and boy were we happy, not having to walk the extra distance over half of it up hill.
The ride was short and the trail head was soon staring us in the face. Why do the packs feel so heavy heading out of town? This hike would be easier if we didn't eat anything, you think.... Of course it was more climbing out of town. Once on top the ridge line we were met with boulder fields to navigate with full packs, glad they get lighter every day. Only 18 more resupplies to contend with. While walking today we talked about the other hikers we see. People told us before starting and we have read in books the days others saw no one else on the trail. We have walked 1070.9 trail miles to here in who knows how many days, and have yet to not see any other hikers. Today it was a "Hoods in the Woods" (young city folks who have had trouble with the law doing rehab by hiking. They have supervision and are some of the best behaved young people out here) crew slogging up a hill through water.
Dropping down into a gap we crossed into Caledonia State Park. After Memorial Day it is a jumping place, today it was deserted and quiet. We slipped in and out seeing no one. Leaving the park was almost painful! The trail headed up this ravine that was near vertical. Before we reached the top of the ridge CC and I both finally shed our rain jackets. How and why did our packs gain so much weight since breakfast? Sounding like a pair of steam locomotives we crested the top huffing and puffing in unison. The sky was starting to darken an bit and we both were praying the rain would hold off until we made the shelter. A few drops was all it took to get a bit more speed out of our tired legs in hopes the shelter would appear round the next bend. We passed though a number of rhododendron thickets that had to be pruned to allow hikers to pass. Soon enough we spotted the roof of the shelter and the day was complete and no real rain!
This is the most well kept and beautiful shelters we have seen thus far. How someone will top it is hard to see. There are two log house sleeping areas connected by a common roof. There is a picnic table in the space between the sleeping areas. Fire place to the front of the table, flowers planted along the
stream just 15' away and hanging plants on the corners of the shelter. There is even a chess/checker/backgammon game, playing cards and a book or two for reading. We managed to get supper done before the rain started. Had cell phone coverage so made a call or two. 7:45PM now and the temp is dropping and we cannot make a fire tonight as the pit just had work done and a sign says "No Fires." About time to get cozy with my sleeping bag, CC has been there for a while now. We are praying the rain will stop in the morning like it did today.
CC is doing something new this year. She is wearing a pedometer so she can track how many steps she takes. Some stats for all you number buffs.

Days on the trail - 5
Miles covered - 61.5
Steps CC took - 157029

Only 1103.4 miles left to Mt Katahdin!
Knowing how many steps it will take - Priceless!

Patrick, Deborah Mooney aka OD & CC
All Who Wander Are Not Lost


19th May 2009

Nice to meet you!
It was great to share the Eckville shelter with you and Randy last weekend to avoid camping out on a stormy night. My daughters and I enjoyed your stories and advice about the trail. Best wishes to you as you complete the journey!

Tot: 2.025s; Tpl: 0.042s; cc: 8; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0254s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 3; ; mem: 1.5mb