Yesterday was a little bit rainy and very muddy all through the day. After the marathon 19+ miles from the previous day, my feet were surprisingly ok, but my back started to give me a little pain through the day. Seemed to have been helped by simply shifting the weight of my pack. I think I have muscles back there that have rarely been used (I swear, years ago on some trip to Japan I overpacked and had a way heavier pack than this that gave me so many issues… thankful not to run into those sort of crippling problems… yet).
First time using this goofy looking Frogg Toggs rain gear, just the jacket. Turned out not to rain enough to even justify wearing it today… but it was handy to have in case of a sudden downpour.
There was one sudden downpour, fortuitously timed just as I arrived for a break at Tom’s Run shelter. Some other hikers stayed there as well - looks like they got caught in the downpour and were a little soaked. We chatted a little - the man had been working on the AT for 8-9 years in small section hikes. This time they were starting up here and making their way down to Harper’s Ferry. I guess they will make it, but I was skeptical since they seemed to want to fall asleep in that shelter in the middle of the day. I guess it’s worth taking time to dry out!
Made it to Pine Grove Furnace and grabbed a light resupply at the General Store. Surprised that they also had a short order cook, so I ordered a hamburger with fries. Managed to also down two Pure Leaf teas and an orange juice. Cash only - first place I’ve encountered that was like that.
Bad timing - the AT museum across the street closed at 4pm and was only open on weekends this time of the year (before the peak of hikers comes through). Oh well.
Checked into Ironmasters Mansion Hostel and was able to pay with credit card. This place was right on the train, and there is another thunderstorm coming through tonight, so I thought why not? Got some laundry done and also got a shower out of it. This is a really interesting historic mansion with some bunk beds setup in some rooms. They also rent it out for special events like weddings. Lots of history here for sure! Iron was big way back when, in the 1700s. They decimated the forest here to fuel the iron chimneys for smelting (?), but another industry took over soon after, which enabled this area to regrow. You wouldn’t know by looking at it today - it’s pretty lush and beautiful.
More blossoms spotted - spring is getting closer and closer. It gets more green as I head up north, I guess more a function of time, since the “spring front” moves from south to north.
Met a hiker named Chipper at the hostel - he was the only other one there. Friendly and respectful, wouldn’t mind running into him again. I hope my snoring didn’t keep him awake.
Enjoy this town but it’s small and the general store is closed weekdays, so on this Monday there’s not much else to do. Glad to have spent one night here to recharge my batteries (my body’s and my phone’s), but it’s time to move on!
Beautiful morning but chilly. Appreciate this day even more when compared to yesterday.
My memories one year later
Not much I remember here, except for the good timing in avoiding the pouring rain. That would be a freak occurence of luck… I was sure to get my share of wetness later on.
I remember there must've been at least three or four different markers claiming to be the “halfway point” of the trail. What's funny is that the trail miles were adjusted again for 2020 (a season sadly cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic), so the halfway point is different yet again! I wonder how many new “halfway” markers will pile up on those few miles of trail…