(written the morning of 4/13 inside the Tumbling Run shelter)
Only did 8.5 miles today. Didn’t want to overdo it, and also didn’t want to hike in the rain today. Big thunderstorm passed through here last night.
Tumbling Run shelters were awesome. Really well maintained shelters with a super clean privy (what they call outhouses out here) with air fresheners and hand sanitizer. Nature Conservancy and AT magazines inside, and a nice covered table with a rose on it. Only thing weird are these creepy ceramic faces they’ve put up in the trees… seems familiar, like something folks used to do years ago, maybe in the 80’s or so.
They have two shelters, one for snoring and one for non-snoring folks.
Thought some folks were using the other shelter last night but I’m not sure. The AT seems to pass right by here, so I suspect they were just passing through. They had all their rain gear on, so I guess they were prepared to keep going. I have my Frogg Toggs cheap raingear, but haven’t used it yet. I suspect I will eventually.
The two shelter maintainers came by with their dog Mocha and chatted and gave me some advice. They said the next week or two is a really nice stretch of trail. After that it gets more rocky - the man used the term I’d seen once before - Rockslyvania. These two caretakers are avid hikers and I think hiked the entire AT. They also hiked the John Muir trail, a 200+ mile stretch that I’ve only done part of on a day hike. After just these few days on the AT, my confidence is higher that I could tackle those scarier high-altitude hikes in the Sierras.
Mailed myself a resupply in Duncannon yesterday. It’s nice to set these mini-goalposts, and have something to look forward to. This resupply is a little farther away this time. Interestingly, I saw an Amish or Mennonite lady at the post office with her daughter. Pretty sure her daughter saw my pack lying in the corner and asked “what’s that, mommy?”
I totally understand their back-to-nature or simple life aims, but there is enough modern tech packed into that backpack that makes it much easier to hike the AT. At the very least all that modern tech makes things lighter, not to mention the advent of cellphones to help with navigation and also comfort (as much as I like the sound of rain and thunder, it was super comfortable to be able to listen to music on my headphones last night). For all the evils that tech brings, there are also clear benefits… and those mysterious gadgets packed into my backpack helps get out in nature in many ways.
Aiming for around 12 miles today. There’s a restaurant up ahead called Timbers, recommended by the caretakers of this shelter. They even have the restaurant menu here, with recommendations highlighted!
My memories one year later
That shelter turned out to be the best three-walled shelter of my entire half-hike! And the caretakers were super friendly and not boastful, even though they had said they hiked the entire trail, as well as the John Muir Trail. Their advice: take it slower and savor every moment. I loved their philosophy.
I believe the caretakers had taken care of it for a while, maybe even passed between generations? I can't quite remember. It did seem clear to me that they had some sort of friendly rivalry with the Rocky Run Shelter just north. They said something to the effect of “we recommend stopping at that shelter. It's nice, but we have to say, not as nice as this one [Tumbling Run]".
I have to also add that the privy at Tumbling Run was cleaner than the bathroom at the Doyle Hotel in Duncannon, no joke. And it had hand sanitizer and an air freshener! Super clean smell as well.