Day 61 on the Appalachian Trail

Today featured contrasts with hiking through young forest, trail with smooth and rocky stretches, cornfields, and town. At 6:30am, I ate breakfast of waffles, apple sauce, OJ, a bagel with cream cheese, and coffee at the Ironmasters Mansion hostel. On the trail before 7am. The Appalachian Trail ran through the Grove Furnace State Park for a mile then gained elevation into young forest. The manager of the hostel told me that PA has been clear cut three times, the last one ending 50 years ago. This explains the scarcity of large trees along the trail. I noticed several clumps of white Indian pipes (see photo). These translucent white plants are parasitic on other plants. At mile 7.3, I passed the turnoff to the Tag Run shelter. The AT continued without much elevation change to a campsite at mile 11.3. I ate an early lunch. I ran into Ghost at mile 15.3. We pondered where to stay in Boiling Springs. Our only possibility appeared to be a campsite next to the busy railroad tracks. I called shuttle guy Mike who told me he could drive us to a motel in Carlisle if we could get to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy office in Boiling Springs by 3 pm. That meant walking 4 miles in 1.75 hours. We hoofed it hard to town but arrived too late at 3:15. But we learned from others hikers of a new hostel in town. Ghost got a ride to Carlisle to deal with his feet, while I got a ride to the new hostel. For $10, I got a soft, shady campsite and a shower. I was elated. Plus I soaked my sore feet. The number 4 toe on my right foot is swollen and painful to the touch. I have no idea what's ailing it. Today's miles -19.3. Total miles – 1,121.0.

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