The 1st Hike of 2018 – Happy New Year

The 1st Hike of 2018 – Happy New Year

#52hikechallenge2018 Week 1

As has been our tradition for the past several years, my husband, dogs and I kicked off the new year with a hike.  Monday’s hike also served as the first of the 52 Hike Challenge.  We completed a 7 mile out and back trek on the PA Appalachian Trail south of Pine Grove Furnace and north of Caledonia State Park.

The weather was extremely cold for southern PA: 9°F with wind making it feel more like 0°F.  The recent snow fall provided a 3″ covering of the trail, which made the path slightly slippery.  The dogs loved romping in the dry snow, and I enjoyed the beauty of the sparkling white trees and trail.  The dogs enjoyed a lot of off-leash play since we had the entire path to ourselves.  On the return trek, our 4 year old yellow boy, Marshall, carried a stick over 3 miles, and placed it in the vehicle as a take-home treat.  All the dogs had icicles under their chins, and I believe that Brian and I would have, too, if we weren’t wearing face masks.

Why I picked this trail for Day 1 of 52:

  • This trail section is easy on the feet.  It is rather flat, padded with an under layer of pine needles and free of large rocks.
  • The trail is wooded and the trees block most of the wind.  There is one small unsheltered section where power lines are overhead.
  • There is plenty of parking (12 spots) in the Shippensburg Road lot.
  • The Birch Run Shelter is located 1.4 miles from the parking lot.  It has a privy (bathroom) which is far more appealing than doing any “business” in the wind and snow.
  • A shallow stream near the shelter provided the dogs with enough water for a drink and not too much to get soaked in the cold weather.  Having a water source  that we passed twice kept us from having to carry packs with water bottles.
  • I feel at home on the AT, so it seemed appropriate to start the year hiking it.

I recorded our hike, but the cold weather killed my phone and the recording stopped 2-ish miles to the end.  So the stats are not correct, but the trail is highlighted on the map enough to show the pathway.

PDF version of the map

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