The 1st Hike of 2018

The 1st Hike of 2018

#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.  We had the entire path to ourselves, so the dogs enjoyed a lot of off-leash play.  On the return trek to our Suburban, Marshall, our 4 year old yellow boy,  picked up a stick, carried it over 3 miles, and ultimately placed it in the back of 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 rather flat, padded with an under layer of pine needles and free of large rocks, so the path was easy on the feet.
  • The trail is wooded and the trees block most of the wind.  There is one small unsheltered section where power lines are overhead.  Boy was it cold crossing over this section!
  • 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.
  • There is a shallow stream near the shelter, so the dogs could get a drink and not 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.

The map on AllTrails:

PDF version of the map

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