Mile 41.4 – 101, Waynesboro, PA to Lisburn Rd., PA
Day 6: 8.6 miles
Pen-Mar Park to Tumbling Run Shelter
Took it slow getting out of the hotel, I made sure to really enjoy the continental breakfast. Got my shuttle at 10 and was on trail by 10:30. Very quickly got to the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. One state down, only 13 to go!
It was an easy walk to the first shelter, where I met two flip floppers. They were planning on staying there, but I only stopped in for lunch for a bit.
The rest of the trail was also pretty easy, some rocks but not bad and no bad ups or downs. Once I got to Tumbling Run Shelter, there ended up being 5 NOBOs staying the night too. They were fun to talk to, but for some reason the whole group of them being there made me really lonely. I think it was something about seeing them all knowing each other really well, and knowing that I would probably never see them again. Sometimes being on the outside looking in is worse than just being alone.
Day 7: 12.2 miles
Tumbling Run Shelter to Quarry Gap Shelter
Today started as a really bad day and then ended up as a pretty good one. I started the day still feeling pretty lousy, still lonely and just feeling off. I listened to some podcasts and that helped.
I also was thinking about trail names for myself, as a way to distract myself. I was thinking about the fact that my family has Norwegian heritage and was debating the name Viking, and then came up with Valkyrie. I really liked it but decided to mull it over a but longer.
The trail was pretty easy, felt like mostly downhill into Caledonia State Park. I stopped there for lunch, and texted my parents that I was there. They were actually right in the area so they headed over and I talked with them a bit. They said they might head up to the shelter to see if the rhododendron were blooming.
The last 3ish miles up to the shelter were uphill, but not bad. Quarry Gap Shelter was actually the very first AT shelter I ever stayed in, many years ago. It’s just as cute as I remember.
At the shelter, there were two NOBOs hanging out, J3 and Shiner. I mentioned Valkyrie to them and they liked the name so I decided to go with it. So I’m Valkyrie! I originally planned to have the trail name me, which I thought meant have nother hiker name me. So I’m not really following that, but I still feel like the trail named me, because I came up with Valkyrie because it gave me strength, in a weird way, on a day where I wasn’t going good.
J3, Shiner, another hiker named Sir-Stops-a-Lot, and I spent a lot of time talking. My parents ended up hiking up to the shelter with a cold pizza which the other hikers loved. I don’t really have an appetite yet, have to force myself to eat.
Day 8: 13.6 miles
Quarry Gap Shelter to Toms Run Shelter
Basically walked in a cloud all day. It was a wet, misty, cloudy morning. It was kind of creepy, but kind of peaceful too.
I hiked all 13 of my miles before lunch. When I got to the shelter, J3 and Shiner were there, and I ended up just hanging in the shelter with them for the rest of the day. It was nice to get to know them.
Day 9: 10.9 miles
Toms Run Shelter to James Fry (Tagg Run) Shelter
Woke up early (for me, late for J3 and Shiner). It was a pretty quick and easy walk to Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Passed a bug halfway sign from a few years ago. No where close to my halfway point though.
At the park, hung around with J3 and Shiner waiting for the general store to open. My parents (who were staying at the park) showed up with some snacks. We went into the AT museum there too.
Once the general store opened, Shiner, J3, and Mustang all completed the half-gallon challenge. I don’t have my hiker hunger at all, so I just enjoyed the show and had some lunch.
After lunch, I left J3 and Shiner, who were going into town, and went on to the next shelter, where I tenting. I’m going to try and stay in my tent more often, since I think I sleep better when I do.
Day 10: 15.1 miles
James Fry Shelter to Lisburn Rd Parking
The first 10ish miles today were hard. Don’t know if it was the fact that it’s my 10th day on trail or if they were harder miles than I’m used to, but they wore me out. There were lots of rocks, and no good views. The only point of interest was “Center Knob Point” which had a cool plaque, but no view.
There was a rock maze, which I would normally love but I just wasn’t feeling it today.
I got to the pastures around Boiling Springs, which I cruised though pretty quick to the town.
In Boiling Springs I stopped at the ATC Mid-Atlantic office, where I had lunch and talked with the volunteer. I then walked though more pastures to Lisburn Rd, where I got picked up by my parents.
Day 11: 0 miles
A great zero day, on Mother’s Day, with my parents. Did all the usual zero day stuff, like laundry and resupply, but also got to hang out with the fam.