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[at-l] trip report (longish)...

Yesterday, I drove 4 hours from Pittsburgh to Caledonia State Park, then
hiked 2 miles north, then hiked back out, then drove 4 hours back to

The weather was spectacular - 75 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, no
humidity.  We (I took a newby friend) parked in the expansive parking area
within the Caledonia State Park, right next to the trail.  There are a
picnic tables, picnic pavilions, flush privies, and water fountains there.
This is an excellent place for a hiker to YOGI some food from picnicking
families.  A full-size recreational swimming pool is also there.  Many a
hiker has paid $2 (?) and showered and had a swim.  Since we are past Labor
Day, the pool is closed.  Also, for hikers, as they cross Route 30 before
entering the park, there is a PIZZA joint.  It is 0.5 miles EAST of the
trail - an easy walk up a paved road for some good eating...

I can envision a northbound stinky hiker getting to Route 30, turning left
and walking the 0.5 miles to get a full pizza.  Then walking or yogi-ing a
ride back to the trail and entering the Caledonia State Park.  Then pay
there money for the pool - stash there gear in a locker - take a shower -
swim, swim, swim - have a snack or two at the concession stand - take a
shower - get there gear and head out.  Then hang out in the picnic area and
yak with some locals and yogi some hamburgers and baked beans and
corn-on-the-cob.  Then load up on water, and use the flush privies, and head
out north.  If they have had an exhausting day (eating, swimming, yogi-ing),
there are a number of places within the next 2 miles to throw down a tent
beside the trail, or they can make the Quarry Gap Shelters - a wonderful
connected double shelter...

Oh, I'm sorry, this was a trip report...

We got our shoes on, and packed our day packs, and stretched a bit, and
headed north.  We had stopped in Chambersburg and picked up deli sandwiches
for lunch.  The trail was wide and level as it passed through the picnic
area and swung around the parking area.  It crossed a gravel service road,
then ascended steeply into the woods.  The sounds of the highway (Route 30)
stayed with us all of the way up to the ridge.  The ascent was roughly
parabolic.  It began steeply, then gradually became less steep with each
step.  There were many water bars - some needing work.  There were a few
short switchbacks.  There were a lot of rocks, but nothing like what is
encountered further north in PA.  A few rocks slides were visible, but the
trail tended to avoid them...

At the top of the ridge, the trail took a right turn and joined an old road.
Mostly, the rest of the hike was on old roads, or old-old roads, with a wide
flat treadway.  This would be a perfect hike for going hand-in-hand with
your honey bun.  The AT is one of many trails in this area.  The AT has been
properly blazed in order to keep you on the right path.  There are a few
mis-blazed blazes, such as one or two blue blazes showing up where they
ought not to be.  All of the blazing shows eradication and re-blazing...

A bit before the shelter, the trail passes an old homestead(?).  The
guidebook calls it "the former Locked Antlers Camp".  There were numerous
concrete slabs, and a couple of out buildings.  Everything is covered in a
thick coating of moss.  The spring was running.  There is a rhododendron
"green tunnel" prior to the shelter.  The shelter is a wonderful connected
double shelter, meaning that there are two identical shelters that are
side-by-side, with a 15 foot wide common area between, with a roof that
covers everything.  In the common area is a picnic table.  So, in essence,
you have two shelters and a picnic table that are all connected and

We could see a young fellow as we approached the shelter.  As we got closer,
he began to look familiar, but I could not put a name to the face.  He
greeted us by saying "Aren't you Pittsburgh?"  Turns out, he is a SOBO named
"Nightmare" that I had shuttled around a bit up in the Gorham area about six
weeks ago.  He is making awesome time on his hike.  We chatted for about an
hour.  He reports that a hiker named "Crash" fell over and died somewhere
near Kent.  Nightmare believes that he is the last one to have seen Crash
alive, sitting on a rock.  The next hiker along reported that Crash was
laying still, as if asleep, on the rock.  Someone then determined he had
passed away...

The shelter has a resident Black snake that was stretched out in the
rafters.  Mice probably are not a problem...

The hike back was fun, with the trail presenting itself very differently in
this SOBO direction.  There are completely different fields of vision when
descending as opposed to ascending.  As we continued, the sounds of the
highway interrupted.  We hung around the picnic area on a swinging chair
(like a porch swing), and just marveled at the perfect weather, the chirping
chipmunks, the squawking crows.  The drive back was anti-climactic...


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