About forty miles from the Maryland state border in Pine Grove Furnace, PA sits a stone building built more than two hundred years ago as a grist mill that now houses the Appalachian Trail Museum. The museum is near the midway point of the Appalachian Trail and thru-hikers traditionally stop and celebrate by attempting to eat a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting at the Pine Grove General Store.
Appalachian Trail Museum, Pine Grove Furnace, PA
Adventurers who follow the white blaze from Springer Mountain, GA to Mount Katahdin, ME earn the right to be called a thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail. The white blazes are the white paint brush strokes that mark trees and boulders the entire 2,081 miles of the trail. In rare areas where the trail dissects a town, hikers have to canvas telephone poles, buildings, street signs, and even sidewalks for white blazes.
The White Blaze marking the Appalachian Trail
Midway marker on the Appalachian Trail. 1,090.5 miles north to Mount Katahdin, ME, and 1,090.5 miles south to Springer Mountain, GA.
Many thru-hikers consider Quarry Gap Shelter the nicest shelter on the Appalachian Trail.
Most shelters on the trail are rustic three-walled structures or lentos, sturdy buildings constructed of logs to protect travelers from the elements.
Trekking from Pine Grove Furnace to Maryland marked my first trek on the AT without my hiking partner Bella. I’d scattered her ashes from a couple of overlooks we regularly hiked to and during this hike I wrote Hiking With Two Feet to commemorate the many miles we’d put in together on the trail:
Hiking on Two Feet
haze lingers on the Susquehanna
hydrogen, oxygen and dreams
of timber hauled by horse-
drawn wagon a century ago
to construct shelter along
a mile-high ridge
rapids gurgle and flush
through leaves of maple
mist lifts your wet tongue
strokes my face, I wake
fasten my backpack
and follow your paw-less lead