Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day 81: Boiling Springs

May 27: The highlight of today was hiking through the small town of Boiling Springs, where every building seemed to sparkle with a fresh coat of paint and graffiti was non-existent. The trail passed along the edge of a scenic lake on the way into town which was filled with water from springs that the the town was named after.




Heavyweight and Superman beat me into town and I saw them on the back patio of Café 101 eating lunch. I joined them and ordered a sandwich (on a blueberry bagel in honor of the still-missing Blueberry somewhere ahead of us on the trail) and a Coke with Amanda’s name on it because I knew she’d like to know I was thinking about her. =)


After lunch, we headed up the road not even a block away to The Spring that Boiling Springs was named after. It wasn’t listed in any of our guidebooks, but I somehow had found it during my first thru-hike in 2003 and told them it was well worth a quick side visit given its extremely close proximity to the trail. It’s among one of the largest springs I’ve ever seen and so much water gushes out, it ripples across the surface of the water as if the water was actually boiling. It’s not boiling, of course. In fact, it’s quite cold and keeps a steady temperature all year long. Heavyweight and Superman asked if I’d drink the water untreated—they seemed fascinated by the fact that I didn’t treat my water and would sometimes ask if I’d drink from various sources. In this case, I gave them a yes—I’d drink from it without treatment. At least I would by its source where it bubbles out of the ground. Further down in the lake I’d avoid.


They decided to stick their heads in the water just because… why not? Maybe we could start a new thru-hiker tradition! I followed suit as well, working my way out onto a rock then dunking my entire head into the water. It was a hot day and a head of cold water seemed like a refreshing idea. I kept it under for a couple of seconds—at least long enough so Heavyweight and Superman could get photos of my head-dunking antics. With three of us dunking our heads, that officially makes a trend and a NEW thru-hiker tradition! Of course, we’ll have to make sure every other thru-hiker behind us hears about the tradition so it doesn’t stop.


The hiking in this area contained a lot of extremely flat farmlands! Woo-who! =)


A woman passing by told us that people have even scuba-dived into the spring, a feat that we all found amazing. The spring was huge, but it still would have been a tight squeeze for a person working against the current! They knew the spring went hundreds of feet down under the ground, but even scuba divers reached their limits and it’s not exactly clear how far it goes—or so I gathered.


I resupplied my snack supply at a nearby convenience store. There’s not a good grocery near on the trail, but knowing about the convenience stores, I had carried enough supplies to get me all of the way to Duncannon except for snacks which I knew would be easy to resupply here.


Then we hit the trail again. Heavyweight and Superman pulled ahead as they usually do.


The terrain was incredibly flat and easy. Spooky flat and easy. It took us through farmland, navigating a wide gap between mountains that make up the Appalachian Trail. The miles passed by quickly, and then the thunderstorm hit.


BOOM! BOOM! It was loud and wonderful! =) The rain, however, was wet and miserable. It was a pretty warm rain, however, which is a step up from cold and wet. Hot and wet is always better than cold and wet. =)


Boiling Springs was also once home to a cold-blast furnace back in the day.


Later in the afternoon, near where trail crossed over Interstate 76, I came out to a farm. Trees lined the edge and I saw Superman behind them through the thin layer of trees, looking like he was about to sit down to take a rest. I figured I’d wander over and join him when suddenly I saw his pants come down. Oh, no! NO! NO! I don’t want to see that!!!


“Hello, SEXY!” I said loudly to let him know I was there. The pants immediately came right back up. I hiked on, leaving him to do his thing. I caught up with Heavyweight further up the trail and told him that he made a terrible lookout since I had just walked up on Superman just about to do a dump.


It would become an ongoing joke for the rest of the hike. =)


The three of us set up camp in the Darlington Shelter for the night, joined by a single flip-flopper named Old School who had started his hike a couple of days earlier at Pine Grove Furnace. We were all curious about the privy since our guidebook called it the “Taj Mahal.” Sounded like a pretty impressive privy! But it was something of a letdown. It was a big privy—the size of a small room—with counterweights that would automatically close the door for you, but it wasn’t particularly fancy or interesting.


As Stoat observed in the shelter register: “I’ve never been so excited to poop and been so disappointed!” Yep, that summed it up nicely. If you call a privy the Taj Mahal, it better be awesome!


As dusk settled, I pulled out the temporary tattoos I’d been carrying since Marion and we used them up on a new gang initiation. Even Old School got into the spirit by applying one to his knee! =)


The trail followed the edge of this scenic lake on its way into Boiling Springs.


Downtown Boiling Springs!


I found a Coke with Amanda’s name on it at the Café 101.


Don’t panic! I’m not drowning! Just dunking my head into one of the biggest springs you ever did see. You can see some of the ripples on the surface water near where my head is—those are the springs that Boiling Springs is named after.  There’s also a dark patch in the water to the right of my head which is the crack that the spring is shooting out of. (The ripples away from my head are smaller and just the regular ripples you usually see on the surface of a small lake.)


Fun and games in Boiling Springs is over. We still have more trail to hike! Flat, easy trail… =) Parts of the trail had these very narrow forested areas between farms on both sides of the trail.




See, that forested area is a very narrow strip! There’s farmland probably 40 feet to the left of the trees as well.




The sky actually looks pretty nice in this photo, but you can tell it’s raining because I’m using my umbrella and I wouldn’t have been doing that unless it was actively raining. (The storm clouds were mostly above and behind me when I took this photo, not directly ahead.)


The odd thing about rain photos—most of them you can’t really see any rain or even evidence of it. Where the trail crossed this road, however, you can clearly see how wet the road is even if everything else doesn’t show obvious signs of being wet. Clue the lightning and thunder and you’ll have a good sense of what was going on when I took this photo. =)


The rain would start and stop throughout the afternoon, and the sun would come out and hide throughout the afternoon, and not always in conjunction with the rain! Here the clouds are so thick ahead and you can’t see any blue sky, but the ground is still in the sunlight!


Passed this small cemetery along the trail.


[Insert photo of Superman doing a dump here]


(That’s a joke—I didn’t actually get a photo of Superman doing a dump, but if I had, it would have been after the cemetery photo and before the dog warning sign photo.)


Well, that doesn’t seem like a very neighborly sign!












This bridge crosses over Interstate 81. (The trail crossed over two different Interstates today!) The two figures in the distance on the bridge are Heavyweight and Superman who generally hiked faster than me. Unless one of them stops to take a dump—then I might catch up with them. =)


Superman is on the trail! (I’m not really sure how I got ahead of him to get this photo of him actually hiking towards me. Actually, as I recall, Heavyweight and Superman stopped for a snack break and I did not.)




The trail crosses over the bridge spanning Conodoguinet Creek, then around and under the bridge along the creek.




The trail passes under PA 944 through this tunnel.


If you’ve lost your car… I found it! =)


At the end of the day, the trail started climbing a real mountain to the Darlington Shelter. This was a view during the climb, looking back at the flat terrain we had been traveling through all day.


Showing off our new trail gang tats! Superman put it on the back of his hand. Old School put it on his knee. Heavyweight and myself put it on our forearms. Mine is wearing the blue shirt. Heavyweight’s arm is the one with the real tattoo on his upper arm without the shirt.


Anonymous said...

I didn't think you were drowning, I thought you had been decapitated! But then I have been doing a Supernatural marathon.

Don't Panic!

Unknown said...

Haha, i also thought you had lost your head... glad it was just under water!

So i guess it's safe to assume that the people with the dog doesn't invite thru- hikers to supper? I mean, they're right there and everything!