Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pine Grove Furnace State Park

This morning Claudia was off to work – last day of school for her and she had to pack up all her stuff for the summer! Olivia, being a teenager, is rarely up before noon so I was on my own.  After breakfast and a quick walk around the neighborhood I was off to WalMart for a quick resupply before heading across the state to Pine Grove Furnace State Park

Pine Grove Furnace is the halfway point of the Appalachian Trail so I wanted to visit and hike some of the trail. This is where the hikers, having completed half the trail, take the “Half Gallon Challenge” and attempt to eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting.  Most succeed.  At the last minute my dad decided to join me so he could try out some of his camping gear.  He’s been reading a lot of AT hiker’s memoirs and wants to try “real” camping.  

Central PA is lovely!  Rolling hills, farms, quaint little towns, roads going every which way and every town and intersection is very confusing if you are the least bit unsure where you are going!  Right out of Shrewsbury I  got off route and encounter a sign warning of a 10ft clearance up ahead.  I was pretty sure I’m under 10ft, but just barely, I decided not to risk it and turned around (it’s a good thing I have such a small RV – anything bigger and I wouldn’t have been able to turn around).   I don’t currently have a GPS, I have google maps on my iPhone, which works great but it sometimes requires 2 hands and it’s hard to use while driving. 

Back on route I soon came to another 10 ft Clearance sign!  This time there was another road I could take.  There was a “Sleepy’s” Mattress Store truck in front of me and he was surprised by the sign and went down the other road so I followed him.   Luckily my side road lead me to the road I wanted to be on and I didn’t see any more low clearance signs!  I’ve now decided that encountering a Semi coming the other direction is a good sign! :-)

I stopped for lunch at Codorus State Park near Hanover.  It’s a beautiful park on a huge lake! They have boat rentals, a big pool, a campground and lots of picnic tables.  The park was mostly deserted today too!  I found a picnic table and had lunch and took a quick walk near the lake before heading on down the road. 

Getting through Hanover was easy navigation wise, but not so easy because it was full of traffic! ugh! 

Once outside of Hanover the road  got hilly and with a 55 mph speed limit and the windows open it was kinda like driving my own roller coaster!

Soon I came to the turn off to go to the park!  Once I got to the park I had more navigation difficulties – I’d passed 2 day use areas, but no campground. I turned around and went back to the 1st day use area and found a board with a map! The campground was just a hair down the road from where I’d turned around!  agh!  I took a map and headed back to the campground, which I found easily!  

Dad was here waiting, but I think he’d just gotten here!  I quickly backed into my site and he started setting up the tent.  An hour later we were ready to explore a bit.  RV camping is so much easier – just put it in park. 

I cooked my 1st meal in my RV!  All the other times I’ve been camping I’ve brought leftovers from the week and microwaved them, tonight though, I was making scrambled eggs!  I know, a culinary challenge! LOL!  I also prepared a salad for both of us and then cooked my eggs – using almost every piece of kitchen gear I have!  They turned out just like eggs at home!  We also sautéed up some garlic scapes – a garlic like plant I got at the CSA this week and they were yummy too, gave the eggs a nice garlicky flavor. 

After dinner we went to the evening program at the campground amphitheater – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the AT.  We knew almost all of the 10 things, but they had 3 Thru-Hikers who were passing through the park to answer questions so that was fun! I know one of them has a Trail Journal so I’ll look him up when I get home.  (Here’s a link to Diesel’s Trail Journal)

Since it was finally dark Dad made a fire – he’d been wanting to try out his cotton ball and Vaseline fire starters he made after our “almost spent the night on Mt. Rainier” event from 2010.   He got a good fire going and I’m sitting here on my computer!

The campground has quieted down so it must be bedtime!

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