Mid State Meander March 13-15,2009
The Mid State Trail in Pennsylvania is an underused wonder. It is slated to run from the southern border of PA to the Finger Lakes trail in NY. I is the PA link in the Great Eastern Trail which is planned to run from the Keys in Florida north into Canada. The Mid State trail will celebrate it's 40th anniversary this year. One of the local micro brews will be releasing a Mid State Trail Ale for the occasion.
I was out on a small section of that trail over the weekend. I hiked in at night having to meet one of our intrepid party at Poe Valley State Park, the planned end of the hike. But plans have a way of changing.
The hike in from Bear Mountain Road was uneventful but for me somewhat treacherous. Did I mention the Mid State Trail has the reputation of being the rockiest trail in the state of PA. Which is saying something given the rocks on other trails in the state.
With my neuropathy I do not always feel the ground underneath my feet very well. Night hiking just adds to the excitement. But it was truely an uneventful hike in thanks to the guy I had picked up.
We camped Friday night on the Greenwood Spur near Detwieller Run. Setting up in the dark is always interesting but I did manage to find a couple trees and set up camp. The super shelter got it's first workout. I was somewhat chilly that first night. Particularly towards daybreak. It was down into the high 20's. Colde enough for the sip tube of my bladder to freeze but the nalgenes of water we still liquid.
My kit that night was a cheap heavy Wally World Coleman 0* sleeping bag, lught weight polypro lohn johns and a Holly Henson sweater. The super shelter was equpped with a heat sheet blanket as usual and as recommended.
In the morning I got up after sunrise to discover our campsite in the daylight. The creek was right near the site and was an excellent source for water. I packed up and headed back to the car retracing what I had traveled the night before. One thing the dark does is to "even out" some of the terrain. Had I known what I went down the night before I would have been better prepared for what I had to up in the morning. But I made it, finally, to the car and set off to the next jump in point.
I snnozed in the car for a while before starting in. As I set off I found my electronics had been zapped of the vast majority of their battery power; except for my vid cam which was working. My practice is to hike for about an hour and then take a short 10 min break. In this case this brought me within .1 miles of the next campsite. I had not known how far I was when I stopped to rest, but I was getting to the point where my legs were starting to shut down and so I would have stopped where I did anyway.
That campsite presented some different challenges in that most of the trees were either dead or in the process of dying. Or... they were too close or too far apart.. I ended up hanging between two trees, one of which I knew was dead but seemed solid. The other I can only surmise was dead but I really don't know because new growth is not evident at this time of the year.
I strung up my hammock and tested everything out several times and it all seemed to be sleep worthy. That is until well after I had gone to sleep and the head end webbing slid dropping me on my noggin ad waking me up from a solid snooze. In my daze and collapsed circumstances I could not get out without help. Fortunately two of my comrades were still by the fire and assisted my in escaping. I had forgotten to put the safety in my ring buckles. The foot en would have slipped soon if the head end hadn't gone first.
It was not as cold that night and I added a a pair of pants to my kit as well as a gortex rain coat. I slept wonderfully warm in what I figure was the mid 30's.
One of our members did not make it to camp that night but camped out alone. We went into strategy sessions and decided to change the plan of the hike to be able to meet back up with our separated hiker. All in all it was an excellent trip and a very good showing, IMO, for the Super Shelter. I am very please with that piece of gear.
My plan was to hike back out to where I had parked my car which was also the emergency meet point for our stranded colleague. He showed up pretty much as we thought we would, but there was some searching for him going on at the same time by folks we knew in the area who had joined us for the evenings but had not stayed the night.
I have not yet processed my video, but I will get that up in the next couple of days. Unfortunately it is not as complete as it could be. I do not have the luxury of pole mounting my camera as I need both poles all the time for balance. But I think it will geive folks a taste of the Mid State Trail.