A work day on the AT

Sun. Blue skies. No snow. Highs in the 50s. It’s about damn time!

I finally got out on my section of the trail today, which is the best section of trail I’ve ever encountered. I cleared some small downed trees and branches and trimmed back some baby birches so they don’t overtake the trail. I’ve got about 5 or 6 blow-downs, and my hiking club will have to come back with me so we can get those chainsawed out of there.

My section of the trail starts in Swatara State Park and heads south.

** Thru-hikers should know that they’re taking a new gas pipeline under the trail, in the trees just beyond the photo below. I am furious.

It heads through a meadow first, then up to the ridge and through your typical deciduous forest.

Then it heads downhill for a long time, until it hits Hay Creek.

After Hay Creek, there is a short spur trail out to an old cemetery that was used by the Village of Rausch Gap.

After that fork, the AT heads up to a rail trail, which is all that’s left of the railroad that once ran through the village.

From there, you head down the rail trail, across the bridge over Rausch Creek, and south to Rausch Gap Shelter.

I was trying out new boots (the Altra Lone Peak NeoShell 3.0 Mid), which were great, and I’ll write a review after another hike or two in them. I was also testing some new Zamst ankle braces to keep my trashed ankles from rolling. Not so sold on those, but I also think I had them cinched way too tight for climbing. I ended up in considerable pain (the plastic pieces were digging into both Achilles and left ankle bone a lot) but loosening them seemed to help. I’ll likely try them at least one more time before making a final decision.

I ate a big dinner when I got home because I never eat enough while I’m out.

I almost ate all of it…chickpea pasta with broccoli, mushrooms, and butternut squash sauce. I have some leftovers for another day!

Today was perfect for my mind and body, aside from the pain caused by the ankle braces. My head feels a lot clearer about things with my wife and the kids. I’m just going to have to let things go. Yes, this is a lot easier to feel solid about being that there is time and space in place right now. It will be more difficult if she decides to end things when she comes back, but it feels really good to be in a positive headspace for today, and I’ll definitely take that.

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