Appalachian Trail- Swatara State Park

Lime green forest

The other week I attended a conference in Hershey.  Every evening after the conference, I decided to hike sections of the AT.  First up was Swatara State Park.  This park features several miles of Swatara Creek, mountain bike trails, a rail-trail, the AT, and I-81.  I parked the car near the Waterville Bridge as the skies threatened with rain; I decided to head north out of the park.  I crossed the Waterville Bridge and went under I-81 as trucks zoomed overhead.  Under the interstate were some log benches.  I continued on the trail as it ascended the ridge as the leaves began to bloom, creating a lime green forest.  There were some nice campsites along the way.  Upon reaching the top of the ridge, I decided to turn around and hang out under I-81.  It is not often that you hang out under an interstate.  I drank water and had some snacks as the traffic rumbled overhead.  Sometimes it’s surprising how much time goes by between cars and trucks.  I also read some messages on the log benches, including one from Joe to Lisa who said he missed her and suggested they take I-81 to North Carolina.  Facebook may have been more effective.

The next day I decided to head south out of the park.  This was a nicer hike since the forest was much more diverse with pine, hardwoods, rhododendron, and an assortment of wildflowers.  There was also a lot of hemlocks.  I passed one hiker, who I’m sure was a thru-hiker by his hobble.  I said hi and soon moved on.  The trail crosses a road and a creek via a huge fallen log.  Next was a boardwalk across a meadow and thick jungles of honeysuckle that filled the air with nectar.  The blooms of dogwoods dotted the forest as violets crowded the trail.  I turned around at PA 443.  I hoped to give some food to the thru-hiker on the way back, but he was in his tent, talking on a cell phone.  I hurried down the trail as darkness descended through rolling, grey clouds.

For more pictures, click here.




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