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.
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