Map 2/ Mason Dixon Trail: Codorus Furnace to Pinchot State Park, 20 miles
Kim and I have been putting this section off for a year and a half. We're almost finished section hiking the MDT, a 200-mile-long trail that runs from one end at the Appalachian Trail in Whiskey Springs, PA to Chadds Ford, PA. We started in Chadds Ford and have been making our way west for two-and-a-half years with pretty regular hikes until we got to Map 2. The idea of twenty miles of road walking was not very exciting. During our great delay we did other weekend hikes, celebrated First Day hikes twice, led a Camino group hike, took the kayaks out, all the while not saying out loud to each other, "I'm not excited about 20 miles of road walking. You?"
|I-Beam Trail Blaze, courtesy C.C. Beth at Steelton, PS|
Most of the roads were quiet and had little traffic to dodge, but some were dangerous with no shoulder and heavy traffic. All in all, we're glad we did it in one big day hike - even though we made it to my car in the dark. There is an ecology to roads that combines the human endeavor of planning and building transportation routes (and the vehicle technology that use them) and the vegetative corridors, risks to wildlife, and pedestrian traffic. It's a strange ecosystem of man-made and adaptive nature that keeps the hiker on their toes. We jumped off the road several times to avoid being smacked by rear view mirrors, being flattened by enormous dump trucks, and cars going way to fast. I think I did as much side-stepping and forward walking.
|Injured Black Vulture juvenile.|
|Goodbye, Susquehanna! Looking south, its waters bound for the Chesapeake Bay.|
|Last long look at our iconic river. Looking north towards York Haven.|
We said goodbye to the Susquehanna River that has been a beautiful companion since Havre de Grace, Maryland, seventy miles back. Now the trail headed inland and upland to the northwest into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. We met a giant snapping turtle at the Wago Club. It was awesome.
|This giant snapper has all the awesomesauce.|
|A pretty stretch of creek-side road, virtually trash free and pleasantly wild.|
|A junky stretch of roadside that would drive Lady Bird Johnson crazy were she here to see it. Photo by Kim.|
|Thankfully much of the MDT along roads was lightly traveled and very pretty in fall colors.|
|I-83 is known for its deer collisions, bawdy billboards, and truck traffic. It is LOUD.|
|An old mill road.|
|This guy's yard was amazing.|
|Fresh paint. Photo by Kim.|
|This is when I started thinking about blaze orange at sunset. Photo by Kim.|
|Last picture before there was no more light.|
|Reminder to self: Dress like Kim for next section hike.|