Powder River, Cooper and I went on a short hike this weekend with two friends from Baltimore. It was our friend Lee's very first backpacking trip! We drove up through Gettysburg around 5pm on Friday. We decided to scrap our plans of cooking in the woods and instead ate at the Lincoln Dinner. After eating we drove up the ridge via a gravel road in Caledonia State Park to have a shorter walk to the quaint Quarry Gap Shelters. There was a group of guys already there, a college reunion tradition for them to hike together every year. Powder River and Lee played a riveting game of checkers. The "Innkeeper" of the Quarry Gap Shelter takes great pride in maintaining this place and keeps it equipped with a few games and hanging seasonal flowers! I met him on my thru-hike in 2011, he was just hanging out at the shelter as I was walking by midday. This is a great place to take friends to show them an exception to AT shelters. Most are NOT quaint or very well taken care of! Cooper posed for some pictures in the morning. He did a great job test driving the new Groundbird Gear hiking harness pack system!
Saturday held true to the weather report and was very cold. We relocated one of our vehicles about 12 trail miles South of Caledonia to Old Forge Rd. Our friends enjoyed seeing The Tumbling Run Shelters just up the hill from our parking spot. They have signs on each one: "snoring" and "non-snoring." And there is an Ent tree. We hiked to the Rocky Mountain Shelters that night. Christian had steaks marinating in a ziplock in his pack all day and they were a real treat, cooked in foil on campfire embers! A trail culinary first for me and Powder River. It flurried a bit and was a good night to test my new zero degree sleeping bag by Feathered Friends! Cooper enjoyed snuggling with me! I'm still working on developing a good sleep solution for him in cold weather. In the morning we made coffee and oatmeal and hiked our remaining 5 miles back to Caledonia. A very cold, windy ridge walk! All in all it was a fun trip with our friends! Capped with another fun expedition into Gettysburg, a happening place this month as we remember the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. We ate at the Appalachian Brewery and viewed the Cyclorama, a giant battlefield painting from 1884 that engulfs you in it's circle.
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