Monday, November 25, 2013

Some Cabins in the Woods

Ok, back to the story I promised a couple weeks ago.

So after finishing up at The Gathering, I headed to the bar in Shippensburg where Turk, Tom, Ed and Dave were waiting.  We watched the rest of the Steeler game then headed out of town, over the ridge and up to Big Flat where our first night's cabin was at Gypsy Springs.

We got to the cabin and unlocked the gate.  The day was pretty nice, with decent temperatures and no rain in the forecast.  We unpacked, claimed our beds and got a fire started out at the fire ring.

We were having a good time outside and we saw someone walking up the driveway.  Turk and I went down to talk to the couple and we had a nice conversation.  They were an older couple and the guy had had kin just up the road.  He mentioned an old ruins that just had the chimney from a small house up by where the AT crosses the road and I knew exactly where he was talking about.  He said his grandfather used to live in the house.  They also told us that if you drink the water of Gypsy Springs, all that ails you will be better.  With all the rain of the last few days, the whole hillside was sprouting water, but later Tom and I went down and filled up a bunch of bottles of the magical fluid.

This was a modern cabin with electricity and running water and we had a nice dinner of spaghetti and sauce.  After a nice hike up the hillside to a power line and along that trail for a while, we spent the night sitting by the fire.  We all eventually hit the sack to prepare for the next day's adventure.

Gypsy Spring Cabin
The next morning, we had a nice breakfast and then we headed over to the AT Museum to return some retail stuff I had from The Gathering and we explored Pine Grove Furnace State Park a little.

Fuller Lake


After that, we went to a nearby general store, bought some supplies and lunch and then headed back to the cabin and got ready to move to the next cabin.  We only reserved this cabin for one night because the other cabin wasn't available until Monday and Tuesday nights.  This cabin would be more rustic.  No electricity or running water, but there was a good spring nearby and when we arrived we found the creek that goes by the cabin running nicely.  When I had checked out the cabin the week before, the creek was all but dried up.  It was nice to have the sound of the water next to the cabin.

We unpacked once again and started preparing the outside fire ring for the night's fire.  The cabin was cool, but very dark inside.  Even when we had opened every shutter and even some of the windows, it stayed quite dismal inside.  It was still cozy though.

Milesburn Cabin
Hanging around the cabin
Shortly after we got to the cabin, two hikers came by.  We invited them over, but the seemed reluctant to bother us no matter how much we assured them we liked their company.  They filled their water and we asked them about their hike.  They were Rooster and Chicken and they were on an extended section hike through the area.  They were headed for a campsite nearby and after some pleasant conversation, they headed out and we had a nice dinner and hung out around the fire all night.  We had noticed how the fire pit looked in need of some work, so we made a plan to rebuild it on Tuesday.

I set up my hammock next to the cabin and Turk took on the challenge of sleeping in the "canopy" as he kept call calling it.  We took bets on how long he would last.

Turk's "Canopy"
Well, the night went well.  Turk lasted until sometime after midnight, but he had to get out to pee and couldn't remember how to work the bottom door of the Hennessey and had a small panic attack.  After that he came into the cabin and found an empty rack to finish the night.  

The next day was another decent one.  We rebuilt the fire pit, getting rid of a lot of the small stones and recycling the multitude of ash into the forest.  We incorporated a keyhole style grill device into the ring and it turned out very nice.

Rebuilt Fire Ring
We planned a hike to the nearby Birch Run Shelter about 2.4 miles away.  The trail was nice once you got up the hillside and we hung out at the shelter and explored the area.  We found a really cool campsite across the creek that someone had put a lot of time into.  I will remember this site for future visits.
Smooth, flat trail

Secret campsite of Yetimen
We found a lot of firewood up at a campsite next to the trail and we "collected" all said wood for our night's fire.  

After another nice meal of fire grilled venison, we settled around the camp fire and told stories all night.  The guys were also trying to plan the next part of their vacation and lots of map reading and gps testing ensued.  

Sometime during the day, Turk acquired the Trail Name Kangaroo Joe.  He had on a hoodie and would fill the front pocket with as many beers and other things as he could to carry across the bridge to the cabin area.  He seemed to like it.

Turks Kitchen - These boys eat good on their trips.  Dave in background chopping wood
Group Photo

camp fire
Bros - No, we weren't hunting, as everyone who passed by would ask...
Ed and Kangaroo Joe
The next day we headed our separate ways.  I headed home, as did Tom and the rest headed up to Northwestern PA to continue their adventure.  

I haven't been car camping in a while and this was a fun experience.  It is kinda nice having a 2000 lb backpack parked 30 feet away and spending time with friends from my old home town.
 



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