|Stile along the Appalachian Trail across the Cumberland valley|
Hikers walking the 2,175 mile trail need to cross the miles-wide valley to get from one mountain range to the next. The valley is rich with farmlands, and for many years the trail association couldn’t get permission for the trail to cross the privately-owned farms. Happily, those days are now in the past, the trail is finally routed off the roads. Today, this section is easy walking across fields and through woods.
After some deliberation, I brought along Baby Dog as my companion for the walk. I was tempted to bring the now-elderly Dog since I knew the walk was an easy one and that I wasn’t going to walk for but a few hours. In the end, Dog was sleeping and Baby Dog needed some exercise, so I brought her instead. I’m glad I did. Dog doesn’t do open stairs where he can see through them. He never has. If he’d encountered the stile that would have been the end of my walk, as I couldn’t lift him over and I know he would refuse.
I must also report that I’m incapable of walking 100 yards without taking a photograph. My walk on the trail was only about 2 miles long (with another 2 miles of road walking to return to my car). When I did the math, I discovered I’d taken a photo every 197 feet of my walk. No, I won’t force them all on readers of Roundtop Ruminations. However, you’ll see the better ones over today and tomorrow.
I started my walk along Rt. 74 near Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and headed north. I soon came to the aforementioned stile, crossed the field and climbed over a second stile on the far side of the field. I saw barns and houses in the distance but the trail stayed well away from them. After the stiles, the trail entered a narrow band of woods and stayed there throughout my walk. The AT is marked with white blazes about every 100 yards. A double blaze means the hiker is nearing a turn. Except in a few sections, this would be a tough trail to get lost on. The footpath is well-traveled, and the blazes are always freshly painted.