#52hikechallenge2018 Week 4
What is the best thing to do on a “warm” 48 degree day in the middle of January? Well, hike, of course. Pupster, Nova, had a play date at Rocky Ridge Park, so with one less dog in the pack, we decided it was a good day to introduce our newbie hiker dog, Marshall, to some rocks. We chose to hike an out-and-back Appalachian Trail stretch from Whiskey Springs Road, just south of Boiling Springs, PA, to Center Point Knob. This section of the trail has some fun rocks to climb over and through, a little bit of elevation, a stream, and a nice stopping point at the Center Point Knob marker near the White Rocks.
For the past several years, we’ve hiked this section of the trail in early spring, and Sunday’s weather reminded me of hikes in the past. The first time that we hiked to Center Point Knob was with our kids in 2004. Our dog, Butterfly, had just turned 2 years old and we were training her to hike. The kids donned hiking shorts, boots, baseball caps and fanny packs filled with peanut butter sandwiches, apples and water. On Sunday, as I walked on the trail watching our dogs run ahead and then back to us, my mind wandered to the days of young kids running ahead, exploring the woods, picking up walking sticks and telling each other funny stories. I could picture them jumping over rocks and walking atop downed trees like on a tightrope. I could hear their chatter about imaginary adventures and dreams for their grown-up selves. I could feel their excitement, their energy and their love for each other and the great outdoors.
A few years ago, we repeated this hike with our adult children. It was Mother’s Day, and we trekked a longer distance, but walked through this section of the AT. We always have fun when we are together and we always have a good time on the trail. But that hike sticks out in my mind because we laughed so much. Before starting our hike, we gathered for a family selfie. Comments and jabs caused some chuckles that developed into infectious laughter. Tears streamed down my face as I laughed and watched my children bent over, clutching their bellies. Over the course of the day, the giggles periodically returned and we were silly together, just like when they were small children. On that hike I heard them talk about their passions and their goals for the future, and how they each hope to make a difference in the world through their service and careers. I saw them look at each other with interest, respect, and encouragement and I felt my heart swell with love and admiration for the adults they had become.
My Sunday nostalgia reminded me that hiking isn’t just about the mileage or the views. It is about having fun with those who make you laugh and make you feel loved. It is long rambling conversations and realizing that time just doesn’t matter, but time together does. It’s about sharing dreams and creating memories. Hiking in the woods brings out the best in families and in ourselves.
Things to know about this trail section:
- There is roadside parking for about 4 vehicles.
- Wear sturdy shoes because the trail has rocky patches.
- A small stream crosses the path at mile 2. You will need to either step on rocks or cross on the log to avoid wet feet.
- There is a shelter and privy 2.5 miles from the start.
- Center Point Knob is 3.1 miles from the start. There is not an overlook, but there is a marker designation.
- You can add onto to the distance by connecting to the White Rocks Trail near the Knob.
Starting point address:
477 Whiskey Spring Road Boiling Springs, PA 17007