Author Archives: SeanO

DATC Meeting – Jan 14, 2015

Duncannon as seen from Eagles Edge Overlook at the end of Cove Mountain

MEETING TIME AND LOCATION:  The Duncannon Appalachian Trail Community Advisory Committee will hold a meeting on Wednesday, January 14th at 6:30 p.m. in the Duncannon Municipal Building located at 428 N. High Street.  An RSVP is not required but it is greatly appreciated.

MEETING AGENDA: We’ll discuss fundraising for the 2015 DATC Festival, current vendor applicants, anti-graffiti signage and other festival preparations.

THERE WILL BE FREE PIZZA AND SODA! Send your RSVP to help us determine how much pizza we should buy.  Special thanks to everyone who chipped in to help pay for last month’s pizza!  Contact if you or your group would like to contribute to the DATC Meeting Pizza Fund.

EVERYONE IS WELCOME!  Anyone who would like to be involved with the DATC, offer guidance or influence its policies is welcome to attend our meetings. You might find a volunteer opportunity that suits you in any number of fields such as: planning our next 2014 DATC Festival, fundraising, supporting the Duncannon Outdoor Club, learning about Appalachian Trail maintenance and inspiring people to enjoy outdoor activities in the Duncannon area.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Oldest Female Thru-Hiker

Couple at Hawk RockWhile hiking to Hawk Rock today, I met a young couple sitting on the rock and enjoying the view.  I presented my usual speech about the DATC, what we do, how they could help, and added some general trail info.  While doing this, a lady and her gentleman friend arrived and overheard our conversation.  After I finished talking to the young couple, I turned my attention toward the older hikers.  I was glad they had arrived early enough to hear our conversation so I wouldn’t have to repeat it for them.  I got to talking with the lady in the older group and correctly guessed that she was section-hiking and had come in from the south at Rt. 850.  All of my other assumptions about her were incorrect.

Continue reading

Litter Below Hawk Rock is Gone!

Volunteers collected litter from Duncannon's Hawk Rock overllokAfter removing the graffiti from Hawk Rock and improving the trail below, there was only one thing keeping our cleanup project from being a complete success: the trash littering the base of Hawk Rock.  During our previous cleanup we picked up the trash far below Hawk Rock but we couldn’t climb all of the way up to the plateau just below it.   We needed an experienced climber to get to the most inaccessible areas and that’s where Kevin (The Axe Man) Dunleavy comes in.

Kevin is a skilled climber, caver and hiker who has accompanied the York Hiking Club and the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club on many trail maintenance outings.  Mr. Dunleavy kindly volunteered to help the DATC and the Mountain Club of Maryland by rappelling down the face of Hawk Rock and cleaning the unsightly mess caused by years of carelessly discarded litter.  After descending 65 feet to the base of the rock, he spent an hour filling a large trash bag with bottles, cans, food wrappers and miscellaneous garbage.  We then hauled the whole mess up and out of the woods where it was properly discarded along with our regular household trash.

It’s appalling to consider the fact that people can carry full and heavy containers UP the trail but they can’t be bothered to carry them DOWN once they are empty.  It’s sad really.  Some people don’t care or they just don’t know any better.  Fortunately, Duncannon is surrounded by good people who work hard to protect and preserve our outdoor natural resources!

Second Hawk Rock Cleanup a GREAT Success!

The cleanest Hawk Rock has been in more than 35 years.

The cleanest Hawk Rock has been in more than 35 years.

Our second outing to clean the Hawk Rock area was a GREAT success thanks to the many wonderful volunteers who donated their time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I think almost everyone managed to get at least a gallon of water up to Hawk Rock.  We were hoping for 20 gallons of water at the top of the mountain but ended up with about 35 gallons and we used every last drop to blast off as much graffiti as possible. There’s still some paint left in the nooks and crannies but nothing is legible and you can see more of the rock’s natural color coming through.

Third Rock, the rock closer to the bottom third of the mountain, came out almost perfectly clean since it only had a couple layers of paint on it.

In addition to hauling water and removing graffiti, volunteers from Day Hikers of Central PA, Reddit, DATC, MCM and SATC also helped: trim back trail vegetation, clear water bars, slide a big rock off the trail in the avalanche area, fix the step at the bottom of the stairs just before Hawk Rock, and collect 2 HUGE bags of trash from below Hawk Rock. Continue reading

DATC Newsletter – September 2014

Duncannon AT Community SignTHE JUNE DATC FESTIVAL:  The DATC Festival went pretty well.  We probably had about twice as many people in attendance than we did last year, we had a lot more volunteers, vendors were happier, and everyone seemed to like the location on High Street.  I would say it was a successful collaboration between the Appalachian Trail and the Duncannon community.  We polled the vendors after the festival and we received overwhelmingly positive responses with almost all saying they would return for next year.  We still have plenty of room to grow and look forward to your cooperation and participation next year on Saturday, June 20th.

HAWK ROCK VANDALISM: Some time during Friday, August 1st, a lovestruck loser decided to proclaim his love by setting up a table and chairs at Hawk Rock, painting about 30 red hearts along the Appalachian Trail, painting graffiti on a large rock a third of the way up the mountain, and spray painting a love message across all of Hawk Rock.  You can read more about it here.  We also happen to have a pictue of a guy who might know something about it.

HAWK ROCK CLEANUP – PART 1: On Sunday, August 24th, the DATC, the Mountain Club of Maryland and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy joined together to remove a large amount of the new graffiti and some of the old stuff too.  Hawk Rock is looking better than it has in years but our work is not done yet.

HAWK ROCK CLEANUP – PART 2: We have scheduled another cleanup day for this coming Sunday September 14th, and we are asking volunteers to carry water and help with some light trail maintenance.  We will be at the Duncannon Recycling Center between 10AM and 2PM and you are welcome to come out and help us or just bring some water jugs and get to know us.  Either way, Continue reading

Cleaning Hawk Rock – Part 2

The Hawk Rock Graffiti Removal Team

You, too, could be this cool!

We have scheduled another round of cleaning for Hawk Rock and the Appalachian Trail on Sunday, September 14, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m at the Duncannon Recycling Center near Little Boston Road.  We need a lot of volunteers to carry 20 gallons of water one third of the way up the mountain (to clean a large rock there) and get another 20 gallons all of the way up to Hawk Rock near the top of the mountain.

We’re asking you to bring as many filled or empty water containers as possible.  We need 1 gallon jugs, 2 liter bottles and 5 gallon buckets.  People with backpacks can carry the 2 liter bottles, people without backpacks can carry 1 gallon jugs, and the 5 gallon buckets can be used to store water near the graffiti removal locations.  Everyone is encouraged to bring water containers even if they can’t carry them up themselves.  Anyone can help, it’s as easy or as challenging as you’d like to make it. Continue reading

Hawk Rock Vandalism

Amazing panoramic view from Duncannon PA's Hawk Rock, summer 2014Nearly every Duncannon resident has been up to Hawk Rock at some point in their life.  The people of Duncannon are lucky to have what is often considered one of the best views in the state of Pennsylvania with its wide open natural vista showing Duncannon Borough, the Susquehanna and Juniata river confluence, and the Clarks Ferry Bridge off to the right.  Shermans Creek is immediately below with Orchard Hill, Dicks Ridge, Mahanoy Ridge, Hickory Ridge, and the Tuscarora Mountain ridges trailing off into the distance.  So why isn’t this beautiful vista more popular among hikers and tourists?

Hawk Rock is a great place to go to enjoy nature’s beauty as it spreads out both far and wide but when seen up close, the rock itself is an ugly mess plagued by layer upon layer of graffiti and the area directly below is littered with years upon years of trash.

Here is how Hawk Rock has looked in the past:

Normally I don’t show pictures of Hawk Rock graffiti because I dislike giving vandals any publicity but the most recent incident was too terrible to ignore.  Some misguided Romeo decided that the best way he could declare his devotion to his beloved “Anna” was by Continue reading

Earl Shaffer’s 1948 Trail Diary Transcribed

Earl Shaffer hand-written 1948 trail diary

Earl’s handwritten trail journal has been transcribed into plain text.

in 1948 Earl Shaffer was the first person to walk the whole Appalachian Trail in a single outing.  He kept a trail journal logging his experiences as he went but his smudged writing can be difficult to read at times.  Fortunately people have transcribed his cursive handwriting into plain text which is much easier to read.  For example, the pages pictured above have been converted to the following:

they offered to feed me. Had tough time finding trail from Frosty Mt. north. Ranger showed me but still had difficulty.
Got back and I dry camped on slope of Springer Mtn. under large fallen tree. Very tired, began to rain lightly in night. I [[hunted slabs ?]] by flashlight and made shelter.
5/ rose at dawn. [[wore ?]] poncho. Reached Springer Mtn. lookout about 7:30. one swallow of water [[end page]]

[[start page]] in canteen. About 8:30 found spring stopped and cooked cornmeal mush.
[[strikethrough]] ______________________
At shelter on Oglethorp cooked potatoes onions and bits of jerked venisons
Next day (Tues) 6 [[/strikethrough]] about 11:00 found water and cooked oatmeal. Walked nearly ten miles before learning I was off trail (had followed orange blaze. Had to walk back hiked about 25 miles gained about 5

You can read all of Earl Shaffer’s Trail Journal on the Smithsonian’s transcription website.