Posted by: davepidgeon | October 31, 2009

Halloween Hiking

Don't Go In There! Hiking in Michaux State Forest, Pa.

Well, it’s Halloween friends. And to celebrate, National Geographic Adventure released a list of spooky and gory adventure spots around the world from Shark Alley in South Africa to St. Louis Cemetery in Naw’lins. Personally, this one made my skin crawl:

Catacombs of Palermo, Italy

If you thought the catacombs of Paris were creepy, brace yourself. In the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy, you wont just see a few old bones. Skin, hair, and clothing hang on the intact skeletons of people long deceased. Walking among these dead bodies makes for one of the ghostliest adventures out there.

Had a flashback to the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Dr. Jones and the German sweetie/evil conspirator Elsa root beneath the Venice library for the tomb of a long-dead knight. And by the way, is there anything more scarier than the prospect of another Indiana Jones movie? Enough aliens and George Lucas overreach and please leave untouched what’s left of the Indiana Jones franchise, tattered after the last resurrection.

Anyway, my point here wasn’t to play all Leonard Maltin here at Compass Points but to point out another freaky spot for future Halloween hiking – Michaux State Forest in south-central Pennsylvania. The Appalachian Trail runs through there, but take a look at the names of the side trails and natural features: Buzzard Peak, Black Swamp, Dead Woman Hollow, Wolf Hill, Gypsy Spring, Hairy Springs Hollow, Grave Ridge. Near the Toms Run Shelters are barely-noticeable ruins of a World War II prisoner camp, adding to the spooky quality of the place.

Despite the ghoulish monikers, Michaux State Forest west of Gettysburg near I-81 has some fantastic hiking and is the site of the famous A.T. Half Gallon Ice Cream Challenge, where thru-hikers gorge themselves on half-a-gallon of ice cream as fast as they can at a snack shop in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, celebrating the halfway point along the 2,100-mile journey.

Have a spooky weekend, Pointers. We’ll see you Monday for the start of an adventurous week – new GPS unit in the mail heading toward my front door, new boots to get soiled on the trail, plus Trail Tunes on Wednesday. See you Monday!

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