View Full Version : Water in Southern PA?

07-25-2013, 13:58
How does the water look in southern PA around now? Anyone been out this week, or hell, out there now?


07-25-2013, 15:30
Water sources are running good from Penn Mar to Boiling Springs..... Will be north of Duncannon this weekend

Wise Old Owl
07-25-2013, 15:50
We have had lots of rain.... streams are full

06-06-2015, 02:44
My boots are muddy and the swimming is good. Avoid taking water in the springs and creek at Rauch Gap. It is acidic. There is good water at the Rauch Shelter along the wall in front of the shelter. You can't filter to change acidity.

06-06-2015, 13:05

Objective, weekly, statewide updates.

06-06-2015, 13:37

Objective, weekly, statewide updates.

How do you see this information able to be useful to the A.T. hiker?

06-06-2015, 15:42
How do you see this information able to be useful to the A.T. hiker?

Wait. Knowing where water could be sparse *wouldn't* be important for you to know while on the trail?

I'm not sure if you're being serious.

If water is sparse, then you carry more. 1L becomes 2L, becomes 3L if the streams are incredibly intermittent. You fill up at every opportunity, and you fill up more.


Military survival training has taught me that, at least in survival situations, you DON'T conserve water. Heat exhaustion, and subsequently heat stroke, come on much to fast in all weather conditions for one to try and ration water. Drink what you have when you're *thirsty*, and continue on when the conditions are best suited for travel, making water your first priority if the situation is that dire.

06-06-2015, 20:41
The original question was
> How does the water look in southern PA around now?

That's a pretty broad question, and only real answer to such a broad question is how wet is the ground in that wide an area.

If a PA county is under drought conditions, water will be less available than if that county is not under drought conditions.
The more severe the drought, the less likely it will be that water is available.

"I walked along the entire AT in PA two weeks ago and ..." is a meaningless response. Particularly now, since a major rain front came through the state last week.
"Yesterday, at this one twenty-mile section of the A.T. in southern PA, I experienced ... " is a LITTLE more meaningful, but only gives info on a very limited part of the question.
And the problem is compounded by the fact that any one hiker can give ONE person's OPINION of the availability of water.
It might very well be an intelligent opinion, but it's still (1) only one person and (2) subjective.

Seeing the entire state with up-to-date, objective information is far more useful than one person's opinion from a couple weeks ago.

06-08-2015, 16:07
I certainly agree that information concerning whether springs are flowing is of utmost importance to a long-distance hiker.

I am wondering how the weekly drought condition reports linked in post #5 translates to usability by the hiker.

I think the "droughty" spirngs in along the A.T. in PA are the ones in the Blue Mountain/Kittatinny Ridge system, i.e. A.T.-wise north of the Cumberland Valley. The reason they are unreliable is that they flow from fairly shallow groundwater systems perched on the ridge.

The report concerns itself with "streamflow" and with "groundwater" in each county. Generally the groundwater they speak of is in valley systems where most municipalities and industries draw water from systems whose levels vary on a much longer than annual horizon. The springs along the A.T. may respond more quickly to significant recent rain in the summer season than a municipal well in the Great Valley that would tend to integrate annual rather than weekly precipitation.

We used to have a frequent poster emerald (whatever happened to him, btw?) who would respond to water queries with stream levels. Streams respond more quickly to daily precipitation, and he may have had a point to apply those rather than groundwater levels to the A.T.'s droughty springs. However it can be very dry in Harrisburg and the Susquehanna could rise significantly due to runoff from NY State and northern PA - in fact this spring for this reason we did have a dry weather closure of the "Duncannon Subway" which is the underpass the A.T. uses to exit the Borough to the north before crossing the Juniata and Susquehanna bridges.

The reports also indicate departure from normal rather than absolute levels. In a normal year, I dare say the Darlington Shelter spring dries up, and Peters Mountain Shelter spring becomes a pump pool rather than flowing. Perhaps a southbounder would read a report for late August, see that groundwater levels in Perry County are normal, and still be disappointed on reaching Darlington Shelter.

Finally, how many thru-hikers know what county they are in, or are going to?