7/26 Delaware Water Gap!! (15.6)

July 28, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Our last hurrah in PA is here!!  Tonight we’re stopping just short of the New Jersey border in Delaware Water Gap, the Northern terminus of the AT in Pennsylvania.  The rocks are clearly going to miss us, because they almost didn’t let us go today.  We made a pact that if one of us broke an ankle in the last part of the state, the rest of the group would drag the injured one over the border.  With that determination, we left PA in a long line of lazy, lazy hikers: Six miles from the border?  Why not stop for […]

7/25 Wind Gap (13)

July 28, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Took another short day today to enjoy some good company and good beer!  We didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity of the Beerstein after hearing so much about it.  The owner is an amazing and clearly very patient man who allows hikers to camp behind his bar and cook anything they want for breakfast in the morning.  It sounded too good to be true so we decided to investigate. PA has not been kind to my shoes, but the rocks are losing their hold on the trail.  It was pretty rough terrain today after our vacation from foot […]

7/24 Stealth Camping outside Palmerton (7)

July 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm

We had a gloriously slow morning today. Between the good company (and breakfast) in Scranton and the comforts of civilization in Palmerton, we took our time getting to the dreaded climb out of Palmerton. We had heard enough from the locals about it to adequately forestall our ascent up the steep rocks lugging a full resupply and four liters of water each. The prospect of hiking through a superfund, in general, does not usually appeal to nature minded people; It is hard to picture an area that has been devastated by zinc smelting and pollution to be aesthetically pleasing. We […]

7/23 Palmerton (Scranton) (18)

July 27, 2013 at 1:01 pm

It was Palmerton or bust today.  Mark’s Aunt Judy offered very kindly to pick us up and deliver us to the hospitality of Scranton!  We figured today wouldn’t be anything we hadn’t seen yet, so we expected to make pretty decent time.  We were wrong, of course. After many miles of this, we made our way painstakingly through the worst of it to find that we had no water, of course. We had expected to be off the mountain an hour earlier, but the going was slow.  Fortunately, we found some trail magic water just when we needed it.  The […]

7/22 Allentown Hiking Club Shelter (16.5)

July 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Today included some of PA’s nicer views. We went by an observatory and a cliff overlooking smooth, rockless farmland today. It was a nice break in our green tunnel, and the ridge has started to open up more since then, affording us more views. The terrain is still difficult but it feels like we have an end in sight now for Pennsylvania. Spare rocks for when the crews come out to re-rock the trails. We caught up to Greenlight and First Gear at the Eckville Shelter and were told by the Southbounders that the trail ahead apparently has rocks in […]

7/21 Windsor Furnace Shelter (15)

July 26, 2013 at 8:54 am

Our hike in to town today was absurdly steep, leading us off cliffs and down frightening rockslides, only to be greeted by this sign: Note an incredulous First Gear in the background. We also found this sign interesting: Only in PA. Today family came to revive us, though. Our morning was fueled by that thought, and we hiked quickly over the rocks to Port Clinton, where we were greeted by Mark’s Uncle Bob and his cousin Scot. It was really good to see familiar faces in the middle of such a long journey. Bob and Scot sporting our new purchases. […]

7/20 Eagles Nest Shelter (19.2)

July 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm

It’s a countdown!  Not only to the end of PA, but to Maine itself.  It’s been hard not to jump ahead to the states we’re coming up on.  For one thing, we never thought we would be so eager to get to New Jersey.  But now, all we can think about is reaching the border and beginning to check off states every week.  We’re pulled in now by a forward momentum, and despite our previous gripes about PA, we’ve been able to make good time through its flat terrain.  Every day we wake up feeling invincible – and then take […]

7/18 (15.1) and 7/19 (23) An Ode to PA

July 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm

The Keystone State is known for its natural beauty in the Poconos region. Smooth, scenic trails such as the one above draw tourists from all over the mid-Atlantic region to hike.  Of course, the AT barely touches the edge of these sweeping vistas and instead routes us directly across the Blue Mountain ridge, which is more like the disfigured, impoverished cousin of the Poconos.  Naturally, we didn’t take either of the above pictures ourselves, since thru hikers can’t even find images that pleasant on postcards along the Pennsylvania AT.  Lots of variety and surprises along the AT in PA.  Is […]

7/17 Beating the Heat (4)

July 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Well, we’ve been drinking all day in air conditioning.  And we’re not ashamed at all.  Maybe hiker culture normalizing this behavior has helped to dull the self-reproach, but this bar is packed with people in goretex and wicking shirts and it is over a hundred degrees outside.  No hiker can resist Who Wants To Be a Millionaire We dragged ourselves away from the Doyle after 23.5 miles (not technically a zero) and across the bridge out of town, which we’ve been referring fondly to as spider city.  We started our walk up the ridge as dark fell, allowing us to […]

7/16 Duncannon (26.5)

July 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm

We walked our first marathon with packs today.  And we did it in 95 degree heat.  Many litres of water were sacrificed to the cause.  But, we were on a mission: to get a beer at the Doyle, a famously dilapidated (or historic) hotel in Duncannon that caters almost exclusively to hikers.  We started at 8:30 and found our motivation waning after our first few miles of exposed corn and bean fields. The three of us stopped for a little while at the Scott Trail work Center and had a rendezvous with Tumbleweed, Cinderella, Timon, Beeline, Schnitzel, and Limey, who […]