The Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania: The First Half

Trail Day: 93

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

  • Location: Birch Run Shelter
  • Start/End Time: 10:30/7
  • Weather Conditions: Rain in the morning with a cloudy afternoon

That flip-flopper was up, “making plans” until midnight with his red headlamp on. Then he woke up at 5. How people that are doing thru-hikes don’t already know basic shelter etiquette is beyond me.

Since it’s rained all morning Rainman and I decided separately that we were going to wait out the rain. Neither of us was particularly looking forward to getting back to hiking and since there would most likely be blowdowns to the north from the storm we waited.

We stayed at the shelter shooting the breeze and listening to music. I did a bit of writing as well. I also met Maple and Syrup. Maple is the most beautiful maple-colored dog and Syrup is her owner. She also participated in hike naked day! She told us she did 6 miles and ran into a bunch of people.

Hiked with Rainman, starting around 10:30, through the few blowdowns we encountered. We clearly were in the middle of the storm yesterday as there weren’t that many trees down compared to where we were.

The morning had a few rocky parts, but luckily it had stopped raining by the time we got there, so it wasn’t too difficult.

For some good vibes, I listened to the Sounds of Disney podcast. I listened to episode 76 – Nighttime Shows Part 1. It brought me right back to standing in front of the castle at Magic Kingdom over the years.

Because the temperature was perfect I was able to walk for several hours only stopping for snacks and electrolytes. I wish the weather was always this perfect!

After I crossed US Route 30 I found a reroute due to high waters as a result of the storm yesterday. Instead of hiking down by the water, I hiked the power lines. It seems like this happens frequently as there were already white blazes on the poles.

The power lines took me to Caledonia State Park where I stopped for a snack, used the bathroom, and got rid of my trash.

I needed to tell someone about what happened yesterday to get it off my chest a d got to talk to my friend Allison for about an hour while I hiked. She’s always great to chat with and it was a welcome distraction as I was headed uphill.

My final destination for the night was Birch Run Shelter where I found The Fab 5: Platinum, Upchuck, Legend, Pretty in Pink, and Full Moon.

I hiked 19.6 miles in 8 1/2 hours. I’ve never done that many miles that quickly! I’m feeling really great about today, but I k ow the terrain was super easy. Here’s hoping for some more sections with easy terrain!

Watched 127 Hours on Upchuck’s mini projector. It was definitely a treat, but the movie isn’t that good. *spoiler alert* I feel like I was just waiting for James Franco to cut his arm off the entire time.

Trail Day: 94

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

  • Location: Ironmasters Mansion Hostel
  • Start/End Time: 7:15/11:45
  • Weather Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Last night I woke up several times to put layers on. Why is it so cold in June? It was just as bad this morning, and I didn’t want to get out of my sleeping bag. How was I supposed to eat a half-gallon of ice cream at the halfway point today if it was this cold?

I did eventually get my ass out of bed and only had to hike about a mile to find trail magic from ALDHA (American Long Distance Hiking Association). Nimbus, who I had met in Hot Springs, was there! It was nice to see a smiling face and he remembered me too! They served up a tasty breakfast of eggs and sausage. Of course, they had coffee, but I opted for lemonade instead.

We hiked all morning with very few breaks because we were all excited for the halfway point and the half-gallon challenge.

When we hit the halfway point we obviously played Bon Jovi’s, “Halfway There.” The sign saying it’s halfway it’s actually halfway so we had to wait in the photo ops. Because it changes every year it’s tough for the trail maintainers to constantly move it.

I crossed the 1100 mile mark with Platinum and Upchuck. There wasn’t a marker so we made one out of sticks. Hopefully, it reminds another hiker they hit this milestone and brings a smile to their face!

And now for the Half gallon challenge. An AT tradition is eating a half-gallon of ice cream upon reaching Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Any hiker that completes it in less than an hour gets a small wooden finisher spoon.

I got Cappuccino Crunch and Vanilla (they don’t sell actual half gallons so you need a big and small container). We left our ice cream in the sun for a bit so it would melt and be easier to eat.

The vanilla was gross, but the Cappuccino Crunch was delicious! I started strong eating most of my large contain in about 10 minutes. Then I started mixing in the vanilla so it didn’t taste as bad.

In the end, Full Moon farted and it smelled so bad I couldn’t finish. Just kidding, he did fart, but I just didn’t want to throw up. Upchuck and Full Moon finished, but Platinum and Pretty in Pink didn’t get very far.

The AT Museum is close to the store and the hostel. It’s pretty tiny but has lots of information, some AT artifacts from early hikers, and a small shop.

After visiting the museum I got chicken quesadilla at the store. While I was still pretty full I needed to make sure I had food for dinner. The store closed early and none of the local restaurants delivered to the hostel.

Instead of hiking on, concerned we might have issues with our stomachs, we stayed at Ironmasters Mansion Hostel right in the park. It is currently run by the AT Museum. It’s completely understaffed and undersupplied. They ran out of toilet paper while we were there. The staff wasn’t friendly, it’s self-check-in and you slip your money through a hole in a door. This hostel has so much potential and it’s sad to see it in such a terrible state.

I sat out on the porch and drank beer with Full Moon, Pretty in Pink, and her best friend Cassie. The breeze was cool and the big beautiful rocking chairs made it even more enjoyable.

Hoagie called me drunk from Delaware Water Gap where she was taking a zero. The entire conversation was hilarious and made an already great day even better!

Much to my dismay, I couldn’t sleep because of all the coffee in my ice cream. I tried to focus on my journal but got distracted by playing Best Fiends instead.

Trail Day: 95

Thursday, June 24, 2021

  • Location: Backpacker Camp
  • Start/End Time: 7:15/5:30
  • Weather Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Lucky for me it was an easy-going morning after leaving the hostel. The trail leads through Pine Grove Furnace State Park with its wide, well-marked trails.

Because the trail was so easy before I knew it it was time for lunch. We made a plan earlier to stop for lunch at the Green Mountain General Store. I got a roast beef sub and fries, and ate half the sub and kept the rest for later.

Last night I downloaded The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, so I started listening to that today. It’s a really good book, but it’s pretty dry so I can only listen to it for about an hour at a time. I also listened to an episode of Office Ladies, and some music.

We had our first Pennsylvania border scramble today! It wasn’t too difficult, but at one point I did need to take off my backpack because what I had to climb was taller than me. Luckily it wasn’t steep so I could slowly move my pack up as I climbed. However, the area wasn’t blazed very well, and I got turned around a couple of times.

The highlight of the afternoon was hearing a crunching noise in the woods to find an adorable turtle making his way towards me!

After walking through a green tunnel all day I emerged from the woods into a field full of golden wheat and green corn. It was picturesque and a beautiful sight for sore tired eyes.

We’re staying at the backpacker camp just outside of Boiling Springs. It’s located directly next to the train tracks, so it’s going to be a loud night.

Trail Day: 96

Friday, June 25, 2021

  • Location: Stealth site at mile 1147.3 outside of Duncannon, PA
  • Start/End Time: 8:15/7:45 
  • Weather Conditions: Mostly Sunny

After I climbed into my tent around 8:30 the train only went by twice; once at 10:30 pm and then again at 12:30 am. It wasn’t even that loud.

I was up and out by 8:15, but Upchuck and Platinum really took their time. I have no idea when they left.

Boiling Springs is so cute! If I didn’t need to be in Duncannon to pick up a package early Saturday morning I would have spent some time there. I stopped at the ATC building, which was closed, to get some water and check the hiker box. 

After hiking in the heat for a few hours I’ve come to the conclusion that if Virginia is for Lovers then Pennsylvania is for Misery. I hate these rocks! My feet are killing me. It’s hot as shit and I’m miserable.

With 12-ish miles of flat terrain today I was planning on doing a marathon day (hiking 26.2 miles) into Duncannon. The heat and being exposed to the sun, followed by potentially ankle-breaking rocks have changed my plans.

After doing 23.7 miles I called it. This is still my longest day so far and I’m really proud of myself, but my feet are killing me.

I had a difficult time hanging my bear bag. I’ve come to the conclusion that when I’m tired I suck at getting the lineup.

However, to make today better, I got the best text from Will tonight; he’s coming next Friday to visit! I haven’t seen him since I was in Damascus. 

Once I was all set up for the night and my bear bag was hung I called my friend On Mary. About 15 minutes into our call, a bear walked through my camp. Then I heard a bunch of rustling around camp and when I shined my light outside my tent I saw 2 sets of white eyes glowing back at me; Coyotes. Clearly, I set up my tent around an animal highway.

Trail Day: 97

Saturday, June 26, 2021

  • Location: Kind of Outdoorsy Hostel Duncannon, PA
  • Start/End Time: 7/8:30
  • Weather Conditions: Mostly Sunny

Funny enough I slept great last night, despite all the visits I had early in the evening. Although I did wake up randomly at 3:30 in the morning for no good reason.

With only a few miles to get to town, I called Will. I talked to him for about an hour. We haven’t had that much time to chat in a while, so it was a great way to start my day.

I went to the post office thinking I had a package, but didn’t…I’m stupid. My package from Mountain House is meeting me in Delaware Water Gal, not Duncannon. However, the trip wasn’t a total loss as the post office had an entire mail container full of goodies free to hikers!

What made up for my mistake was going to Goodies for breakfast. It’s right down and the pancakes were bigger than my face. I sat with Noodles and Mermaid. In addition to the pancakes, I got a side of bacon and some home fries.

When I finished breakfast I went to Kind of Outdoorsy to trade in my Darn Tough socks and see if they could help me fix my tent poles. They took my workout socks, but they didn’t have anything to help fix my tent.

After hanging out in their hiker lounge I ended up staying at their hostel instead of going to The Doyle. From the outside, The Doyle looked like it was going to fall down. Mermaid also told me that there were only 2 showers and one of them wasn’t working. 

Kind of Outdoorsy also had a pretty good resupply too. Instead of trying to find a ride to the store I just resupplied there. 

I needed a haircut so I walked into Jolene’s Hair Salon without an appointment and she was able to fit me in. The lady that was there was so sweet, she let me get my hair cut first. If the trail has taught me nothing it’s that kindness is free. Not only did the haircut come out amazing, but it was also super affordable!

I went back to the hostel to relax and Full Moon, Pretty in Pink, Platinum, Upchuck, and Legend arrived. We went to get lunch at the pizza place across the street. I ordered a large Buffalo chicken Stromboli, ate half, and packed the other half out for tomorrow.

Because The Doyle is a hiker staple I went to their bar and got a drink with Platinum and ended up going over before dinner as well.

We ended up at the other Italian restaurant in town for dinner with Gourmet, Aarp, Skidmark, Munch, and Vista. I got the most amazing chicken parmigiana! A bunch of other hikers showed up and it got really crowded and overwhelming. I got drunk by accident, and we ended up hanging out with the owner, a sweet old man named Sam.

I love this life of waking up when my body does, walking, and being. Spending time with lovely people in small towns and in the woods. Making true connections with people and laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. I still have 1,000 more miles to go and I’m already mourning the loss of this life.

Trail Day: 98

Sunday, June 27, 2021

  • Location: Tentsite at mile 1167
  • Start/End Time: 8:30/7
  • Weather Conditions: Hot and Humid

Today sucked. It was 92 degrees with 80% humidity. Nothing really exciting happened either as the hike was just like being in Virginia. I’m also super tired and lazy so today you’re getting a list:

  1. The first 2 miles were hiking through town and over 2 bridges. It was already hot at 8:30 in the morning.
  2. The uphill this morning was super rocky and steep.
  3. I ran into Munch and Skipmark mid-morning and we hiked together for the rest of the day.
  4. A little before the top of the ridge we had to scramble over large rocks. Many of them were loose making them difficult to navigate.
  5. There was very little water on the ridge making it necessary to stop at shelters to get more water. Both water sources were off trail and one was down a steep hill.
  6. Munch, Skidmark, and I swapped stories all day. 
  7. I fell on some rocks and hit my tailbone and twisted my ankle. The Pennsylvania rocks really don’t like me.
  8. Arrived at camp at 7 were Pretty in Pink, Full Moon, Legend, Platinum, and Upchuck were.

Trail Day: 99

Monday, June 28, 2021

  • Location: Tentsite at mile 1184
  • Start/End Time: 7:15/5:30
  • Weather Conditions: Hot and Humid

Platinum woke me up like she promised nice and early so I could get in some good miles before the heat set in.

I was up and out by 7:15 and hiked the first couple of miles with Upchuck. He and I have never actually hiked together before and it was nice to get to know him more. I stopped to pee and we split up for the rest of the morning.

It was hot again, so I took my time. I started listening to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast, which was recommended to me by a fellow hiker. I was able to download the Supernova of the East episodes.

At lunchtime, I stopped, along with Platinum, Upchuck, and a few other hikers, at a creek. We soaked our feet a d cooled off. Since everyone was there before me I stayed a bit longer after everyone left to get more water and hydrate.

A short way up the trail I took a wrong turn and luckily Munch, Skidmark, and Vista saw me. I would have gone down a side trail and gotten completely lost. 

I ended up hiking for about an hour with Vista. After we went over Stoney Creek where we had to walk over an old beaver dam, (Don’t worry, we didn’t fall in!) I realized we had met earlier at a campsite in Tennessee. Because it was so late at night I didn’t realize she was the same person!

We hiked and chatted about our amazing support systems off-trail, how we think people who skip parts of the trail they think are hard suck, and prayed to the trail gods for trail magic. That last part didn’t come true.

Munch and Skidmark came up behind us said they were going into town and tried to get us to come too. I declined even though Vista wanted to share a room. I’m trying to get as far north as I can before Sweet William comes to visit this weekend. Vista ended up going into town with them anyway.

When we got to the nearby parking lot I found out that Pretty in Pink, Full Moon, and Legend was going into town too.

I continued hiking and found Platinum and Upchuck at the next water source. Upchuck set up his CNOC behind his rigged-up rain skirt and we were able to take a trail shower. It was pretty great. We all hydrated and cameled up before doing the last .6 miles to our campsite for the night.

We got all set up and had a nice chill night at camp. 

Trail Day: 100

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

  • Location: Hertline Campsite and Creek
  • Start/End Time: 7:30/6:30
  • Weather Conditions: Hot and Humid

For the first time in a while, I was able to sleep until I woke up naturally. Being around people that wake up at the crack of dawn has been rough on my body.

In the morning I hiked with Upchuck and Platinum. We hung out by one of the few views we’ve seen so far and chatted while we hiked.

The rest of my day completely sucked and I wish I could go to a hotel with air conditioning and soaked my entire body in an epsom salt bath.

It consisted of:

  1. My ass is chaffing 
  2. The rocks sucking out my soul through my feet

The only thing that made it better was camping with Vista, Munch, Aarp, and Skidmark. We had a few laughs at the end of the day and I got to soak my feet in an ice-cold creek.

Trail Day: 101

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

  • Location: Hiker Pavilion in Port Clinton, PA
  • Start/End Time: 8:15/5:45
  • Weather Conditions: Hot and Humid

After a restless night of sleep and having to wake up twice in the middle of the night to pee I realized I slept with my shirt on inside out.

Hiked all morning with Aarp and chatted about everything from travel to history to the state of the world. We were so into our conversation that we passed the water source. Luckily we both had plenty of water.

Then hiked with Skidmark for a while. It’s so sweet how he talks about his wife and how he just wants to be home to make her breakfast.

Stopped at the junction for Eagle’s Nest Shelter for lunch. And to put my Vaseline on my butt. Had to walk down to the water to make sure I had enough to get to town. The next water source was located down a steep side trail and I try to avoid those as much as possible. Saw Vista before I left and we made plans to meet in town to get dinner as she was also headed to the Pavilion for hikers in Port Clinton

Most of the afternoon I hiked by myself and listened to music. I ran into Skidmark and we hiked together for a bit until I passed him.

The downhill into town was tough. It was covered with small rocks and was pretty steep. I got to a rail trail and thought the downhill was done, but then there was a set of rock stairs that were terribly made and so steep it was dangerous. I thought I was going to fall each time I took a step. On top of it all my butt was chafing so bad I was in pain all afternoon.

I crossed the train tracks and a bridge and was in town. My first stop was the Port Clinton Peanut Shop, a candy store! I was literally a kid in a candy store. I got a bunch of pre-packaged candy, some cold drinks, a chocolate-covered pretzel, and one of their specialty items, a Peanut Butter Heaven. It looked like a giant truffle but was chocolate-covered creamy peanut butter and peanuts. I was literally in heaven!

From there I went over to the Port Clinton Hotel and Restaurant. Aarp and Skidmark were already there, then Munch and Vista came in right behind me. We toasted to making it to town in one piece. The TV at the bar was playing the news and said it felt like 106 today where we were. For good measure, I had a large glass of water too.

The hiker hunger hit me hard and I ordered a chicken parmigiana sub. It was gigantic and completely delicious. Munch and Vista got subs too. Aarp and Skidmark went full force and got hot roast beef sandwich dinners. They both ate the entire meal. 

This is where things get a little hiker trash. I went to use the bathroom like normal people do. However, I really needed to clean between my butt cheeks with soap and water to help prevent further chafing. I may have washed my butt in the bathroom with soap and water with the help of some paper towels. You decided what happened.

Upon returning from the bathroom I ordered a root beer float. I had heard about some trail magic that I missed the day before that consisted of root beer floats and have been craving one ever since!

After going into a food coma and nearly falling asleep at the bar I walked to the pavilion in town for the night. Vista came too. The short walk there was a struggle to keep moving and not throw up. We definitely didn’t need those root beer floats.

We were both prepared to put up our tents as we arrived so late, but the pavilion was huge! While certain spots inside had piles of bird poop from the birds living in the beams it was a pretty nice place. And you can’t beat the cost; free!

Rainman, Mermaid, and Retro were all there along with about half a dozen other hikers. Within minutes of us getting there it started to rain, so our timing was perfect.

Trail Day: 102

Thursday, July 1, 2021

  • Location: Campsite at mile 1235.5
  • Start/End Time: 7:30/5
  • Weather Conditions: Pouring rain

I woke up to a nice sunny morning that wasn’t too hot. According to the weather it wasn’t supposed to rain until mid-afternoon so I had plenty of time to hike before the rain started. That plan was to get to the Eckville Shelter for the night. They have a solar shower there, and I really need one!

However, about an hour in my hopes were dashed when it started to pour. After that, it didn’t stop raining until around 4:30. The intensity of the rain varies throughout the day, but for the most part, it rained pretty hard.

6 miles in was the Windsor Furnace Shelter where I stopped for an early lunch. The trail to get there wasn’t marked so I had it all to myself as I assumed everyone else walked right by the trail. I didn’t stay too long as I got cold quickly from my clothes being soaked through.

The most heartbreaking pet of the day was walking by the side trail The Pinnacle. It’s supposed to be the most beautiful view in Pennsylvania along the AT. I didn’t bother going down it as I knew the mountain was completely socked in.

I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to music and trying not to focus on the fact that my butt was chafing even more in my wet clothes.

Soon before I got to the Eckhart Shelter another hiker I didn’t know passed me. He told me he was heading to the shelter too and knew 2 others that blue blazes to get there to claim a spot. With this information and the knowledge there were at least 4 other hikers in front of me I decided to skip the shelter as it is located off-trail. I didn’t want to hiker down to it only to find I didn’t have a spot.

Shortly after the rain finally stopped. I crossed the road near the shelter and got to a small stream. I found Vista there who went to the shelter and it was full. While I could have kept hiking my clothes were soaked and I was getting cold. I set up my tent and was done for the day. It took a while to get dry after washing off my legs in the stream because they were covered in mud.

I only did 15.5 miles today, but with the rain, I’m totally fine with that. I sent the time I would have been hiking making a list of things I need to pick up this weekend while Will is in town, catching up on my journal, and listening to Disney music because it makes me smile.

Trail Day: 103

Friday, July 2, 2021

  • Location: Hawthorn Suites Allentown, PA
  • Start/End Time: 7:30/12:30
  • Weather Conditions: Hot and Humid with afternoon rain

I slept terribly last night. I tossed and turned all night and each time I laid on the left side I was laying on a root.

While packing up Rainman walked through the camp and he, Vista, and I had a vent session about how aggravating it is when hikers blue blaze and yellow blaze to get to a shelter before other hikers in the rain. Anyone who does this is an ass hike in my book. I will not apologize for this opinion.

I started hiking way later than I had planned and was worried Will would either be waiting a long time for me were planned to meet or he’d end up having to hike in way more miles than he planned and his feet would be killing him because of the rocks. I hiked as fast as I could in the rocky terrain.

Fortunately, I was able to text him and arrange for him to meet me at an earlier road crossing.

I continued hiking and to help keep me moving I put on my music. A few songs in “Total Eclipse of the Heart” came on. If there are people out there that can hear this song and not sing it out loud I’m definitely not one of them. I was singing this loud and proud.

Soon after the next song came on I turned around and there was someone right behind me. All I could do was laugh.

I apologized for being loud and he said he understood because he liked that song too. His name is High Point and funny enough he lives in Saratoga, NY, about an hour away from me. We ended up walking together for about an hour chatting to help pass the time.

Then, from around the corner Will was there! He said the trail was pretty easy from where we were to the parking lot so he ran to meet me.

We walked back to the car together and I held his hand as much as possible. It was so cute it was gross.

The rest of the day was spent:

  1. Eating Burger King
  2. Taking a shower
  3. Cleaning my tent and backpack
  4. Opening my Mountain House quarterly care package
  5. Eating Chinese food
  6. Doing my laundry
  7. Cleaning out all the random trash in my pack
  8. Finishing up my West Virginia and Maryland Journal

I ended the evening by watching Schitt’s Creek on Comedy Central, cuddled up next to Will.

Trail Day: 104

Saturday, July 3, 2021

  • Location: Hawthorn Suites Allentown, PA
  • Start/End Time: 
  • Weather Conditions: Humid with rain showers

Today I didn’t do anything trail-related other than going to the grocery store and stop for new shorts.

The rest of my day was spent having quality time with Will. This is the longest we’ve been apart and it’s been hard for both of us.

He planned a fun surprise date for us. We got some really good pizza for lunch and then went to Bear Rock Junction to play mini-golf and eat ice cream.

It was great to be together again even for a short period of time. He’s going home tomorrow after hiking with me a bit.

Trail Day: 105

Sunday, July 4, 2021

  • Location: Stealth campsite at mile 1261.4
  • Start/End Time: 8:15/6:15
  • Weather Conditions: Sunny

I need to stop drinking soda so late in the day. I couldn’t fall asleep last night because of the caffeine. The last time I checked the clock it was 11:45 pm.

Will and I got up, went down to breakfast, and packed up to get in the car nice and early so we could hike together before he went home.

While I’m not ready to say goodbye to him I did the math and I’ll be home in 3 to 4 weeks!

We got to hike together for about 4 miles. Unfortunately, there was nothing good to see in those 4 miles, but it was fine because we got to do them together. I’m terrible at goodbyes when I’m upset and gave him a big and kiss. I cried a little, but put my backpack on and started hiking again.

I hiked for a bit by myself listening to music feeling sad that Will was going home. A few songs in a saw a very large bear track in the mud that looked pretty fresh. I yelled a few times, just in case it was in the area. Soon after I heard someone behind banging their trekking poles together. This is something many hikers, including myself, do to make noise and let bears know we’re in the area.

I turned around and said, “ Don’t worry there isn’t a bear, just a large track.”

“Oh good, I was worried you saw one and was scaring it in my direction.” Said the voice.

He introduced himself as Nomad and we started up a conversation. I had heard of him from several other hikers and it was nice to put a face to a name.

Nomad told me we were coming up in a portion of the trail known as The Knife’s Edge. I didn’t know but figured it might be difficult because of the name. He said it was a section of the trail best done with a buddy so we decided to stick together.

The Knife’s Edge was pretty tricky. There were lots of rocks that moved and tilted, along with areas that I had to climb up or down a little using my hands. Overall it wasn’t too difficult, but in certain sections, Nomad had some trouble.

We stopped at Bakers Knob Overlook for lunch and to enjoy the view. In my opinion, this is the best view in Pennsylvania, but keep in mind I didn’t get to see The Pinnacle because of the rain. 

Nomad and I walked together for the next 6 miles until I needed to stop and go to the bathroom. We were both planning to stop early at the George W. Outerbridge Shelter and spend the night. 

Turns out the shelter sucks and the only thing it has going for it is it’s the last place to get water on trail for the next 20 miles. After taking a break and talking about pushing on despite the low water on the trail we both decided to go for it together because of the intense climb out of Lehigh Gap

At first, it wasn’t too bad with large rock stairs. They weren’t fun, but they were manageable. Then it started getting steep. And then there were rocks to balance in and climb over. At one point I was full-on rock climbing up a ledge and if I had fallen backward I probably would have died.

Nomad and I took each section slowly. At one point I was balanced on 2 tiny footholds with nowhere to go. I couldn’t take off my backpack and had to lose to figure out what to do next. I’m glad I rock climb because this would have been even more difficult without that knowledge. After taking a minute to puzzle it out I slid my feet to the left enough so I could throw my right leg up and over a ledge. Then I balanced myself enough so I would fall and crawled away from the edge.

Overall if I didn’t have a pack on this would have been a blast! But I did and as a result, several parts of this climb were scary because I was afraid that I would topple over.

Soon after we reached the top we took a large turn and found a small clearing with a view. I was exhausted from the climb and decided to camp there. Nomad joined me.

The highlight of the entire day was when the sun went down. From our little view, we could see for miles. There were fireworks going off everywhere! While we didn’t see any large fireworks displays we did see hundreds of people celebrating with their own fireworks displays at their homes. There is something really poetic and beautiful about that.

Trail Day: 106

Monday, July 5, 2021

  • Location: Stealth campsite at mile 1280.9
  • Start/End Time: 7:45/7:15
  • Weather Conditions: Sunny

Today was not a very exciting day, so everything but the very start of my day is going to be a list.

However, the morning was exciting because I couldn’t take my bear bag down.

This might be difficult to understand, but I’ll do my best to describe it. When I hang my food I use the PCT hang. Instead of using a stick, I use a carabiner to secure my line through a plastic piece that is part of my bag. Well, somehow the carabiner opened and attached itself to said plastic piece. This made it impossible to pull my line down and detach the carabiner.

Luckily, Nomad was still in camp as this required a second pair of hands. I cut off the bottom of my bear line and used it to lash a knife into a stick. Then, I held the line to keep it still while Nomad lifted the stick to cut the line. No one was hurt in the process and my line was nearly intact.

The rest of the day went like this:

  1. I did a lot of walking in a big green tunnel
  2. I talked to Hoagie. She is spending a couple of days in NYC, and staying at the YMCA.
  3. Around lunchtime I ran into Fullmoon and Pretty in Pink. I also saw Legend who had hurt his foot and was getting a ride to urgent care. 
  4. I got some trail magic! 2 Brisk iced teas and water! Because I got water I didn’t have to walk way down to the Leroy Shelter and to the spring!
  5. Chatted with Kali in the phone.
  6. Got to camp and was so tired I had a hard time hanging my bear line.
  7. Ate Mountain House Classic Spaghetti and Meat Sauce for dinner!

Trail Day: 107

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

  • Location: Rodeway Inn, Delaware Water Gap, PA
  • Start/End Time: 7:45/4:45
  • Weather Conditions: Hot and Humid with a late afternoon thunderstorm 

Do you know what I hate more than hiking in the heat and humidity? Trying to explain how terrible it is to hike in the heat and humidity.

I did 15 miles while sweat came out of every pore on my body. While this was happening all the tiny bugs in the forest found me and decided to land on me and drowned themselves in my sweat.

To make the day suck less I listened to season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s hilarious and if you haven’t watched it yet you should.

After the suffering was over I was able to get to the post office before it closed and get the package that Mountain House sent me. 

From there I walked down to the Village Farmer and Bakery,  which was recommended to me by Hoagie. I got the True Love special: a hot dog and a slice of homemade apple pie. It was spectacular! I also got 3 large donuts to share with Platinum and Upchuck for breakfast tomorrow, and a peanut butter cookie for me.

Then I walked down to the Rodeway Inn to meet Platinum and Upchuck. Our room was ice cold and for the first time that day, I stopped sweating.

After taking a shower, Platinum and I used Uber Eats to order McDonalds. No, I am not ashamed of this. And we drank White Claws. I had 3 and because I was dehydrated I got tipsy. It was a lazy afternoon and evening. I regret nothing. OK, maybe I should have had more water.

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