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Highs and Lows of Pennsylvania

Highs and Lows of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania (Aug. 30 – Sept. 12)

229 miles, 13 days

This was a tough state to compress right into a size that may hold even my very own consideration span, however I attempted none-the-less. Right here it’s – damaged down, elaborating on the highs and lows (in the future, very low). To elucidate the header – I handed the 1000 mile mark, woo!

Path Birthday

To not make this all about me or something, however I entered Pennsylvania on my birthday! The path goes proper via the city of Delaware Water Hole the place we discovered a Church that put up hikers on a donation base. After my bathe I didn’t have a specific urge to daybreak my soiled garments so I wore an outsized rain poncho I discovered in a hiker field (in all probability equally as soiled as my very own garments now that I give it some thought). In what was scarily near my birthday go well with, Dreamer and I hitched to a city over that had a laundromat. We then spent the afternoon on the library and made it again to the church in meal time. Solar Chaser rolled into city whereas we have been on the library. It simply so occurred to be the final day of the mountaineering season of which the church group comes collectively for a seasonal, weekly potluck dinner! Corn on the cob, 5 totally different pasta dishes, an equal quantity of salad dishes, pizza, burgers – you identify it, that they had it. There was an entire different desk with desserts, and of course crucial… cake!!! They requested solely that we unfold out and mingle, which was a very cool idea because it meant they have been to listen to about our experiences, and vice versa.

Jazz on the Deer Head Inn

The night time (my birthday) didn’t cease there because the oldest persevering with operating jazz membership within the nation was only a block away. Usually a $20 cowl, we headed on in free of cost as a result of Thursdays conveniently are cover-free. Oftentimes I feel the path supplies if you least anticipate it to and this was one of these occasions. Sitting there with a glass of purple wine, listening to jazz music on a full abdomen, with buddies – nevertheless briefly I’d recognized them – to rejoice my birthday with was simply such an exquisite shock! I even obtained an AWOL information e-book from Dreamer that I’d undoubtedly wanted however was too cussed to get.

The Terrain

Pennsylvania is arguably one of the hardest terrains. It’s nicknamed “Rocksylvania” because of the rocky nature of the path, claiming to be the place footwear go to die. Maine and New Hampshire had rocks, positive, however these have been massive slabs that have been navigated by climbing. These rocks are small jagged ones, protruding from the bottom often to some extent, unavoidable as a result of they’re what the bottom consists of…billions of rocks ready to destroy your footwear.

Rocks on rocks on rocks

Day after day strolling on this stuff are tiresome. It doesn’t matter the shortage of elevation as a result of it takes simply as lengthy making an attempt to put every foot down the place its much less more likely to roll an ankle or pierce the underside of your shoe. Continually staring down at your ft takes focus and focus that wears on the thoughts and prevents any alternative to take a look at the view. Lacking views weren’t such an issue anyway, because the timber blocked any type of view. I’m afraid the times of going above tree line are behind me, however I’m sure there’ll be views additional South because the leaves change color and fall off.

Solar Chaser had duct tape on his blisters for almost all of Southern Pennsylvania, and Dreamer appeared to stub his toe on each protruding rock he might for some unknown cause. The rocky sections have been actually not gratifying to step on, and by the top of every day it felt just like the bottoms of your ft had been pummeled. It’s as if mom nature knew the rocks have been an issue and a half, so she took away the bugs, and for that I’m grateful. (That was me making an attempt to finish the terrain on a very good word so no one is totally discouraged from mountaineering in PA, however should you do – good luck.)

Typically it’s good strolling, nevertheless it’s not unusual to solely keep in mind rocks (Dreamer and Sunchaser)


Only a aspect observe right here, I feel it’s essential to level out the quantity of gunshots I heard on this state. I don’t know what the gun legal guidelines are like – however individuals appear to like capturing them. The path passes by gun ranges day by day; some so shut inflicting goosebumps, in anticipation of a stray bullet or seven. My lack of orange clothes didn’t assist any, particularly once I got here throughout indicators that permitted searching. Then I simply prayed I used to be listening to a gun vary, and the deer fleeing from me weren’t headed within the fallacious path.

The weapons have been plentiful on the town too. Getting back from a Walmart resupply we had a sort man with a trucker mouth pull over to offer us a journey again to path. He wasn’t a beat-around-the-bush sort of individual and extremely beneficial all of us bathe ASAP. He additionally whipped out his pistol for no purpose. By no means a uninteresting second on/off path.

Labor Day Weekend

My pal, Halie, had been planning to return hike a piece with me for 5 days over the Labor Day weekend, so except for my mother – she was my first customer! She and I hiked within the Adirondacks a pair occasions beforehand, so this was proper up her alley. I chattered on just about continuous when she arrived, so though she stayed solely two days, I’m positive she received what appeared like a 5 day dosage of me. Her pack weight was minimal, and she had all applicable gear, however a blister drawback shaped and she couldn’t stroll with the ache in her ft. Having already put a great quantity of miles on her climbing footwear earlier than this journey, it was irritating greater than anything I’m positive. It goes to point out you can by no means absolutely be ready. Pennsylvania is understood for its rocky path and perhaps that had one thing to do with it. It might have been the fabric of socks she was sporting, or any quantity of mixtures. Blisters occur to everybody out right here sooner or later so it was unhappy for each of us to have her reduce her journey brief. It was an excellent rocky path that we hiked, and within the 15 miles we had it was good to speak in a well-known means about life again house! I’m already wanting ahead to having somebody to hike with once I end! (Although that doesn’t imply I’m anyplace close to near wanting this hike to finish!)


Halie & I

Labor Day weekend was an apparent one, as a result of the path turned uncomfortably populated. It’s an amazing factor to see individuals out and about, as I’m undoubtedly one to encourage a wholesome way of life, nevertheless, once I’ve develop into used to speaking (caveman grunting) with Solar Chaser and Dreamer, it’s slightly unnerving when somebody I don’t know passes by shut sufficient to odor me. Actually, I’m a bit of jealous how trendy everyone seems to be, figuring out the bulk are questioning why I’m not as clear as them. I sat at a populated viewpoint and ate lunch one afternoon, marveling at their observations of the three mile loop they have been doing.

In a rush to get to the Eckville Shelter earlier than darkish that very same day, I bumped into what might have been the forged of Cheaper By The Dozen. I noticed two mother and father and a bunch of youngsters, no less than ten, I swear. It was nightfall, and as soon as the mother and father found out I used to be a thru-hiker the youngsters burst into questions, every mouth firing off two every, from each which course. I felt like an animal that was backed right into a nook and wished I had the power to dig a gap. These have been simply curious youngsters and I did one of the best I might addressing all of them, completely satisfied (as soon as I left) that they have been truly ! They have been cute youngsters, so proud to have walked an entire mile to get there and I used to be excited from them too! Once I made it to the shelter I used to be relieved to be the one one so I might wind down for the day in peace. Loopy to assume one of these youngsters might keep in mind the soiled hiker that handed them, and develop as much as hike the AT someday.

Path rumor had it there was to be a Labor Day BBQ on the Eckville Shelter, hosted by a Path Angel, so I left the Eckville Shelter to satisfy Solar Chaser and Dreamer 15 miles additional in Port Clinton, having already organized a journey to get to the BBQ and again. We hung round city for an extended, hopeful whereas, solely to have our journey fall by way of and our goals crushed. As an alternative of pigging out at a BBQ, we trudged three miles uphill to a campsite. That marks the top of Labor Day, deliver on the solitude!

Zero Day in Duncannon

The Doyle Lodge


We’d been doing over 20 miles for probably the most half, and two 30’s, so we rewarded ourselves a zero day in Duncannon. On the best way in I noticed a porcupine (my first one ever) and arrived fortunately on the town. I stayed on the Doyle Lodge and the blokes went over to remain on the church. I couldn’t deliver myself to sleep on the church flooring when the Doyle Lodge was priced as so. $25 on your personal room, and mattress! The Doyle is a staple Appalachian Path expertise, so naturally I indulged. It has a not-so-tidy fame which I discovered to be higher than the forest flooring, so I used to be comfortable! The house owners have been fascinating to talk to, so my zero day handed by all too shortly. Once I forgot my bank card there, Pat and Vickey have been sort sufficient to ship it forward, with a notice enclosed, “Sometimes wonder how ya’ll make it thru the woods, enjoyed meeting you! Be safe – storms headin’ your way.”

I give it a 5 star, on path, score

The Hardest Day Ever

Having rested our legs, we did 25 miles to Boiling Springs and referred to as it a day, tenting in a park behind a row of timber, fairly properly hid. We made a plan to get up at 5 am and cowl some good floor. I awakened, heard the rain pounding on my tent and went again to sleep. IT WAS SO COLD. Dreamer and Solar Chaser manged to truly depart at 5 am. Glad to have picked some thick timber to camp behind because it was in all probability not allowed, I emerged from my tent about 11 am. It was nonetheless pouring rain and the coldest climate I’d skilled thus far on the AT, temperature within the low 50’s.

The Path

Utterly soaked and muddy from packing up in a steady torrential downpour, I went to a restaurant as an alternative of the path. I had a milkshake which didn’t make me really feel any higher, and loitered simply lengthy sufficient to go away earlier than I used to be requested. On my means out a person stopped me to attempt to discourage me from getting again on the market. He really helpful a hostel or a motel so I might await higher mountaineering circumstances. He shook his head as I left. Exasperated at this level, caught between risking hypothermia and breaking what’s remaining in my checking account, I selected the latter and acquired dumped on, trudging via water knee deep.

I acquired to a shelter four miles later and informed myself I’d take a break and head again out. That didn’t occur. I curled up in my sleeping bag from three pm-9 am the next morning, consuming something and all the things I had left in my bag – meals is reassuring. The shelters are all three-sided, and don’t have anything however a picket body usually. It offered little heat and I shivered all the time sporting all layers of garments that weren’t moist. Utterly shot of power. i attempted to persuade myself I had Lymes Illness so I’d have an excuse to get off path. Three different SOBO’s rolled in later, however I wasn’t within the biggest of moods so I went again to entertaining myself with the shotty web sign I had there. My thoughts was crammed with ideas of how a lot worse it’s going to be when the anticipated Hurricane to hit, so what’s the purpose of even persevering with if  I cant deal with this, not to mention what’s but to return…

Lifeless Lady’s Hole

Which will have been my path lowpoint, however it turned across the subsequent day. Sugar Glider gave me a pop-tart, my Good friend Ida from Finland despatched me some encouraging phrases, and others who knew the hurricane was coming provided their assist, and locations to crash if want be! My late begin out of my sleeping bag that day become a 25 miler. The top was fairly the wrestle as nicely, however that was my very own fault. It was eight pm and I used to be decided to make it as far as the midway level, so my awfully low cost headlamp and I have been nonetheless strolling. I handed by means of a stretch of the path that intersects with “Dead Woman’s Hollow” so I additional freaked myself out strolling by timber and creating 100 homicide scenes in my head. The fog was thick, and I might hardly make out the white blazes. The necessary half is that I made it midway, so I figured I’ll as properly simply push on to the closest shelter the place I might dry out. I arrived on the shelter petrified of a homicide, laying in wait, however fortunately my overactive creativeness was mistaken. It was not a assassin – however a mouse, and it chewed a tiny gap in my meals bag. Mice and ticks – humorous how they’re the animals to worry out right here.

Goodbye Pennsylvania

23 miles to a shelter in late rain was the grande finale that PA provided. I had my buff pulled up over my nostril and my bandana midway down my brow as a result of I’m no fan of the chilly. I even wore my long-sleeve shirt that I put on to mattress, risking it within the rain. Pennsylvania was an extended, unforgiving state however I’m glad it had me questioning whether or not I might end this factor or not. I payment like I’ve had it too straightforward this far, so to problem my ideas is one thing to have made it by means of! Nicely performed Pennsylvania..

If anybody ever has questions, my Instagram @jenniithomps is most accessible to me out right here, so be happy to shoot me a message!




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