Day 13 (Stealth site to Backpackers campground)

I packed up and hit the trail at 6:00. First task was to find some water. A lot of the springs in Pennsylvania are already dry. Ended up having to hike a 1/2 mile each way on a blue trail but I got enough water to last the day.

It was cold and windy today. I hiked in tights and long sleeves most of the day. Around 11:00, I stopped at an overlook and cooked an early lunch and also made a cup of coffee. That warmed me up. It was nice to finally meet Slingshot and JimmieJohn mid afternoon.

Then I picked up the pace and made it into Delaware Water Gap in time for dinner. Problem was that the place I planned to eat was no longer there. So I decided to go a few more miles into New Jersey. Ends up you can’t camp the forest few miles of NJ so I ended up night hiking a couple miles. I saw my first bear right as the night hike began.

Thanks to my wonderful sister Laura for talking to me on the phone while I walked the first mile and distanced myself from the bear.

31 mile day if the water mile is included. Longest day yet.

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Day 12 (Bake Oven Knob Shelter to stealth site)

I woke to the sound of rain hitting the tent. Such a pleasant sound. I decided to sleep in until the rain stopped which was around 7:00. I had breakfast and packed up. Then I visited with Bandit and Free Ball who had arrived after I had turned in for the night. Always good to see them. 🙂

I got on the trail around 8:00. It started to rain a little as I made my way through the first couple of boulder fields. At the George W. Outerbridge, shelter I cameled up and loaded up on water because there would be no drinkable water for 20 miles. Water is heavy!

The climb out of Lehigh Valley is listed as the 6th hardest climb on the AT. Think of it as a mile high pile of boulders. Lots of hand over hand climbing. Pretty intense at times. After the climb, the trail goes through the Palmerton Superfund site. So sad but the plants are starting to grow back now.

I saw my first rattlesnake there. The last 8 miles of the day were awesome single track, no boulder fields. Yay! I’m in my tent now in an unofficial campsite. Bandit and Free Ball just walked by and said, “Hi” through my tent wall. Haha. Fun day!

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Day 11 (Dan’s Pulpit to Bake Oven Knob Shelter)

The profile for today’s hike looked pretty easy. I expected to get in 22 miles. Instead, it was the hardest 15 miles I’ve done on the AT yet.

Most of the miles went through boulder fields and some areas, like Knife Edge, required using your hands to climb up and over large boulders. I’ll post some pictures but I know they won’t do it justice. Some south bound hikers told me to expect more of the same tomorrow.

Tenting at a shelter tonight for the first time. Section hiker Shadow is here as well.

Day 10 (Microtel Inn to near Dan’s Pulpit)

In my original schedule day 10 was to be a zero day (backpacker lingo for a day with zero miles, a rest day). However, my legs and feet were feeling okay and I was really ready to leave the hotel and get back in the woods. So I decided to hike 15 miles to a tent site at an easy pace instead. When I got there, it was low and damp so I hiked a couple more miles so I could camp on the ridge. So much cooler and less humid here.

My day started with a 1.5 mile road walk to get back to the trail. Once in the trail, I battled humidity and inch worms most of the day. The inch worms hang from the trees on fine threads and hitch rides. I think I picked over 100 off me and my pack today. They were everywhere. I had lunch at Pulpit Rock and enjoyed a conversation with a very nice local man, Ted.

Day 9 (Hertlein to Microtel Inn in Hamburg, PA)

My typical day on the trail starts with packing up, treating water, and drinking a protein shake from a zip lock bag with a straw. Then I start hiking. The first hour I walk slowly and listen to the noises of the forest. Then I pick up the pace a bit and start singing songs I know from childhood.

I always start with Morning Has Broken (6th grade chorus) and then songs from the Sound of Music, etc. I stop for lunch around noon. I typically cook lunch so this usually takes 30 minutes. After lunch, I listen to the awesome music on my ipod (thanks to those that contributed songs:)) and, yes, I sing.

I typically get to camp around 5:00. However, today was a little different. I hiked 1.5 miles into Hamburg, PA to the Microtel Inn to pick up my second resupply. Staying here tonight. Back on the trail tomorrow. 🙂

Pulpit Rock near Port Clinton, PA

Pulpit Rock near Port Clinton, PA

Day 8 (Rausch Creek to Hertlein campsite)

Day 8 started in a leisurely fashion. I slept in until 7:15 and didn’t start hiking until after 8:00. I talked with a woman named Mayapple that is hiking the state of Pennsylvania.

Around 10:00 I came across a stream and decided it was time for a bath. I hadn’t washed my hair since day 3, yikes! It was a very cold stream but it felt good to have clean hair, body, and clothes. 🙂

Cooooold water :)

Cooooold water 🙂

At 2:00, I realized I had only hiked 10 miles. I needed at least 13 more in order to get my resupply the next day. I started running and the endorphins kicked in. I arrived at my campsite feeling great. Two creeks tonight to sing me to sleep.