I've heard that PA is rocky but nothing prepared me for the boulders that are the path on this state. The combination of rocks, rain, humidity and dry or scarce water make this state so challenging. I have 30 more miles until I reach the NJ border. One more challenge - snakes. I haven't seen any rattle snakes but other hikers have - among the rocks. Today I climbed a rocky, steep trail from Lehigh Gap. I think it was the most challenging area so far on my hike.
I could look down over the Gap and view the superfund site in Palmerton. The redeeming feature was loads of blackberries at the top.
July 28: Last night I stayed at the Port Clinton Hotel, a relic from the early 1800's when it was a stagecoach stop between Philadelphia and Sunbury. Since crossing the half way point last week I have hiked the rocky path of Pennsylvania for over 100 miles. I learned how accidents can have along this well maintained and marked trail. Tuesday afternoon around 4:30 I was about a mile from the shelter when the sky turned dark and the winds increased. Shortly after the skies opened up and thunder and lightening hit the trail. My glasses fogged up so bad I had to remove them and I could not see the blazes. I thought I'd have to wrap up in my tent and wait. As I turned to go back to the last blaze a hiker showed up ("Dusty"). I told him I couldn't see and asked if I could follow him to the 501 shelter. Thank you Dusty. As he left me at the path by the shelter he said he was going back to look for "Swiss Miss" who also wore glasses. The 501 shelter was cabin-style so we bunked in for the night hoping to dry out the next day.
PA is rocky and hot! Currently I'm at mile 1164 enjoying trail magic. Passed through the half way point (1094.5).
Enjoyed hiking through Duncannon. Met someone who asked if he could pray for me, did laundry, and had an amazing black bean burger at The Doyle Hotel.
Up to this point water has been scarce so I've had to carry at least 2 liters.
Also met an older man, "Wild Bill" at a road crossing who gave me water and a P&J sandwich.
Today I crossed the 1000 mile mark and am almost at the half way point. Yesterday was a long 18-mile day across the infamous "roller coaster". I made it to the Bears Den Hostel owned by the ATC and managed by the PATC.
Today was a shorter hike to the Blackburn Trail Center where the caretakers are busy preparing a pasta dinner!
"The time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation." Theodore Roosevelt. 1908Shenandoah was established in 1935. I entered the park at Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro and registered for the required backcountry pass. The first night I rented at Calf Mountain Shelter. The next day I hiked 19.7 miles and tented at Loft Mtn Campground where showers and coffee were available. I met a couple from New York thru-hiking with the dog at the next tent site. The next day I stopped at Hightop Hut where I saw a mother bear and cub just ahead of me on the trail. We saw each other and they bounded away. A ranger said there are more bears this year for to the abundant rain which caused berries to pop early creating a bear friendly food supply.
One of the highlights of my trip through the park was meeting up with my niece at Big Meadows who dehydrated amazing food for resupply! The other plus was seeing my sister who drove the length of Skyline Drove to meet me at Rockfish Gap.
I arrived at Skylands Lodge for lunch and avoided a downpour. I need up getting a ride to Luray and staying at the hostel and slack packing 10 miles south the next sag to make up the distance.
Right now I'm at Elkwallow Wayside where I stopped for lunch. I left the shelter site at Pass Mountain early and now I'm waiting for a ranger talk on black bears.
McAfee KnobThis amazing site at mile 711.1 is the most photographed site along the A.T. The Knob has a 270 degree panorama of the Catawba Valley and North Mountain to the west, Tinker Cliffs to the north and the Roanoke Valley to the east. Tinker Ridge/Hay Rock Overlook
This trail crosses Tinker Creek then ascends Tinker Ridge providing the most spectacular views of Carvins Cove respiratory and the Roanoke Valley.
Considered by some to be the most challenging hike of the southern half of the A.T. This is a unique geologic feature that consists of Tuscarora quartzite spires which outcrop on the top of Cove Mountain. The tallest "tooth" projects 35 feet above the surrounding rock. The trail to Dragon's Tooth ascends steep, rugged outcrops of quartzite which form the spine of Cove Mountain and North Mountain. The spine is known as Dragon's Back. A difficult hike, Dragon's Tooth summit offers magnificent views of nearby and distant peaks.
June 11 Pearisburg, VA mile 634.6Yesterday hiked from the amazing Woods Hole Hostel (mile 625.5) - a 1880's log cabin operated by the founders granddaughter, Neville. The place is state-of-the-art for reuse, recycle, with wonderful home cooked meals, many vegan.
I crossed the 500 mile mark this past week. Enjoyed the ponies in the highlands. The ponies were introduced by the USFS in 1960 to maintain the grasses in the area. The ponies are hardy and can withstand the harsh winter and have become beloved by tourists. No tenting is allowed at GHSP but is permitted on the surrounding Mt. Rogers National Recreation Atra.
Last night I stayed at a hostel in Damascus called the Hikers Inn. The owners thru-hiked in 2009, came through town, saw the place was for sale, purchased it and moved from Charlotte. I was in the bunk house room with a father and his two daughters. I had to turn on the air conditioning g to s town out his snoring. This morning I stopped at Mojo's for a soy latte, bagel and peanut butter. Getting ready to head out on the trail which bi-sects town.
Yesterday I stocked up on snacks for the trail and found a couple of good vegan dinner options at an outfitter in town.
I also decided to buy a quilt and give away my sleeping bag to save weight.
This morning I arrived here and am staying overnight for a "Nero". Yesterday I crossed the border of Tennesee and Virginia and stayed at a camp sight just two miles from town. It was my longest day of hiking at 16.5 miles.
About the Campaign: I am an animal lover concerned about the plight of African elephants killed slaughtered for their ivory. I decided to highlight this issue and raise money by hiking the Appalachian Trail -- 2100 miles -- starting in April and finishing in October.
All money raised (100%) will go directly to helping elephants. I am using personal funds to pay for the hike.