Friday, June 11, 2021

Day 104, Friday June 11, 2021


Jonah, Micah, Naham, Habakkuk 

Palmerton trail angel back yard to Leroy Smith shelter campsite - 16.0 miles hiked today - 1276.0 total AT miles hiked to date.

What an incredible day.  It started out with Russell (Pinot’s husband) and her son Kevin meeting us at Squeak’s back yard and taking the bulk of our heavy gear on ahead.  This allowed us to hike out light for the 1 mile rock climb that faced us first thing, with Russell planning to meet us at a road crossing down the trail to give our gear back to us.

There were 7 of us that headed up the cliff face to start the day’s hike, staying close together for safety sake as we negotiated the climb. Although we’d faced many boulder scrambles and rock climbs, we hadn’t faced anything like we saw this morning.  After a brief approach section, we were climbing hand over hand and clawing our way up the face of the mountain.  It was exhilarating mastering section after section and besting long stretches of sharp rock outcroppings.  For the better part of an hour we maneuvered our way up and over the rock face.  The only casualty was to my pants, as I caught a jagged rock and tore a gash on my pant leg.  May have to replace these in the next town.

Once everyone was through that section, we spread back out as folks fell into their normal hiking rhythms.  The younger hikers were soon well ahead and arrived at the designated road crossing well before us seasoned hikers did, and we all stopped for lunch.  Russell was there with our gear, as well as water and cold drinks for all.  At that point Kevin (who’d only hiked out with us this morning) had had enough, and elected to hang it up and head home with his dad.  

After lunch, Russell and Kevin said their goodbyes and the remainder of our crew headed out.  The afternoon was uneventful as the trail continued on the ridge line and did not include much more in the way of rocky challenges, although it did rain on and off all afternoon.  We were fortunate that the rain held off until we were through the boulders.  As it rained, the temperatures dropped and by late afternoon it was quite comfortable.  Tonight lows are supposed to be back in the 50’s, which will be a pleasant change from recent weeks.  I did meet up with a group of three young hikers from Maryland who came together through a Bible study group and realized they had a shared passion for hiking.  We got to talking on the trail after I shared the origin of my trail name (always a conversation starter), and shared thoughts and stories about mission outreaches that we’d each participated in.  It was refreshing to see young people passionate about outreach.  By late afternoon, we had arrived at the shelter, pitched tents, had dinner, and called it a night.

Until next time…

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Day 103, Thursday June 10, 2021



Stealth campsite to Trail Angel back yard in Palmerton PA - 5 miles hiked today- 1260.0 total AT miles hiked to date.

Today was a NERO day, as we hiked 5 miles down the mountain and into Palmerton to recover from the strenuous couple of days we’ve faced since Port Clinton.  The rock and boulder scrambles really take it out of you.  

We were in town by lunchtime and stayed in a trail angel’s back yard.  She not only lets you tent there for no charge, but allows the use of their shower and laundry for no charge as well.  I did a quick mow of the yard as payback before we all pitched our tents (7 in all).  After showering and doing laundry, we had lunch at a local diner, resupplied at the local market, lounged in the afternoon, and ate dinner at an Italian place.  

Next up in the morning is a 1 mile rock climb that is touted as the toughest stretch yet (pictured below from the base).  I will be doing my first slack pack, really out of necessity, as it’s very dangerous to attempt this stretch with a full pack on your back.  Pinot’s husband will carry our equipment, other than basic water and food, to the next road crossing and we’ll make the climb with ultralight packs.  One of Pinot’s sons, John, has been hiking with us for the past several days, and one of her other sons will be joining us for a couple of days as well.  A new face has also joined our group this past week, Anvil - who’s a former Army Special Forces vet, and a great asset to the group. Tomorrow morning should be quite an adventure with the sheer rock face, hand over hand climbing. After the climb, we plan to do another 15 miles or so for the day.  Rick is only 25 miles behind us, and pushing more miles than us each day, so should catch up within the next several days.

Until next time…

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Day 102, Wednesday June 9, 2021


 Hosea, Joel, Amos

Allentown Hiking Club shelter campsite to stealth campsite 5 miles south of Palmerton. 12.6 miles hiked today - 1255.0 total AT miles hiked to date.

Another low mileage day, as it was once again a tale of two trails.  I’m convinced that the designers of the AT deliberately provide a stretch of mellow, flat, obstacle free trail after particularly difficult sections to avoid mass defections from the trail.  After yesterday’s struggles, the first 6 miles this morning were about as flat and easy as I’ve seen.  Along the ridge line there were a couple of nice views and I was able to FaceTime family from one of them.  

Then it all changed, and once again I was faced with significant scrambles that slowed the pace down dramatically. Leaping from rock ledge to boulder top to teetering logs provided quite an exciting, but ultimately slow afternoon.  Compounding the usual heat and humidity was the relative scarcity of easily accessible water sources.  I had filled my water bag up before leaving this morning, so carried over 3 liters of water out from camp.  It’s a good thing, as I didn’t run into more water until just before stopping for the day.  There was no spring or creek nearby, but a trail angel had left 30 gallon jugs of water at the edge of a road crossing.

Tomorrow we hike into Palmerton for a shower, laundry and minor resupply, staying in the back yard of Squeek.  She is a former thru hiker who lets hikers pitch tents in her yard, use her bathroom/shower, and laundry- all for no charge.

I did want to mention something I had meant to cover earlier. I’m sure you’ve  heard of the 17 year cicadas.  We had been seeing them along the trail since Virginia, even had a few husks stuck to my tent.  I kept expecting to hear them loudly as I hiked or at night, but never did, or so I thought. Then last week, the Silver Goat told me that the low throbbing, humming noise we hear every morning was actually the cicadas making their noise.  To me, it sounded more like a flying saucer from a 50’s sci-fi movie. Who’d a thunk?  Now I know.

Until next time…

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Day 101, Tuesday June 8, 2011



Windsor Furnace Shelter campsite to Allentown Hiking Club shelter campsite - 16.4 miles hiked today - 1242.4 total AT miles hiked to date.

Today was a brutal reminder of why this part of the AT is called Rocksylvannia.  While I’ve encountered lots of boulder scrambles, ragged rocks, and tough technicals, they’ve never been as continual, unrelenting, and up, up, up.  Today’s climbs totaled over 4000 feet of ascent.   Add in an afternoon of rain and the wet boulders made for very slow going, another 12 hour hiking day to make it to our original destination.

There were some perks however, as we passed several great overlooks, and at least in the morning, they offered great spots to take a break.  They had great names, and I spent time at Pulpit Rock, The Pinnacle, and Dan’s Pulpit.

Also unusual today was the plethora of animal life along the trail.  In addition to the usual suspects (deer, squirrels and rabbits), I saw a porcupine, an orange salamander, a snail, and a snake in the process of ingesting a frog. Also one bike chained to a tree, with no nearby access road to have ridden in on. Quite the menagerie.

Ran into a couple of hikers I hadn’t seen in many weeks. Firewalker, who shared our controlled burn experience outside Franklin Tennessee, passed me early in the day, as did Just Joe, who Rick and I had dinner with back in North Carolina.

All in all, another eventful day on the trail. Hopefully tomorrow won’t be quite as rocky.

Until next time…

Monday, June 7, 2021

Day 100, Monday June 7, 2021


Lamentations / Ezekiel 

Port Clinton hiker pavilion tent site to Windsor Furnace Shelter campsite -  6.0 miles hiked - 1226.0 total AT miles hiked to date.

In celebration of 100 days since I started this journey, I took a NERO today.  I got up this morning and caught a ride into Hamburg, the closest resupply spot.  I was able to pick up everything I needed for four more days of hiking at Walmart, Aldi’s, and Dollar Tree, all conveniently located by each other. After the resupply, I had lunch at Boston Market and then walked over to Cabellas, where a shuttle was available to take me back to the pavilion.  I snapped a shot of a bear on display, the closest I’ve been to a bear

thus far.  Once there, I packed up my newly refreshed food bag and other belongings and started for the trail about 3 pm, passing a house that makes their thoughts about hikers clear.

  I stopped in the Barbershop, run by a former thru hiker and charged up my electronics.  One completed, I walked across the street to the Peanut store, an old fashioned candy store, and bought some hard candies for the trail.

Finally, at about 4:45, I headed back out onto the trail.  As is usually the case when leaving a town,  the initial trail involved a significant climb for the first couple of miles.  I gained 1400 feet of elevation in the first two miles.  Slow going, as it is still hot and humid.

I pulled into the shelter around 7:30, ate a quick dinner, and set up camp.  Rick is only a day or two behind me so should catch up soon.

Until next time…

Day 104, Friday June 11, 2021

             Jonah, Micah, Naham, Habakkuk  Palmerton trail angel back yard to Leroy Smith shelter campsite - 16.0 miles hiked today - 1276....