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…

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