Day 118- 7.17.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 16.5 miles today (1223.2-1239.7). We woke up excited to actually see some views in PA, but it was foggy until after lunch time. Fuego said The Pinnacle was the most visited part of the trail in PA, so it was a bummer to miss the view there. There was a ginormous rock pile there, so that sort of made up for it. We ran into a large group of military personnel (30+ people) doing search and rescue training wearing hard hats and backpacking gear. Other hikers reported that they were singing some crazy songs while they were hiking! We stopped for lunch and showers at Eckville Shelter. It is actually some guy’s house, but he has a shed in the back with bunks and a bath house with a toilet and shower that runs off of refillable water tanks.
The trail was almost unbearably rocky for the last 4+ miles of our hike which killed any motivation we’d had to hike another 4 miles to a B&B for live music. While sitting at the shelter, I saw a UAV fly overhead! I’d never seen one flying before, and this one was pretty low, maybe 100 AGL. Not sure if they were utilizing it for the search and rescue training or if it was unrelated.
We decided to hike .3 miles further to the spring, then realized there wasn’t any place for a tent. Goldie and Toasty stayed there since they sleep in hammocks, but Fuego and I had to climb back up the hill to the shelter. Pretty sure Fuego almost killed me with his death stare (it was my idea to hike just a little bit further).
Fancy Pants: We hiked 14.5 miles today (1239.7-1254.2). We intended to sleep in this morning, so naturally, I woke up at 6:40. We went to the Blue Mountain Summit Restaurant and B&B for lunch since we didn’t make it there last night for music. Most of the other hikers that were at the shelter went there for lunch too.
There was a nice view from Knife Edge, although it was pretty scary to cross. The rocks were all exposed on the ridge, and at some points, we had to scoot on our butts to keep from sliding off! We were aiming for the next shelter, but stopped short. Goldie wasn’t feeling well and it was getting late and looked like a storm was coming. We ended up camping at a cool site with a view of the cities below and a view of the storm that was to our west.
Day 120- 7.19.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 19 miles today (1254.2-1273.2). We packed up and were on the trail at 7:30 to stock up on water at the spring down the hill. We drank as much water as we could fit into our bodies and filled up our bottles. Today’s hike has a 12 mile stretch without reliable water, 95+ degrees with a rock climb and sections of trail with full sun exposure. The climb out of Lehigh Gap was intense! We had to strap our trekking poles to our packs and use our hands to climb up. It was pretty scary at some points- one wrong move and my pack would have pulled me off the side of the mountain! After the climb, we were walking through the (hopefully) remediated portions of the Palmerton Zinc Superfund Site. The ridge is deforested due to 90 or so years of zinc smelting. Very hot and very sun exposed. We hiked down to Little Gap Road and someone had left a cooler full of water! Seriously, an oasis in the desert. The rest of the day was spent stubbing toes, tripping over rocks and trying to stay positive. The gnats and mosquitoes were so bad that I ended up hiking the last 3.5 miles to the shelter in an hour. I showed up sweaty, hot and in a rage. Once I recomposed, we made dinner and were asleep by 8. We camped with Toasty, Papa Oats, Bernard, Killer and Squarepeg.
Day 121- 7.20.15
Fancy Pants: We hiked 20.1 miles today (1273.2-1293.4). Most of the hike today was really rocky (surprise, surprise!), and miles were slow before lunch. We got to Wolf Rocks which sounds ominous, but was actually a reprieve from the small pointy rocks we had dealt with over the past few days. We ran into a ridge runner who said the rocks would lighten up as we headed towards town. Mosquitoes were pretty bad today, so we didn’t take many breaks. The ridge runner also recommended a happy hour and a few places with good food. We got into Delaware Water Gap and stayed at the church hostel. After showers, we went to Sycamore Grill with Papa Oats. There, we hung out with our first SOBO hiker. It’s pretty exciting to talk to someone who has done all of the trail you have yet to hike! We tented in the yard behind the church.
Day 122- 7.21.15
Fancy Pants: Zero day! Another day where we could have slept in, so naturally I wake up really early. We woke up excited today because Fuego’s parents, Preston and Jessica, were coming to pick us up! We haven’t seen them since right before we left, so it’s been over 4 months. They brought their RV up to PA for the week and rented a cabin at the campground for us to stay in.
We went on a quest to find a new hat for Fuego since he lost his hat when we were at the music festival. At the third stop, he found the perfect hat replacement. It was nice to just sit and relax at the campsite, and even nicer when we got into the cabin 🙂 We went to bed relatively early so we could wake up early for the slackpack.