New York spanks NOBOs

Why does nobody talk about New York? It’s brutal, taken in the flow of things!

I made it to the William whatever shelter, along with two big groups of party people and more tents than I’ve seen since Georgia. 19.5 miles! And my feet are throbbing. Rock scramble after rock scramble, of which the ‘lemon squeezer’ was the last and the least. True and Kiwi helped me get over that one by pulling up my pack, which I couldn’t manage on my own.

I hope the terrain calms down a little tomorrow. I need to do 17 and also short resupply. Oh, and I guess 1400 tomorrow!

Helloooo, New York!

Only 12.2 miles today, but that was the plan to get past the aggressive bear at Fingerboard shelter. Since camping is illegal except at the shelters in New York, we had about four choices: a short day, a superlong day (ie, 25 miles or something, and New York is no picnic), find a town somewhere, or some personal option, like having your mom come get you. (I wish!) A ton of people went for the short day. Birkie and Jack pushed 22 to a dump motel. Kiwi is here, and a guy named Stretch who recognized me from the 19E hostel after the Hump debacle! I heard True is supposed ro be here. Aaanddd…. 20 hikers I don’t know. And a dog.

What do you want first, the rant or the happy stuff? Let’s do the rant!

Some jackasses threw a party at the shelter last night. They packed in beer (judging from the pop-tops at 12:30 AM), chatted nice and loud, left all their cans and food trash and bananas and weed on the shelter picnic table, and dumped a cooked chicken in the bear box, which was full of other hikers’ food bags. I didn’t mention it this morning, because I didn’t want to be all ‘GET OFF MY LAWN!’, but other people have been talking about it. Hikers are pissed. It’s a big crowd, they’re here, and they have beer again. They’re already screaming like this is their private back yard, they’re building a fire near my tent, and these are thru-hikers, and I’m really disappointed and pissed. I hope it rains and hails on us, soon.

I think I’ve caught up to the back end of the next mullet. That is, the partiers.

OK. On the other hand… NEW YORK! For some reason, New York got me emotional. Maybe because PA is home and I’ve spent plenty of time in NJ. Coming to that white boundary line, my eyes welled up.

New York really beats up the NOBOs. Big big rock scrambles right at the beginning. They were fun! Except for the 105 heat index. The skeeters were out and hungry. I have maybe 30 bites. Maybe more.

I missed another big snake! I know, because somebody said, “Did you see that huge rattlesnake on the rocks?” And no. No, I had not. I did see two bears this morning, though! About a mile from the shelter, right on the trail. Probably attracted by the food and garbage the partiers left all over the place.

Also, frogs +1.

Kiwi!:

The Golden Staircase

A very, very hard-won 16.8 today. On short sleep, because we threw Kiwi a party last night. 😁

There were a half-dozen hikers tenting in the public park area in Unionville. I got a couple of Hostess cupcakes and candles, and Ten More (as in ‘minutes’) bought a ton of food from the pizza place across the street. The German Triple-Crowner picked up a gallon of ice cream. We sang and pigged out until well past hiker midnight. Happy 28th, Kiwi!

I decided to rush my resupply last night rather than this morning, and man, was that the right plan. It was steaming hot by 6:30 AM. All day was swampy, boggy marshland, including the mile-long boardwalk under a brutal sun… punctuated by steep climbs and rock scrambles.

There was also ice cream in the afternoon, at the local farm store. So many thrus! Me, Kiwi, Birkie, True, and a dozen others I didn’t know. Seeing familiar faces is such a boost.

I think it’s two short days now, in order to avoid Fingerboard. I resent that damn bear! You know what else I resent? When mosquitoes bite my tattoo, through my permethrin-treated calf sleeves. But hey… swamp. I picked up about ten new bites today.

Tomorrow: New York, I think!

Bad news: Unionville didn’t have instant coffee! I run out in 3 days, if they don’t stock it at my next resupply. This could get ugly! 😆

Oh! And frogs +1.

Swaaaaamp!

20.1 today, to the Unionville free camping area. I’ve been using these public areas this time—mostly because, logistically speaking, they’ve been necessary. This one’s pretty nice! I know we’re near a siren, so we’ll see.

Jeez, my feet hurt. But I got the 20, along with a break at the High Point ranger station. And I resupplied! The little market has NO instant coffee. Not sure what to do about that. I have enough to get to the next resupply, at a convenience store.

In other new… New Jersey is so swampy! I’m glad when there are planks. It’s definitely summer, hereabouts. Hot, hot, wet, and buggy. I feel like I’m walking in a greenhouse.

Frogs, +1. And lots of bullfrogs croaking, out in the swamps, but croaking doesn’t photograph well. 😁

Short day tomorrow. I’ll hit Horters for breakfast, then.,, outta here!

New Jersey: the hot swamp state

17.9 today.

My feet hurt, and I’ve been at my wits end trying to figure out how to avoid Fingerboard Shelter in a few days’ time. (It’s like setting up bowling pins.) That’s the one with the aggressive bear, ripping open tents to steal packs. Obviously, I won’t camp within 5 miles of that joint. Then Kiwi mentioned that we can camp behind the post office in Unionville for free! It’s in AWOL! That’s a game changer. So the plan is to do 20 tomorrow and sleep in the park. Fingers crossed.

Kiwi will be 28 on the 28th.

Not much to report. Speaking of Kiwi, she pulled a deer tick off her leg today. 🙁

The trail was great today. Dry rock scrambles, which were fun, and some stretches of easy walking. It’s still rocky hereabouts, though. I managed to snag a cheeseburger at a “tavern” 3 miles back, a place that was in both guides, but it was really a dive bar. I won’t make that mistake again!

Saw a lot of swampy bogs and ponds. Climbed a lot of hills. The afternoon was hot and muggy; I missed the Midatlantic heat last time. Only saw two thrus all day—Kiwi and Scat, who I camped with last night and also tonight. Scat said Siren is a day behind, and also a couple of other hikers who knew Kiwi and me. I’m hoping that’s Unicorn and J-Rock, but we’ll see! Our numbers are low now.

What else? Oh! Frogs+1, salamanders +1. Sorry about yet anothet salamander pic, but they feel like trading cards. Crappy, out of focus trading cards.

I’ve never been on this trail before

So. I can’t even remember if I updated Saturday. In a nutshell, I climbed up the Lehigh rock wall and boulder field. It was dry and calm, and had some challenging spots, but it was all doable. Should’ve put the poles up, though. 😀

Then my friends Janet and Karen drove up for lunch, and it was fabulous! Aftet that, I made only a few miles and camped… somehow, right above what sounded like a live concert with fireworks. It was the noisiest night yet, in noisy Pennsylvania.

Then… oh, yeah. Sunday. I don’t remember it at all. Then Monday, I ploughed into Delaware Water Gap, because my amazing sister decided to drive up right from work and take me out for dinner! It was AWESOME. Thank you, sister! I love you!

Then… rain today. Oh! I finally found a new pack cover! I’ve been looking since Neels, but everybody’s been out. I knew the old one was full of holes and no longer water resistant in the least… but I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I saw the rain actually beading on the new one! My pack stayed dry!

Hit New Jersey. Hit 1300. Camped in this site with Kiwi, Scat, and a whole troop of Outward Bounders. Oh, and stopped in Mohican for my resupply. Thank you, brother!

Never has this Philadelphian been so happy to see New Jersey.

Tomorrow: Start of the NJ/NY ‘no camping’ zone. This is going to hurt.

I’ve decided that hiking is my art. It might not be good art, or fast art, but it’s expressive. I’m not out here doing athletics, or escaping. I’m dancing in the forest, one step at a time.

Rocks, rocks, rocks—that’s all you ever think about

Nero today—7.1. Because I got to visit with my fabulous friends Janet and Karen! Thank you so much, you guys! It was a great lunch and a great visit, and it was so much fun that I’m still giggling.

Logistically, here’s the deal. I’m staying in Delaware Water Gap on Monday night, because I’m out of socks, and laundry’s become a desperate need after all that rain. Tuesday I have to take a couple of hours to slip over to the Mohican, get my resupply box, and figure out how to spray my shoes. That’ll probably be a three-quarter day (we need a word for that!). Then, I hope, I’m back on track.

Saw Skillet and Kiwi and Gump and a bunch of othet hikers today! Yay! The sad news is that I lost probably my favorite piece of gear: my Houdini windshirt. I wore that thing practically every day. I slept in it at Windsor Furnace, in the driving rain. I’m probably not going to replace it, which… sad! But honestly, am I going to drop a hundred bucks on a piece of gear that won’t fit me by Christmas? (And I have a bigger one at home.) So… goodbye, beloved windshirt! I hope somebody finds you!

In other news, snakes +1! A black rat snake. Now that the rain’s abated, the amphibians have left the building.

What else? The big rock climb out of Palmerton! It was scary in places, but nowhere near as panic-inducing as the Knife’s Edge. That’s the difference between a cliff on one side versus two, and doing a scramble in dry weather with low wind. 😁

Tomorrow: A bunch of miles. Pennsylvania is starting to look a lot like New Jersey.

Rocks and rain… then THE SUN

16.5 yesterday, 17.1 today. That included Pulpit Rock, the Pinnacle, Dan’s Pulpit, the Knife’s Edge, and Bake Oven Knob. I’m happy with that! Especially since it rained a lot of the time, and my feet are blistered and raw and so freaking painful. I wish I could give them a rest, but all they can have at the moment is my last pair of clean socks, and the same wet shoes. And lunch tomorrow with my friends, after the big rock climb. (New shoes are coming at mile 1307.)

The Knife’s Edge sucked. I thought it would be less terrifying, but it was awful. I think it’s harder NOBO. And the wind was gusting up to 28 mph, and everything was slick after a week of rain. I fell off. Luckily, some nice soft rocks caught me on the way down! 😁

Salamanders +1, frogs +1. A frog thst will forever be known as Bake Oven Frog.

Trsil magic from 2018ers! Thanks for the burger and Coke, Annie and Wheat! (Or maybe it was ‘Weed’. Hrm.)

Yesterday I came to that intersection—the one where going right takes me home, and going left takes me to Maine. And you know, once I stepped left, my weird anxious mood vanished! I think it was all the home worries subtly piling on to all the trail worries.

These late nights make it hard to journal. But the miles are closer to where I want them.

Oh, and Pottermore Sorted me into Ravenclaw. Like there was ever any doubt. 😁

Wet, rain, rain, mud

Frogs +1. Salamanders +4.

That tells the whole story! 😁

I saw Kiwi today. Tiny is off the trail. Zippy, I heard, got off trail after hurting her ankle during “the tequila thing.” Don’t know if she got back on.

Aside from that, the weather’s the thing. It poured all night and rained today, but right now the sun’s trying to peek out. My stuff’s wet, except for my sleeping bag. But it’s not cold and it’s not windy, so it’s all manageable. Although hikers are fleeing to hotels in droves.

Water, water, creatures, rocks, water, 1200

You know what I never noticed about the AT in Pennsylvania? The noise! It’s noisy as hell. Trucks, highways, traffic, roads, trains… and gunfire, always gunfire. There must be a bunch of shooting ranges around here, and maybe at least one military facility, judging by the regular and frequent explosions and helicopter flyovers last night. So much noise.

PA is bringing the rain, hard. Everything’s soaked. It brought out the creatures today, though! Salamanders, +2. Turtles, +1. Current standings are as follows:

Snakes: 6Frogs: 2
Turtles: 6
Red salamanders (efts): 6

Frogs, what the hell are you doing? Also, apparently I walked right past another fat rattlesnake yesterday. Didn’t see it, though, so it doesn’t count!

I’m not seeing many other thrus at the moment. Maybe one or two a day, all strangers.

Pennsylvania is being Pennsylvania. 🙂 Rocky. Tomorrow I’ll get close to Port Clinton, then I’ll nero into “town” on Wednesday morning. I need to top off my food. All I’ll be able to get is candy. I do have some bars and stuff, and I can hit Blue Rocks if I feel like walking 3.4 miles. Logistics for this leg are nuts, and a pain in the ass. I need to do laundry and charge my battery, without losing a day off my schedule. And I have a resupply in New Jersey, so I’m trying to stretch my food. I’m thinking I’ll stay at DWG if the motel has laundry, then just do a wuick in-and-out in NJ to grab my box. And I get to see my friends Janet and Karen this weekend!

That’s life, these days. Logistics with a side of walking. 😆

I’m in a slump, hiking-wise. Short mileages. Call it the Pennsylvsnia blues. Hope things pick up in New Jersey—which should be happening in about a week.

Oh! And… 1200 miles! Only 998 to go until I’m home! 😁

Water, water, creatures, rocks, water, 1200

You know what I never noticed about the AT in Pennsylvania? The noise! It’s noisy as hell. Trucks, highways, traffic, roads, trains… and gunfire, always gunfire. There must be a bunch of shooting ranges around here, and maybe at least one military facility, judging by the regular and frequent explosions and helicopter flyovers last night. So much noise.

PA is bringing the rain, hard. Everything’s soaked. It brought out the creatures today, though! Salamanders, +2. Turtles, +1. Current standings are as follows:

Snakes: 6Frogs: 2
Turtles: 6
Red salamanders (efts): 6

Frogs, what the hell are you doing? Also, apparently I walked right past another fat rattlesnake yesterday. Didn’t see it, though, so it doesn’t count!

I’m not seeing many other thrus at the moment. Maybe one or two a day, all strangers.

Pennsylvania is being Pennsylvania. 🙂 Rocky. Tomorrow I’ll get close to Port Clinton, then I’ll nero into “town” on Wednesday morning. I need to top off my food. All I’ll be able to get is candy. I do have some bars and stuff, and I can hit Blue Rocks if I feel like walking 3.4 miles. Logistics for this leg are nuts, and a pain in the ass. I need to do laundry and charge my battery, without losing a day off my schedule. And I have a resupply in New Jersey, so I’m trying to stretch my food. I’m thinking I’ll stay at DWG if the motel has laundry, then just do a wuick in-and-out in NJ to grab my box. And I get to see my friends Janet and Karen this weekend!

That’s life, these days. Logistics with a side of walking. 😆

I’m in a slump, hiking-wise. Short mileages. Call it the Pennsylvsnia blues. Hope things pick up in New Jersey—which should be happening in about a week.

Oh! And… 1200 miles! Only 998 to go until I’m home! 😁

Buckets

It’s pouring. Literally, sheets of rain are slamming my tent. I keep saying, “Well, it can’t rain any harder.” And then BAM! It kicks it up a notch. But it’s coming straight down, so the tent should be OK. Key word being tent.

I was sitting here beating myself up for another short day (13.9 miles)… but there are camping restrictions for the next 10 miles, and that 10 miles is my stomping ground (Pulpit Rock, Pinnacle), and those 10 miles would have taken me until 9 PM. So here I am at Winsor Furnacr Shelter at 4 PM, and BOOM! The skies abruptly empty.

This rain. This rain. I fell twoce today on the slick rocks. Today my feet finally rebelled by giving me blisters that were like.., stabbity. I used my last wet wipes to shovel the muck off my feet, and the skin on top of my toes has been scraped raw by friction. Two of my toenails fell off (one yesterday, one today). But the worst is this stupid short mileage, which is killing my confidence.

OK, the rain’s down to a steady fall. Good thing, because I’m now sitting on a lake. It’s starting to recede, though. Hopefully things are OK underneath me.

I’m definitely OK, because I got 6 pounds of candy in Port Clinton. 😁👍 What a great place that is! I don’t know what all the whining on Guthooks is about. I could have done a decent short-term resupply there. Then again, I’m stoveless, so I eat mostly nuts and dried fruit and trail mixes and candy anyway.

Tomorrow: Shelter to second shelter, I think. Maybe that’ll break my slump. Also, these Darn Toughs are for the bin. Holes in both of them, and all these blisters! Yeah, I know there’s a guarantee, but I’m not carrying these disgusting stinking things past the next trash can. Besides, I wore them for 500 miles. That’s plenty to expect from a pair of socks.

What else? Salamanders, +1. And after midday tomorrow, I’ll be walking away from home instead of toward it.

Three months. Also, monsoon season.

Monsoon season in PA, apparently! Well… not so much with the wind. But it’s all rain, all the time. The trail is a muddy, rocky nightmare of boot-sucking swamp. I can’t go fast at all because of the ankle-busters hiding in the black water. Pennsylvania just feels slow and relentless. I don’t recall having this much trouble with it before… but last time, I was almost done. This time, I’m looking at another 1000 miles, and it’s all rock scrambles in the rain and mud. Pulpit Rock in the rain and mud. Lehigh Gap in the rain and mud. Knifes Edge in the rain and mud. OK, I did Knifes Edge in the rain last time, too. 😁☔️

The rain’s bringing more critters! Salamanders, +2. And frogs, +1! About time, you lazy bastards.

After tonight’s torrential rain, into Port Clinton tomorrow, in the rain, to buy candy and get out. Then rain in the afternoon and… oh, hell. It’s just rain forever, according to the forecast. I should have brought SCUBA gear.

Duncannon

Oy. Every day out here is like… a week long. Except the ones that only last a minute.

(Thank you SO MUCH to sadsack for helping me out with the Duncannon thing! I owe you six bucks!!)

The trains in Boiling Springs weren’t too bad, although they did wake me up when they howled through. It rained all night, I packed up in the dark and the rain, and it rained most of the day, and I set up in a buggy spot of flat jungle near a creek.

Then this morning I rushed into Duncannon with half my stuff soaking wet and dangling off my pack like rags, got breakfast at the tiny tiny diner, somehow didn’t tip them (or they didn’t include the tip on the charge), ran over to the Doyle, picked up my resupply box (thanks, brother John!), crammed it all into my pack, realized I lost my charging cable, tore apart my pack twice, ran over to Goodies to look, and eventually found it under a table at the Doyle.

My pack is stupid heavy, the wind was blowing me over, and I stopped about 5 miles out of town just to organize my resupply, get things together after the crazy rain, and get some order into my mileage for the next two weeks, which are also going to be a little chaotic because of a couple of visits from home (which I’m greatly looking forward to!!).

If I can keep the phone charged and snag a meal here and there, I’m going to try to press on all the way to the Delaware Water Gap without a hotel stay. We’ll see. That’s fluid (and mostly dependent on the damn electronics). I don’t want to fall behind my schedule. It makes me anxious!

And that’s it! 18.1 yesterday, 12 today.