I really think Pennsylvania gets a bad rap. It is known for its rocks… but there are other states with rocks, too! For the most part, Pennsylvania has been flat, with few climbs. It has only been the Northern part of the state where the rocks have taken over the terrain.
When I left the hostel, I knew it would take me one day to reach Port Clinton. In 2016, I stayed in a park with a pavilion and heard road noises and train whistles all night. I didn’t want to repeat that! There isn’t much to Port Clinton. I think there is a tavern, but no real restaurants. I opted to hike on through it.
I had a long climb out, and stealth camped that night. I didn’t care for the place, but it had been a long day and I was tired. It was just passed a spring, so I didn’t have to carry water very far.
That night, I heard road noises, and what must have been a fireworks display from port Clinton. I didn’t sleep well. I kept hearing an animal scurrying around.
I didn’t feel well the next day, and I also felt heavy and depressed. There was no reason in particular that I should feel this way, but I am noticing that when I stealth camp a lot, it happens. Stealth camping also puts me in a position on the trail that I don’t see many people at all!
I fell in with a lady who was career military. She was just out for the weekend. Her twin daughters had hiked the trail the previous year. We were both interested in health issues and natural cures. We hiked together for about an hour and a half! The time passed quickly while hiking with her. We were so engrossed in conversation that we got off onto a side trail and had to backtrack. She was dealing with some blisters and we parted ways. I felt much more upbeat after hiking with her.
Later, I saw a lady eating lunch at a view. It just happened to be a Ridge Runner who reads my blog! I think her name was Valerie? (Please correct me if I am wrong!) She is a middle school Band Director, and I really enjoyed talking to her! She convinced me to go to the next shelter, as the water source was easier to get to, but she also cautioned me that there was a guy in jeans hanging out there, and that she didn’t know what his story was. (Real hikers don’t wear jeans to hike in.) She advised me not to stay there if he was still hanging out there. He was, indeed, and no one else was there. This was a long day for me. I didn’t want to go much further. I got 3 liters of water at the spring. There were two entrances to the spring. When I got to the spring, Jeans guy was there! I heard the music to the movie, “Psycho” playing in my head. I trucked ’em out of there as soon as I had my water. I found a stealth site about 1/2 mile down.
I slept pretty well and was hiking by 6:30 the next morning. I went through ‘The Knife’s Edge” pictured above. That is the trail! I found myself singing the hymn, “It is Well with my Soul,” and I felt it! I have felt so much less stress and more peace this time around. Thank you all for your prayers! I feel them!
I came upon Trail Magic two times on this day! Both were cold drinks and fruit. Thank you, Trail Angels! These acts of kindness mean so much, and can really boost morale!
The stealth site I had chosen was past the shelter. There were no good tent sites at the shelter. For the first time since being on the trail, I heard crickets! They were so loud (along with road noises) that I had to wear ear plugs!
I knew I would be climbing out of Lehigh Gap to go across the ‘Superfund’ site. It is a dangerous climb. Last time I cried! I called Bud in the middle of the climb and asked him to pray for my safety!
Though I was dreading this climb, I was not overly anxious. I knew there wouldn’t be a water source all day until I reached the next shelter, it I didn’t want to carry a lot of water due to the climb ahead of me. It is literally rock climbing.
I went through it with flying colors and didn’t have much fear at all! Thank you, Jesus. The Superfund site beyond the climb is a former site of zinc smelting. It is thriving, and was almost jungle-like.
I was parched when I reached the shelter. Unfortunately, the water source was half a mile downhill. I met a young lady at the shelter who had a hurt foot, and offered to bring her some water back. I think it might be a stress fracture, based on those I’ve seen with one. It’s apparently not an uncommon injury for thru hikers.
The tenting area was up the way from the shelter. When I got there, I saw a spotted fawn prancing around in the ferns, and no mother around. I said more than a few prayers for that little fawn!
Leroy Smith Shelter
I had made a reservation for a motel, but decided to make a long hike and arrive at a church Hostel the night before. About half a mile from the town, I fell going downhill, and the side of my knee hit a root knot. It hurt badly. My first thought was that I had just had a ‘hike-ending’ fall. I had pain above and below my knee, going into my thigh and down to my ankle. I limped to a boulder to sit on, and called Bud. He prayed for me over the phone, and it felt better after that. I hiked slowly a half mile to the church Hostel.
The bunks in the hostel are just plywood boards covered in carpet. It was not air conditioned. The weather has been much cooler, so I set up my tent. I hadn’t eaten since 11:00, and I was out of snacks. I was dehydrated and starving. I guzzled a Coke while I waited 20-30 minutes for my Stromboli to be ready. I purchased a second coke to take out with the Stromboli. I ate the whole thing, and it was huge!
I expected to be really sore this morning, and I’m amazed at how little pain I feel in my leg! There is a knot and a little swelling, but I am not in great pain! I am thanking God that this injury was not worse!
I am biding my time here until I can check into my hotel room!
Delaware Water Gap, PA