Day 221: Finally… PENNSYLVANIA

Delaware Water Gap [mile 1915; SOBO 896.6]

I’m in Pennsylvania! I’m in Pennsylvania! I’ve never been so excited to be in Pennsylvania!

It’s a little deceptive, granted. If this were a movie, I’d get closer and closer and closer, until I arrived at my house in triumph! In triumph!

But this isn’t a movie, and the shape of it is this: I approach the orbit of my house for about a week, then I’m within about an hour for a day or so, then (so sad) I start drifting away. I drift toward Harrisburg and beyond, and finally to the Maryland border.

But after that… the end!

So I woke up early at the MOC and had to wait around for breakfast. My feet were itching to get walking; the waiting is tough. But breakfast was worth it, and it was nice to spend a last bit of time with the orienteering workshop students I met at dinner last night. What a great bunch of people. Plus, they’re all handy with maps! 🙂

Then… the walking! It was another day on the ridgeline, bright and sunny and cool. The biggest problem today was wind. It kept blowing my hat off. And it was one of those too hot/too cold days. Up on the ridge, too cold, pull on the jacket. Ten feet lower, too hot, take off the jacket. Jacket on, jacket off.

I eventually hit Sunfish Pond, which was weird because I hiked there before—back in 2004 when I was first getting serious about the AT. There were rock sculptures; that was odd, having now seen the ones in Vermont.

At one point the trail turned to a slate sidewalk, and I had a strange feeling, what I call ‘When-I-get-to-the-Whites-itis.’ I’ll think, I wonder if the Whites will be like this, and I’ll get that little burst of fear. And a split second later, I realize I’ve already done the Whites. I’ve already done most of the trail.

Eventually the trail turned downhill. Somehow I lost track of where I was. I thought there was a problem with the book for a while. My feet were starting to throb—break-in day for shoe pair number six. I wanted to get there, get done!

There were dozens of dayhikers out today (at the Water Gap parking lot there must have been forty cars). I asked one of them how far we were from the parking area, and he said two or three miles. WHAT? I thought I was under a mile. I found myself hoping those were dayhiker miles (so, like, a half mile) versus thru-hiker miles (so, like, six miles). It turned out it was almost exactly two.

And there I was. At the choked parking lot at the Delaware Water Gap, just the width of the Delaware between me and Pennsylvania.

I crossed the bridge while the wind tried to snatch my hat and beat me to death with it. The river seemed too small down there, compared with the mammoth it becomes down around Philly.

And here I am—possibly the last indoor night until home. But we’ll see about that. There are still a few weeks to go.











Categories: Appalachian Trail | Tags: | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Day 221: Finally… PENNSYLVANIA

  1. Enjoy your night indoors!! Question for you, did you sign up for the premium WordPress? If so is it worth it? I’ve been blog shopping lately and can’t decide what to do.

    • Nope! This is the free one!

      • Cool! Are you close to using up your storage? I figured your pictures would eat up a lot of space.

      • According to the dashboard I’ve used only 14% of my storage. I don’t recall getting any extra storage. Maybe it’s because the pics are from the phone? I’m not sure.

      • I think it was just setting it up that used the memory up. I just put up another post with 10 pics and the percentage didn’t move. Glad I asked you before I went and spent money for no reason. 🙂

      • There you go! Hot dog money for the trail!

  2. You go girl! Mary and I are stretching tonight. Blood Mountain tomorrow. We’ve decided to hike until Christmas. Our thru hike has begun. So far, compared to what we’ve hiked, GA is a peachy state. We ‘re pulling for you. Sisu and Hey Man!

    • Looks like you’re having great weather! Good luck to both of you!

      Careful on the far side of Blood Mountain!

      • Taking nothing for granted. Mary is sending home about six lbs tomorrow at Neel. She’s a great companion. We only regret that you can’t be with us. But who the hell would do this again, right.

      • LOL! Not me! (Although I think I could do it in six months now.)

        I’m glad she’s sending some weight home. It’s amazing how quickly the trail changes the standards of what you think you need!

      • Indeed. Mary thanks you profoundly for your help. We’re talking tent to tent. She has zip for a signal unfortunately. Mary is going to make it because she’s just as stubborn as you! I know that’s hard to believe. She’s a trooper.

      • So are you! 🙂

        We’re all a little crazy stubborn. It’s a looooooong trail.

      • Our next test is big rain which is on the sched for Friday. Glad we brought our swim suits 🙂

      • Don’t float away!

  3. welcome to PA! Looks like its going warm up for Halloween. 66 degrees around here.

  4. Marge

    You got a friend (or thousands) in Pennsylvania!

    • You know, I keep seeing PA plates and thinking, ‘Look! Another traveler!’ Then I remember I’m in PA. LOL.

  5. Jayne Smith

    Thank you so much for your wonderful posts. Keep ’em coming! I am living the AT through you, whilst ironing shirts, getting teenagers out of bed, and generally surviving mundainism (not sure that is even a word, but if not, should be). Go Karma, one foot in front of the other… x

    Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2013 23:08:35 +0000 To:

  6. EarthTone

    I would love to give you a personal tour of the AT Museum if I knew when you would be getting to SOBO Mile Marker 1088.6. If you are interested, shoot me an email.
    New AT Museum Manager (starting 1 Nov)

    • Oooh! I’d love that, if the timing works out! When I get closer, if it looks like I have the time, I’m going to email you. Thank you so much for the offer!

  7. shari wb

    Wait – perhaps the most exciting bridge and NO bridge pic??????????????????

    Or did I miss it!

    I’m just as excited reading how close you are!!!

  8. Donna

    “There’s no place like home”. Just click those rudy slippers/hiking boots together, you’ll be back in no time!

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