Stealthing, sort of. I have no idea where. Let’s call it mile 1938.4 [SOBO 920]
I say I’m sort of stealthing, but I’m not really stealthing because dispersed camping is permitted here! I totally forgot that. In Pennsylvania it’s legal to camp along the trail for a night as long as your entry point is different from your exit point. And there are various other reasonable rules along the way. Where I am now, you have to camp within fifty feet of the trail. I like that! It means I won’t lose the trail through my overly clever sneaking around!
Of course, the trail here is ON state game lands. You stick close to the trail so you don’t get shot. I’m not really too nervous about getting shot, knock wood. Nobody wants to shoot a hiker (well, maybe they want to, but they won’t); the paperwork’s just too much of a hassle.
The morning’s are a little easier since I’ve given myself permission to start later (ie, in the cold, but not an hour before daylight). This morning I was packing my tent up at 7:00 and I needed my headlamp. Holy crap, right? I can’t wait for the weekend, when standard time starts again. I’ll be back to hiking at 6:00 and the dawn will just be brightening the trail.
I actually started hiking at 7:24 today. Decadent! I was only a couple of miles from a road crossing; the road led a mile to a little town called Wind Gap. I’d decided to schlep down there—grab breakfast, coffee, water, a couple of days of food. Good call on the water; I didn’t pass a single good water source today. Of course, carrying eight freaking pounds of water is killing me. But I digress!
Wind Gap was a cute little town! For my homies, it reminded me of Glenside: sprawling and near some big roads. I didn’t go all the way into town; I got what I needed at a Turkey Hill minimart. The breakfast sandwich was like a bacon, egg, and cheese salt lick.
Then I schlepped back up the hill a mile (did I mention the eight freaking pounds of water?). I watched a cop on the highway give somebody a ticket. All the cars were slowing down because of the flashing blue lights, so it took some time to get across. Then boom! Uphill.
Towns are generally in gaps and notches. There’s a climb down into them, then a climb up out of them. This one wasn’t bad. I did have to stop hree or four times because of the pack weight, and also to peel off various layers of clothing.
The day was blue and breezy and in the fifties—par for the course lately. I’ve been so blessed with weather. It’s cold in the mornings (30ish), but honestly, I could have run into snow by now.
The trail never did match yesterday’s superhighway. Too rocky. I’m not going to call them misery rocks anymore; I’m going to call them toybox rocks. I was email chatting with Blackbird today and said the terrain here alternates between a dirt sidewalk and walking barefoot across a demented child’s toyroom buried in leaves. It’s like you’re stepping on Tonka trucks and Barbies and all manner of oddly sharp things that your feet just roll painfully off of.
Toybox rocks sounds a lot more fun than misery rocks. Jedi mind trick!
I didn’t make the progress today that I made yesterday. Those rocks make for slow going.
Toward the end of the day I was sitting on a log and a NOBO passed me! Thistle, her trail name was. She started March 3 with Beerdra, who I know. Beerdra’s finished. Thistle got off trail in Palmerton two months ago, but when she was home she couldn’t get the trail out of her head so she came back to finish at least up to New York. That’s what happens if you have to get off the trail: it haunts you. Inchworm told me that; not the missing Inchworm, but the other one, the one on TJ who I met at Unicoi Gap.
Anyway, there’s still a little trail life around. You still meet somebody once in a while, like Thistle. It’s spread thin, but Trail 2013 ain’t dead yet. Not quite. Not while I’m still out here, anyway. 🙂
It was almost 4:00 when I stopped. I was going to push on until 5:00, but I couldn’t for the life of me think of a reason why, not when there was this long stretch of flat, relatively unrocky ground just begging me to set up my tent. Who knows what the ground’s going to look like in a mile? I’ll let you know tomorrow.
Tomorrow: Superfund trailhead! AT landmark!