Carlisle, PA to Palmerton, PA

Day 96: A short 12 miles out of Carlisle. We did some more field walking, but thankfully they took us along the treeline. We covered the flat ground quickly. During our afternoon break J-Rex appeared! She hiked with us the last two miles to camp, which was the only hill we had to climb today. Into camp early and loving it!

Day 97: Last nights camp spot was awesome! We woke to a pleasantly cool morning. We had a few ups and downs before hitting a rocky section marked in the guidebook, but it really wasn’t bad. Just over 11 miles and we were in Duncannon, VA around 1PM. We went to the Doyle for lunch and a beer. The place was a bit of a dive but very hiker friendly. Afterwards we got some soda and ice cream, then caught a free shuttle to the grocery store to resupply. It was so hot out, even at 5PM! We went back to the Doyle to repackage our supplies then hit the trail. We hiked 4.3 miles to the next shelter over some rocky terrain. We decided to stay in the shelter, because we got into camp around 8 PM. The shelter is pretty dirty, lots of trash and there are some hornets building a nest.

Day 98: What a hot and muggy day! Last night a tree fell and woke us all up. We quickly checked that it was not the one holding our food bags and went back to sleep. It was hot all night! We had lunch at Table Rock, which had nice views. As the day wore on, the heat really got to me. It was rocky in sections, but nothing we haven’t seen hiking in ME. We got down into a valley with the first water source all day. There was a nice campsite there, so we decided to stop for the night. Just over 13 miles. We got a fire going and drank some ice-cold water! I can hear a thunderstorm coming in, maybe it will cool things off!

Day 99: We woke to a cooler morning, as the thunderstorm did come through last night. The hiking was pretty easy all day and the cooler air was nice. We walked through an old coal mining town along an old railroad bed. We got water at a spring but it looked nasty. Further down the trail we saw some big vaults that actually had limestone in them to purify the water. From the settlement, the water had a pH of 4 and traces of metal! We decided to dump our water out and get some below the vaults. As we approached camp rain threatened, but nothing happened. Just over 16 miles but we still got to camp early. My feet hurt for the last 1.5 miles or so. Rinsed off in the creek and have had lots of time to read.

Day 100: Wow, I can’t believe it has been 100 days out here! We are now less than 1000 miles to Katahdin! We saw a HUGE black snake in the trail today. Its head was up as it slithered away. The trail was pretty grown in and not much maintenance has been done. We hiked pretty quickly to the 501 shelter, which is an enclosed building with bunks! We claimed ours and then hitched a ride into Pine Grove to resupply. We got a hitch fairly quickly! Afterwards, we hit a pub for dinner and the food was wonderful! We walked to Route 501 to try to get a hitch and there was a man out doing yard work. He took pity on us after a few failed attempts hitching and drove us back to the trail head! Chilling in the shelter as the rain starts coming down.

Day 101: This morning we ran into Rudy and Daddy Long Legs on the way to the trail. YWAM was there doing trail magic. We saw another black snake in the trail again, but not nearly as big. The trail was a little rocky today but not bad. There was very little elevation change. Got to camp pretty early after 15.1 miles.

Day 102: We hiked 9 miles into Hamburg, PA today. There was a super steep downhill right before we got to town. Once there, we met up with J-Rex, Voodoo and Chip, and caught a shuttle to Cabellas. It was the largest Cabellas and they had displays everywhere with tons of animals. After getting fuel, we went to Five Guys for burgers and fries. Then we walked to Walmart to resupply, followed by Dunkin’ Donuts to charge our stuff. Four of us ended up getting a dozen donuts for dinner! We got a shuttle back to the trail and hiked out-of-town around 6PM. We got into the shelter after dark and had to set up our tent and hang our bear bags. Our bear line started to tear! A very hot night.

Day 103: We slept in after the late night. Getting the bear line down was a bit of a challenge. I ended up tying a stick to the end of the line above the tear and leaned back until I was lying on the ground. I did this once more and Navigator grabbed the stick (from PCT hang). The clove hitch was so tight that we decided to cut the line above it since it was trash anyways. We realized the mistake as soon as she cut it! We had no way to lower the bags without letting go of the line! Navigator grabbed her pack cover and we used it to catch the bags as they fell. After all that we decided to make some coffee with breakfast and got a late start out of camp. We climbed to pulpit rock, which had an astronomical park with huge telescopes! Too cool! Next we came to the Pinnacle, which had great views. We saw a female rattler and there was a cave in the rocks! We met Twiggs, who climbed down into the cave. After we left the Pinnacle, there was a short ways further to get out of the rocks and onto an old road. We got to the Eckville Shelter late afternoon. We ate lunch and took a cold shower from the solar shower. It still felt nice since it was such a hot day and we hadn’t showered in a week! Grudgingly, we pushed on and I sped up the next hill! I didn’t want to have to hike in the dark again. We went over many rocks before reaching the Allentown Shelter just before dark. We cooked dinner and set up in the shelter. We got our bear hags up just as it started raining. We got hit with a huge thunderstorm as we got ready for bed. It was nice falling asleep to the rain and feeling the cooler air.

Day 104: There were a lot of rocky sections today. We went over the Knife Edge, which was sketchy in spots, but thankfully we didn’t see any snakes! We got water trail magic just before Bake Oven Knob. We got rained on for the last few miles before we reached the shelter. It was unfortunate, because we passed through fields full of blueberries (we still stopped to eat a few). We decided to stay in the shelter to dry off. It was dirty in there!

Day 105: Near-O: We hiked one trail mile into Palmerton, PA and stayed at the Jailhouse Hostel. It was in the basement of the towns Borough Hall. We had good and cheap food in town and resupplied. We were silly with J-Rex and Voodoo… we put on fake tattoos and painted our nails! A fun near-o.


Harper’s Ferry, WV to Carlisle, PA

Day  87: We had another waffle breakfast at the Teahorse Hostel and then walked back to the trail. The trail took us through a very historic part of Harper’s Ferry, which was neat and pretty. Afterwards we crossed into Maryland! We walked along a bike path for a few miles and saw a bunch of turtles in a green-covered boggy area. We climbed to some cliffs where we could look back to Harper’s Ferry. Further on, we stopped for a break at Gathland State Park, which had an empty tomb. We did about 16 miles and ended up sleeping in the shelter.

Day 88: We got up a little late to a nice morning. We took our first break at the Washington Monument, which also had nice views. It was very hot on the rocks. We hiked to a stream and took extra water to the shelter. Sleeping in the shelter again because the tenting sites are bad.

Day 89: Today was a great day! We crossed the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania and are now officially out of the south! The day started off with rocky terrain and a view from High Rocks, which you can hang glide off of. Right after lunch we stopped at Pan Mar State Park in MD and it was hoppin’! There was a concession with ice cream and soda. There was a high school reunion, a wedding and a band was playing while people were dancing. There was a bunch of different styles. Very neat! Apparently they have a band playing there every Sunday and people come to dance. We stayed there a while and then stopped at the border to do some Civil War reenactments with bayonets we made from sticks and duct tape. After it was a quick hike to the shelter. In early enough to read!

Day 90: A short 13.6 miles today. Only on big climb in the morning and we crushed it! A view at the top, where I sang “Penn-syl-vania, home of so many rocks!” to the Lion King “Circle of Life”. J-Rex sang along. We made up other songs as we hiked along throughout the day. There were a few rocky sections but they did not last long. We got to Caledona State Park around 3PM and Big Sexy joined our camping group. We got a site and then Torch, a 2011 thru-hiker, came to give us trail magic! He drove us to Walmart to resupply. He also brought us soda, beer, Gatorade, cookies, chips, fruit and these pepperoni things. We grabbed Subway and talked with Torch at our picnic table while eating. He left us with a lot of food. After he left, we showered up and hung our bear bags. Is it a coincidence that all four of us are New Englanders?

Day 91: We’ve officially made it halfway! We started off the day with a few climbs but the terrain leveled out afterwards and was very easy. The first shelter we got to was so well maintained; there were even flower pots! Staying 2 miles closer to Katahdin than Springer tonight.

Day 92: A short 3 miles to the AT museum and it was on to the Half Gallon Challenge (eat half a gallon of ice cream in under and hour). I couldn’t do it! I ate too slow and got so full. I almost finished, but to prevent vomit, I stopped. We stayed and digested for about an hour, then hiked another mile to a beach! We stopped to swim and it felt so great. A hot and humid day. Eventually, we got out and hit the snack bar for a cheeseburger and fries. When we finished eating we were so hot that we jumped back in! Eventually we got out and packed up to hike a quick 6 miles to the shelter. It had bunks so we stayed in it. Hanging bear bags was a funny challenge tonight, but we finally prevailed! A bit of reading before sleep.

Day 93: Today was a pretty short day. We had a little tough terrain to get through, including two rock mazes, before reaching the cornfields. We got into Boiling Springs for a late lunch at the Boiling Springs Tavern. Everyone was super friendly and the food was great! The day was so humid that it was hard leaving the air conditioning. We got back on the trail for a short 2 miles to the parking lot we were to meet Andrew at. It turned out that he got delayed due to an accident and wouldn’t be there for 2 hours. We could  hear thunder moving in. We ended up getting a ride to our hotel from J-Rex’s friend! Just in time before rain, too.

Day 94-95: Zero Days 🙂 🙂