Saturday, June 23, 2012

Duncannon, PA to Palmerton, PA

Mile 1250
We are almost out of Pennsylvania! These northern states are going to go by fast.  The trail in PA is known for rocks, rocks, and more rocks. I will admit, the trail is definitely more rocky than normal. But there is SO MUCH hype for how awful the rocks are in PA that we were pleasantly surprised it's not that bad.  There are large patches of boulders, but mostly it's normal trail. Normal, flat, boring trail.  The parts that are rocky slow you down a lot so we are having a harder time getting in bigger mileage days. 
Knife's Edge, but I keep forgetting the name so I've been calling it Shark's Fin.
I have been having this mental back and forth all week.  I think to myself "Wow- you've gone 1200 miles! That's a lot! You're almost done!" and then I think "No, no you're not. You still have 900 to go. You are not almost done and you still have 9 weeks." Sometimes I catch myself thinking too much about what we're going to do when we finish or what it will be like to get to Katahdin and I have to remind myself to focus on short term goals.  #1 short term goal is always getting to our destination for the day. #2 short term goal is usually the next town or maybe a big landmark like a state line.  #3 short term goal is the next fun thing we have, like my parents coming.  This breaks the trail up into much more (mentally) manageable sections.

We (but mostly me) were getting tired and grumpy in the past few days so we decided to take a zero day (gasp!) in Palmerton, PA. It is also getting super hot and we are getting sluggish and need a break. I cannot believe how bad we smell!  Our clothes bags are awful. Laundry and a shower was pretty necessary at this point.  Also, we (with the help of my dad) made some phone calls to see if we could get a ride to church on Sunday.  If we are going to be in town on a weekend, we like to call the Bishop of the local congregation to see if there are any ward members who would be able to take us in Saturday night and give us a ride to church the next morning.  I arranged with someone to be picked up today, so we are looking forward to being able to go to church tomorrow.

Palmerton is lovely.  Friday night we stayed in a hostel that's in the basement of an old jailhouse.  It's exactly what you would expect- old, kind of dingy, kind of dirty, but free and awesome. It's right across the street from a good diner, the laundromat, and the library, so perfect for hikers. We walked in and who was there but Lady Forward! She and I hiked together before Beau came on and got along splendidly.  The first couple weeks of Beau's hike, we were doing less miles to get him in shape and so I got behind a lot of the people I had been with.  I hadn't seen her since Beau's first day on the trail! Beau can tell you about all the "squealing" and hugging that went on when we saw each other.  Unfortunately she had been there most of the day and was heading out first thing in the morning, so we will be behind her once again.  Hopefully we will catch up soon and be able to hike together again.

I desperately wanted to wash everything we had, so I affixed this blanket into a toga to go to dinner and run some errands. The grocery store gives thru hikers a free apple or orange with every purchase.

You may be wondering why I am carrying a Christmas fleece blanket in the first place.  After Harper's Ferry, we wanted to swap out our heavy warm sleeping bags for something a little lighter.  We started using fleece liners as sleeping bags. These turned out to be not enough coverage and we were too cold at night, so I had my parents bring two fleece blankets that we could carry to supplement the fleece liners.  This combination is perfect and is lighter, less bulky, and certainly cheaper than buying a 30 or 40 degree bag.

Lastly.... do we have any entomologists in the house? What on earth kind of caterpillar is this- something from a Dr. Seuss book?


  1. Your toga made me laugh so hard. I would have stopped to take a picture with you I think if I was next to you in the diner. Keep your chin up! You guys are rockin it. Love seeing your progress on here.

  2. Not advice, as I will be asking for yours later: When I make miles or distance a higher priority, I get lost in a great way from enjoying my journey.

    Like the writings and the pictures!

    The blanket is so dorky it really rocks on you!