Homer's Travels: Appalachian Trail: Port Clinton, PA To Delaware Water Gap, PA

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Appalachian Trail: Port Clinton, PA To Delaware Water Gap, PA

🐻 x 6
UPDATED 11-21-2020

"Pennsylvania is trying to kill us."
  That is what one thru-hiker wrote in a shelter log.  That sentiment is shared by a lot of hikers, myself included.  The rocks, heat, humidity, rain, lack of water sources, and insects all conspire to make Rocksylvania the place where many thru-hikers reconsider why they were hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT).

Rock, rocks, and more rocks.
Day 116 - The day before I left I ran into Choo Choo, another thru-hiker I'd met a few times along trail.  She'd been hiking with Red Bush and she was a bit down because he had been injured and had gone home.  We decided to coordinate our stops for the next few days.

This day gave us Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle.  Near Pulpit Rock was an amateur astronomy park.  I spoke with a few of the members doing maintenance.  They shared cold bottles of water.  One of them who does trail maintenance warned me about the next section I would be crossing tomorrow.

The stop of the day was Eckville Shelter.  This run down shelter has a caretaker and sports a solar shower.  By solar I mean cold.  I chose not to partake.

A pair of buzzards sitting on Balance Rock.
Day 117 - This day was a long day as were all days in Pennsylvania.  As promised the trail was rocky with interspersed boulder hops.

I prefer the boulder hops.  The little rocks on the trail are all evil ankle turners and trippers.  Having said this, the boulder hops also have the most risk of real damage if you fall. They also slow you down as you consider every step carefully. This day had the Knife Edge, Bear Rocks, and the crazy decent from Bake Oven Knob.

I stopped for water at a closed restaurant which had a spigot.  The water was disgusting and I filled two bottles before I noticed the smell and taste.  Fortunately at the base of Bake Oven Knob some trail angel had left bottles of water.  I dumped the foul tasting water and refilled my bottles and dropped a chlorine tablet to kill any possible contamination in the bottles.

The day ended with a stay in Bake Oven Knob shelter (I keep wanting to say easy bake oven).

An AT marker.
Day 118 - After a long and grueling day this was was going to be shorter.  I figured it wouldn't be to bad then I began climbing out of Lehigh Gap.

The climb was a thousand feet over just under a mile.  The top third or so was a rather technical rock hop.  I got to this point after already hiking eight miles and it was during the heat of the day.

I was passed by Ruckus, Salamander, Lunchbox, and Jaywalk as I huffed, puffed, and wheezed my way up.  I caught up with Salamander and Ruckus as they sat on a long in the shade.  I joined them and ate a snack.

I reached Little Gap road and waited for Choo Choo before calling the Filbert B&B. The house was pre-civil war and beautifully decorated.

We arrived rather late for me so I had time for a shower and a quick meal before going to bed.

The red and black bird wonders if this is really a trail.
Day 119 - Despite wanting to get back in trail by 7:00am we didn't get going until 8:00am.  Neither Choo Choo nor I were very enthusiastic about hiking.  The terrific breakfast didn't give me the energy that I expected.

I was dragging early on.  At the one third point of the day I came across the perfect flat Rock and took a thirty minute nap.  At the half way point I reached a Gap where I laid down on a barrier for fifteen minutes.  At the Leroy A. Smith shelter I took another thirty minute nap.  Rocksylvania was wearing me down and I found each day to be a little bit harder than the day before.

I ended the day at the Gateway motel outside of Wind Gap, PA.  The place was a dump and overpriced but the AC worked, the shower was hot, and the toilet flushed.  It was also within view of the AT.  It was definitely not the Filbert B&B.

Less than nine hundred miles and going down each day.
Days 120 & 121 - The last day in Pennsylvania was another day of rocks.  The state threw everything at me. The last boulder hopping at Wolf Rock.  Miles of rocky trails.  And as I neared Delaware Water Gap it poured rain.

As I was descending the last hill into town I slipped on a wet rock and came down hard on my left upper arm.  I'm sporting a nasty bruise but no other damage.  I was lucky.  The rock I hit looked like a dull knife's edge.

I walked to a hostel in the pouring rain but it was full so I walked to a hotel and got a room.  Choo choo ended up in the hotel too.  I did laundry and had a restless sleep.

On my second day in Delaware Water Gap, and the last day of Pennsylvania, I took a Lyft to Walmart to resupply.

The next five days in and out of New Jersey are going to be tough.  The rocks will diminish with time and distance but I have some long days planned.

Pictures can be found in my 2019 Appalachian Trail Google Photos album.

Total Distance: 1,295.4 Miles (2,084.7 km)
Section Distance: 81.8 Miles (131.6 km)
Section Elevation Up: 10,453 ft (3,186 m)
Section Elevation Down: 10,920 ft (3,328 m)

Note: This post is late because the hotel WiFi was down and my cell reception was spotty at best.

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