Day 107 – June 22 – 16.7 miles – George Outerbridge Shelter to Learoy Smith Shelter
We wanted to get on trail early. There was a distance of 16.7 miles between our water sources and it was supposed to be another hot day. Hiking earlier and ending earlier should help us avoid hiking in the heat of the late afternoon.
We were on trail by 6:15. After a short descent from the shelter, we came out of the woods close to the Lehigh River. The view that we encountered was a little surreal. It looked like several images were superimposed over each other.
The trail descended into the fog and brought us across a bridge.
After we crossed the river, we began to climb up Lehigh Gap. Lehigh Gap was know as the steepest part of the trail in Pennsylvania, climbing 939 feet in a mile. We were told that there was even a few spots where we would have to use our hands. We had been looking forward to it for a few days and we were not disappointed.
The parts where we had to use our hands were a lot of fun. It was a pleasant surprise to hear Flashfire say that those were her favorite parts as well. I told her if she liked that she will love the Whites in New Hampshire.
The view from the top was amazing. The fog that we had walked through earlier was funneling through the gap between two mountains. Even though we were only at 1400 feet, being above the clouds made us feel like we were much higher.
As we were up there enjoying the view, several powered paragliders flew by at about eye level. Adding to the feeling that we were much higher than we actually were.
After the rocky climb, the trail brought us through a nice grassland area. There were a lot of blueberry bushes but we didn’t touch them. The reason that there was such a long gap between water sources was because the area we were now walking in was a reclaimed superfund site. We figured if the water wasn’t safe to drink, neither were the blueberry’s.
After walking in the grassy area for a few minutes, the Tramily decided to take a break in an area with low cut grass. It was nice just to sit there and watch the clouds go by.
The grassy section went on for several miles. The trail consisted of nice, soft dirt. Our feet were in heaven.
Then the rocks returned. The ones in the picture below are not a good representation of how it looked, but it was the only picture taken after we returned to the rocky section. The trail was filled with small, pointy rocks that made every step painful.
I am not adverse to hiking on rocks. Stoat and I had grown up hiking in the Adirondacks, rocky sections of southern New York, northern New Jersey, as well as parts of New England. These rocks were different. These rocks were filled with malice.
Everyone was glad when we called it a day at the Leroy A Smith shelter. Also at the shelter were Cash and Songbird, Rockstar, and a girl named Tea Leaves. Even though everyones feet hurt we were looking forward to tomorrow. Tomorrow would be our last day in Pennsylvania.
Journal excerpt 6/22/17
“We had an hour or two of ridgeline walking w/ views the entire time. Then came the rocks, Lots of smaller ones which really gave the feet a beating. Feet were hurting pretty badlt by the end of the day. 1 more day in PA!”