AT – PA Smith Gap to Wind Gap ~8 miles

Day 6: June 25, 2015 My Dad’s Birthday

We hiked this section starting at Wind Gap and hiking south to Smith Gap.  There were more thunderstorms in the forecast, so we agreed to another night in Stempa’s garage.

I thought about my Dad today as I hiked backwards to Smith Gap.  He has Alzheimer’s and his mind is not what it used to be.  My moving south, instead of north, confused me at times and I wondered if my Dad could relate.  We ran into hikers that had passed us yesterday.  My Dad runs into thoughts daily that have passed him over the years.  Is it now, or is it then?  Have the years passed since meeting you, or am I meeting you for the first time?  I hate what is happening to my Dad.  I hate what is happening to my Mom as she experiences my Dad’s erratic behavior.  I hate that I cannot help my sister and brother who are taking on the brunt of the responsibility for making decisions for my Mom and Dad out there in Hoosierland.  I hope someone reminds my Dad that it is his birthday as I hike down this trail backwards.


The first climb going south out of Wind Gap is a climb, but not one that deserves much attention.  Here are a few things that stuck like glue in my memory of our hike from North to South.

CanDo at Hahn's Lookout

CanDo at Hahn’s Lookout

1) There was a negative guy wearing snake guards who I never met but I knew him intimately through the stories of other hikers.  My eyes scanned the trail and shelters for this guy all day long…never ran into him!  My takeaway…Be positive, Be polite, Be helpful if possible, and for God’s sake, smile at people on the trail…they are spreading stories about you the minute they run into another hiker!

No sign of Snake Guard Guy.

No sign of Snake Guard Guy.

2) A thru-hiker at the shelter carried avocados with him.  He put a whole avocado on a  bagel, making an impossibly huge, awkward sandwich that I thought he would never be able to fit in his mouth…um, yeah, I was wrong!  As impressive as that was though, it was his care in packing out the pitts that stole my heart. ❤ ❤  🙂  🙂  Well, that, and when his friend got to the shelter, he insisted on the friend relaxing while he went the half mile down to the third spring (the only one with water) to refill all of their water bottles.  My takeaway…Good friends are hard to find and once you have them make sure to continue to nurture that relationship.

Breaktime at Leroy Smith Shelter with the Bagel & Avocado eating thru hiker. :)

Breaktime at Leroy Smith Shelter with the Bagel & Avocado eating thru hiker. 🙂

3) There was a trailer park across the road from the Wind Gap parking area, and Stempa was surprised none were trying to help these hikers who were out of water.  My takeaway…People may not be able to help a hiker if they are in a position where they are having trouble just keeping their lives together.  Or People may just not want to help … or may not know they can help.  They may see a hiker and think “Wow! that guy must have a great life if he can just come out here and go for a long hike.”

It's a great life being able to buzz around on the trail! Water or no Water, part of the fun is figuring it out! :)

It’s a great life being able to buzz around on the trail! Water or no Water, part of the fun is figuring it out! 🙂

4)  Met another section hiker who, just by coincidence, was waiting at Smith Gap in her car when we arrived.  She gave us a ride back to Stempa’s, without a second thought!  We exchanged contact info…I plan to help her with the Maryland section, shuttles and such.  My takeaway…never shy away from the opportunity to build your network of hiking friends!

An Unexpected Ride to Stempa's smashed into the back of an SUV. :)

An Unexpected Ride to Stempa’s smashed into the back of an SUV. 🙂

5) Met Bongo! A boston terrier hiking the trail with her humans.  Adorable!  You can follow Bongo’s journey through her human’s journal.

Bongo!!! Human's admitted that she slackpacks occasionally.  Love this little cutie!

Bongo!!! Human’s admitted that she slackpacks occasionally. Love this little cutie!

It was a fun hike, but lacking the drama of climbing out of Lehigh Gap!  But what I know for sure is this: Sometimes the trail itself does not excite, but the people are ALWAYS interesting! 🙂

Delaware Water Gap or Bust…Hike On!

About BoobOnARock

Hiking, the woods, books, my son, my cats and dogs, math, hanging with my sweetie and making fires. what else is there? oh yeah, falling in the woods every once in a is a talent of mine.

4 thoughts on “AT – PA Smith Gap to Wind Gap ~8 miles

  1. Ann Strauss says:

    Love your writings, your humor, your pictures, even though I mostly don’t comment. So sorry about your dad…..Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, etc. are “life-stealers” and so heartbreaking, particularly for families. I’m confronted with it constantly with the work I do. Hope to see you in the near future!

  2. Google says:

    Hey Kylena! I totally relate about feelings concerning your Dad-that is where I was with my Dad in 2012 and I did a 234 mile hike while keeping up with his health. Fortunately I finished the hike and was able to spend some time with him immediately after (he didn’t want me to visit until the hike was finished). I think I told you about all this once but I just wanted you to know I could relate. It’s a hard
    time for sure. And I loved talking to those hikers at the shelter–it’s the little things that are the big things out there

    • BoobOnARock says:

      Thanks Google! Yes, the little things make all the difference. I think I met more hikers on this back pack than on any other! The community of the trail is the coolest thing and is a big reason I am so addicted! 🙂

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