AT – PA Eckville Shelter to New Tripoli Campsite 13.3 miles

Day 3: June 22, 2015

Well, after an evening of thru hiker tales, including one about a hiker who took part in “hike naked” day, I conked out before it got dark in the Eckville Shelter!

Up early, ate my granola bars, and was ready to go!  I swore off oatmeal after the last backpack.  Why? I mean it is so good for me!  It’s gross.  It’s mushy.  I have never liked oatmeal and do not see any reason I should eat that crap on the trail…unless it is cold out…then I suffer just so I can have something warm to eat.  But I am working on an alternative to that also… 🙂

Watched several hikers leave as I sat at the picnic table and waited for Google and CanDo.  Wondered for a moment if they would be offended if I just started hiking.  But then I decided it was probably better to stick together since I didn’t want to do anything crazy without someone to spot me!

After getting back on the trail it resumed the regular rockiness.  After a bridge crossing, the trail ascends steeply to the ridge.  Nothing like a climb to get you warmed up in the morning!

Cute little bridge crossing this morning.

Cute little bridge crossing this morning.

After passing the side trail to Hawk Mountain it is just another mile slightly uphill to Dan’s Pulpit.  I was looking forward to this as it would give a view back to the Pinnacle…and I love to be able to look back at where I hiked before.  It was blessedly sunny today, which allowed for a good view at Dan’s Pulpit.

Dan's Pulpit looking at the Pinnacle

Dan’s Pulpit looking at the Pinnacle

Register at Dan's Pulpit

Register at Dan’s Pulpit

Pennsylvania raised its rocky head afterwards! Lots of fun rock jumbles meant tedious walking. Nothing like stepping on a rock that decides to dance with you!  Add to that rising temperatures…whew.  Every once in a while a great breeze would catch me unaware and I would just be like “Yesssssss!”  The heat and the rocks had us slowing down a bit and I was happy to pull into the Allentown Shelter for a break and lunch. 🙂

Passed the Tri-County Corner

Passed the Tri-County Corner

Yay! the Shelter at 7.4 miles.

Yay! the Shelter at 7.4 miles.

Lunch!

Lunch!

I chugged my Gatorade, took off my shoes and rubbed my feet! These rocks were getting to be serious business.  But after the shelter…smooth sailing.  We got to Rt. 301 relatively quickly.  It was flat fire roads again with beautiful ferns lining the path.  Overhead, the blue skies and puffy white clouds went on forever.  A gorgeous, hot day!

Nice trail after the shelter!

Nice trail after the shelter!

We found the turn off for New Tripoli Campsite without any drama…but when we started to go down steeply I was momentarily discouraged.  Down, down, down.  It seemed like forever!  It was totally worth it.  Great campsite with access to a very nice water source, a stream.  How delightful to soak my feet in the stream after a hard day hiking. 🙂

Awwwwwww.....nice and cold!

Awwwwwww…..nice and cold!

It was a long day and when I climbed into my bag I fell asleep almost immediately. Tomorrow – the big day, Knife Edge and Bake Oven Knob. *snore* ZZZZzzzzzzz

Delaware Water Gap or Bust…Hike on!

AT-PA Rt183 to Port Clinton 6/6/2015

I’m back Pennsylvania!

Thank goodness I found a hiking pal in PA! It has been a lot of fun hiking these last couple of sections with Cindy, trail name “CanDo”.

This time around, I got to the parking area off Rt. 61 in Port Clinton with no major drama, just a little rerouting around Harrisburg due to roadwork.  It is a nice little lot south of the town and has a blue blaze to the AT.  As soon as I got the car backed into a spot (beautifully I might add), a text came in from CanDo.  “I’m in the Rt. 61 lot.”  Ummm…but I am in the Rt. 61 lot and it was clear she was not.  This was soon sorted out…two lots, different sides of the highway.  My lot was deemed the nicer choice to leave a car, so CanDo picked me up and we headed down to the Rt. 183 gameland parking lot.

Pulled in, gathered our packs, then headed up the gameland road to get to the AT.  It was 8:45 and 15 miles were ahead of us.  I like smaller goals, so I set my sights on Eagles Nest Shelter, about 6 miles in.

Intersection of the Gameland Road and AT...right turn and off we go!

Intersection of the Gameland Road and AT…right turn and off we go!

A deer jumped to the side of the road flicking his white tail before disappearing for good into the woods.  Good morning to you too, little deer!

Reaching the intersection with the AT we also disappeared into the woods, taking a right, headed north.  There were no climbs initially, just a few rocky spots, so we soon found ourselves passing Black Swatara campsite and spring. The campsite looks to be large enough to serve a group comfortably.  Someone has handcrafted a gorgeous sign for the site!

image

It was a wonderful day for hiking! The rain had finally cleared out leaving us with a morning of cool temps, blue skies and refreshing breezes! The trail was a regular amount of rocky as we stomped on towards Eagles Nest shelter.

Only another two miles until the shelter!

Only another two miles until the shelter!

Eagles Nest Shelter has windows and gutters!

Eagles Nest Shelter has windows and gutters!

The shelter was 0.3 miles off the trail, which meant we added a little over a half mile to our trip by stopping for lunch there. We opted to pass on another 0.1 mile to see the view since we would get an overlook further down the trail.

What a super respite!  We lolligagged for about 45 minutes before heading back to the AT. I took off my boots, laid back on the shelter floor and propped my feet up on the wall. Ahhhh!!!

This shelter even has a mirror!

This shelter even has a mirror!

Taking a break fooled my mind into thinking I hadn’t actually hiked this morning. So starting out after lunch was like starting anew on a 9 mile day hike, not the 15 we had originally undertaken. “I got this!” I said to myself.

The woods was still carpeted with thick ferns, but now the mountain laurel was beginning to bloom as well.  Just gorgeous pockets of mountain laurel blossoms brightened up the darkness of the forest.  We walked through admiring all of it!

Another little break along the trail.

Another little break along the trail.

The miles were just melting away and I still felt good.  The guide book warns of the severe rockiness of the last six miles.  I found the guide book to be wrong in this case.  There were some spots of heavy duty rock hopping, but most of the trail just seemed like regular old Pennsylvania rocky!

Now this ... this is one of the REALLY rocky sections! :)

Now this … this is one of the REALLY rocky sections! 🙂

Feeling pretty triumphant at Auburn Overlook.

Feeling pretty triumphant at Auburn Overlook.

The hardest part for me was the steep downhill into Port Clinton.  Slow go there for sure.  My knees and thighs were relieved when we were in sight of the bike trail at the bottom of the hill. Then another short down on some very suspect steps and we were at the Port Clinton trail depot.  And since we had not had enough walking on rocks all day long…we proceeded to tramp all over the ballast to look at the trains!! Go figure…we are nuts!

Trail comes out to Fire Road, then turns back into the woods...almost missed this arrow!!

Trail comes out to Fire Road, then turns back into the woods…almost missed this arrow!!

Yay! Reached the rail trail!!

Yay! Reached the rail trail!!

The final assault, I mean descent, to the depot.

The final assault, I mean descent, to the depot.

IMG_20150607_075917 (2)

As we left the train depot, a guy stops and asks, “hey, you two know about the all you can eat spaghetti dinner?”  WHAAAAAAT?!!!!!  Oh, this was the best end to a hike ever!

Oh Yeah!!!!!

Oh Yeah!!!!!

All You Can Eat!!!! Yesss!!!

All You Can Eat!!!! Yesss!!!

All You Can Eat Spaghetti Dinner…$8.

Feeling like real hiker trash…priceless!

Hike on! 🙂