I stand by my previous statement that Pennsylvania is rocky, buggy, rocky, humid, rainy, and very rocky BUT yesterday PA redeemed itself. I had one of my favorite days, from both a hiking and social standpoint, and it goes to show what a little sunshine and good weather can do. Yesterday morning we were hiding in our tents waiting for the storm to lighten and by last night we were sitting at an outdoor bar and grill that we bushwhacked to from our campsite, eating a hot meal and enjoying the views and good smelling people.
Hiking with Siren and Jstroke, I did just under 15 miles; a short mile day, but still long because of the challenging rocks and scramble sections. Lehigh Gap was one of my favorite climbs of the whole trail so far and the views did not disappoint! Once at the top, we walked along the ridge with clear views of PA for a few miles. I’m so glad I’ve slowed down my pace because doing this climb in the rain we have had the past few days would be no fun and we would have missed out on views. The majority of the trail yesterday was beautiful, with pine needles covering the ground and rows and rows of bright green ferns.
We camped at a tent site which we heard was about half a mile from a local resort with real food, so of course we made it our mission to hike even more after we set up camp to find this place. More important than the food, was the opportunity to fill up on water as we are in a 20 mile stretch of the trail with no safe water to drink. We had a little trouble finding our way, but once we got there it was so worth it! The restaurant had unlimited fry refills and live music 🙂 Turns out we even got a ride at the tail end of walking there by the performer who was about to start his show in two minutes!
We went to bed with full bellies and happy hearts. At the end of a long few days, bushwhacking for warm food and music is a perfect reset. After spending about 3 hours there, we reluctantly started the walk back to our campsite. After about 5 minutes of walking, we noticed the fireflies and stars lighting up the sky. Though initially difficult to leave the warmth and creature comforts of the lodge, we all agreed we would much rather be in our tents in the woods. We questioned this paradox: when we are in the woods we want civilization, when we are in civilization we want the woods. I’m pretty sure if I had to choose one or the other I would choose the woods.
This raised the question: If I had been raised in the wilderness with this simplistic lifestyle I am currently living, would I feel the urge to venture off into civilization for 6 months?
When the sun is shining, my belly is full, and my body isn’t hurting (at least not too much) the answer is simple. Keep me in the woods. On the harder days, the temptations of civilization hold a stronger pull. All I know is NEVER EVER quit on a bad day. And this applies to anything you set out to achieve in life. A guy I was hiking with quit two days ago; the rocks and rain became too much. Yesterday I kept thinking, if only he powered through one more day he would have dry gear, blue skies, and much higher spirits to conquer the trail.