Day 12: Monday, August 25

Tenting somewhere in the eastern Pennsylvania wilderness (AT SOBO mi ~907.4), walked ~11.7 miles today

Slept in until 9 in the dark hostel bunkroom and then after some idling, slid to the town bakery for breakfast. Polished off an entire small blueberry pie and a large latte, then returned to the church and commenced the somewhat complicated process of figuring out how to get to Monson, Maine this weekend (this Labor Day Weekend, when all transport is under-supplied and over-demanded) once my PA section is over. After many transportation options were explored and all auxiliary parties were contacted, multiple times each, I came up with solution that is reliant on finishing in Port Clinton/Hamburg Thursday night. Then several people and travel legs later, I will be in Monson on Saturday. More details when that bridge is crossed.

The long and short of it was that I needed to hike today, so Princess and I set forth from town around 1pm, I with practically no food in my pack and she with about six days' worth because of a maildrop she just picked up. The climb out of the river gorge was quite tame, or at least I thought so, but led to some pretty dramatic views from the top, straight down on the river and the interstate and the bridge we'd crossed the afternoon prior. There were other dramatic views later, around what the guidebook says is Fox Gap. Those were nice until they were marred by the arrival of Car People, complete with Rambunctious Children and High-Strung Rude Parents, but in the few minutes of peace we had up there I was reminded of a great thing about the AT's vistas, at least in the southern half of the trail: they often look down on the civilization that one has just climbed up from, and as such give a real feeling of progress and remove from the hubbub down below. Of course there's also something to be said for looking out over endless untrammeled wilds--I was just reading the end of Carrot's 2014 PCT blog last night and there's a lot of endless untrammeled wilds in there, and I'd all but forgotten about that being a thing after almost two weeks on the mid-Atlantic AT--but to look down on school buses and semi trucks moving around like little toys a thousand feet beneath you is nice too.

After the late-afternoon break there, we weren't sure how much farther we wanted to go and the AWOL guidebook didn't give away much about landmarks between there and Wind Gap, 10 miles on, so we figured we'd go until we saw a nice place to camp just before dark, or until we got to Wind Gap if we were feeling up for a spot of night-hiking. The former ended up happening, and my mileage estimate is based only on very imprecise time-based reckoning. The last few miles were a taste of what everyone complains about in Pennsylvania--extremely rocky trail tread that forces you to hop and skip your way forward with an irregular stride for hundreds of yards at a time, then a one-minute or so break, then repeat. It's mentally exhausting more than anything and would have been awful to night-hike over, hence the throwing in of the towel early. Tomorrow, the town of Wind Gap in the a.m. for food and laundry and then miles and miles of rocky progress afterward. 

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