Pennsylvania is both beautiful and grinding. A majority of the state, and well into New Jersey, boasts the kinda of rocky terrain you have to watch your footing every step of the way in. You can’t even look 5 feet ahead on the ground for snakes, it’s that type of terrain. Not being able to look up for prolonged days begins to where on your spirit.
Sometime it’s fun, mostly it’s just grinding. As the rocks become more pointy, they say “this is where boots go to die.” Seems accurate. I’m still on my first pair of shoes though and I’m ready to put a fork in ’em, they’re done.
Of course breaking in the new shoes, slightly to slim, might cause bleeding blisters between your toes. I’ve ditched half my emergency medical supplies at this point, but never the tape. Wrap them digits up and keep going!
Southern PA has smooth sections still.
And of course farms, barns and streams a plenty.
You might find a public pool to take a hot shower and also wash your clothes in their with you. Turns out, this would be my last hot shower for quite some time.
You possibly can find one or two decent Mexican food places to chow down at.
You’ll for sure see quaint little towns that make you run through the thought exercise of living there for a spell.
Memorials and historical sites.
My average days started to look like a stream of 20’s. I pulled some more 24+ hour hikes along the way.
Another topic to discuss soon… butt stuff. It shouldn’t be TMI (too much information), to talk about hiker hemorrhoids. Not entirely uncommon amongst a long term hiker apparently. Diets are terrible, and you’re squatting in the woods or stank ass privies, and trying to do things quick… day after day, month after month. Ever hiked 36 miles all day and night with hemorrhoids? It’s really a pain in the ass. The Trek has an article on 5 rarely discussed thru-hike realities here.
Pennsylvania’s really wearing on me. I’ll come back to this discussion.
While my encounters with others have declined dramatically, there’s still friendlies out there. While stopped at a gap by a road, a passerby stopped and offered me a cold beer. They were a thru hiker some years back. I actually ran into this scenario a couple times randomly. The brief interactions and a stroll with a surprise cold one on a hot day in August can really boost the mood.
Especially when you get a nice section of trail. North bound hikers are really getting rare. I’m kind of feeling like the last Mohican out here… I prefer hiking solo, but on some camps and town days, it’s nice to have some buds around.
You might run into trail closures that if you decide to not bypass, you’ll find yourself in knee deep muck before you know it trying to fish your shoe out of.
You could find multiple opportunities at great spots in empty state parks to camp where you’re technically not supposed to. I always setup after dark and am breaking down by sunrise with these opportunities. You can usually hit some power to charge, WiFi and a vending machine.
This style of rocky trail is fun.
This type starts to suck.
You might find the trail magic of semi cold beers in a porta-potty.
You also might find yourself randomly doing laundry at 3:30am in towns you don’t even remember after hiking all day and night.